About Councilmember Navarro

I serve as the Council Vice-President and the Montgomery County Councilmember representing District 4. I am the chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and also serve on the Health and Human Services Committee.

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December 16, 2009

Save Money and Help the Environment!



Here's a way to save money on your electric bill and help the environment by supporting clean, renewable wind power!

What’s the Green Neighborhood Effect?: It’s a community supporting Clean, Renewable Energy! Imagine…whole neighborhoods making the switch to supporting wind generated electricity. Clean Currents, makes this possible by offering greener types of power for your home! As a community leader, council or home owner/condo association you can help encourage households in your community to sign up and, by doing so, leverage you efforts to have an even greater effect on reducing global warming gases.

Sign up your home here!


Sign your home & neighborhood up here!


Help the Environment: By default right now your home's electricity is coming from a mix of coal and nuclear sources. And, you may or may not want to hear this, but the average home is responsible for putting about 1,500 lbs of carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas, into the atmosphere each year. That's a 1,500 lb carbon footprint or the equivalent of 4 cars on the road for a year! Think you'll agree...that's a heavy weight to put on the environment if you don't have to... By switching to Clean Currents you personally eliminate your home’s carbon footprint. Get your community involved and you can see results like these or better: 10 homes = 15,000 Ibs of CO2 (or the equivalent of taking over 40 cars off the road). Your efforts have a huge impact!

Amplifying the Effect: For each household that enrolls between now and the end of June 2010, Clean Currents will donate $10 to your community to do a greening project of your choice. Whether you do a tree planting, start an organic community garden or replace light bulbs with more efficient ones in common areas – Clean Currents wants to support your efforts to green your community with some "green" from us! $10 x 100 homes = $1,000!

Special prizes will be given for the highest number of sign-ups within a community, the highest percentage of sign-up, greenest faith based institutions and the most innovative green project.

Take 3 Minutes to Sign up Online: All you need to do to enroll your community in Clean Currents Green Neighborhood Effect Challenge is to go to our website, www.CleanCurrents.com. Click the Green Neighborhood Effect button to access the signup page and fill out the requested info. (Clean Currents provides a complete packet of support materials for your community). We can't wait to help you get started!

It's all at www.CleanCurrents.com

Additional Questions? Contact Clean Currents at 301.754.0430 x716 or x716

P.S. Don't forget to type your neighborhood in the "how did you hear about us" section when signing up for "Wind Power for Home" to ensure your neighborhood gets recognition.

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December 2, 2009

Reminder from Comptroller Peter Franchot: Enrollment is Now Open for the Maryland Prepaid College Trust

I wanted to pass along the following note from Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, regarding the Maryland Prepaid College Trust:
I'm pleased to remind you that enrollment is now open for the Maryland Prepaid College Trust, which is administered by the College Savings Plans of Maryland. Enrollment opened on December 1 and will remain open until April 5.

The Maryland Prepaid College Trust is a golden opportunity for families who are concerned with the ever-rising costs of higher education. This program - which is backed by a Maryland legislative guarantee -- allows you to lock in tomorrow's tuition at today's prices. The funds may be used at almost any college in the United States, and those who enroll in this program can receive a Maryland state income deduction of up to $2,500 per account. The tuition plans are flexible, and payments can be made affordable by buying anywhere from one semester up to five years worth of tuition.

I hope you'll visit collegesavingsmd.org today and find out how you and your family can enroll in either the Prepaid College Trust or the College Investment Plan, which is open for enrollment throughout the year.


Higher education creates a climate of opportunity for all Marylanders, and the College Savings Plans of Maryland are making the dream of a college diploma more attainable for families throughout our state. I hope you'll learn more about the program, open an account, and spread the word to your friends and family.

I hope you'll learn more about the Prepaid College Trust and the College Investment Plan and signup today!


Thanks so much for your time.

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Montgomery County Council Hearing on Equal Benefits for Same Sex Domestic Partners

Yesterday, the Montgomery County Council held a public hearing on my bill (37-09), which would require contractors doing business with the county to provide the same benefits to same-sex domestic partners, that they currently provide to married couples. The bill, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Andrews, Berliner, Elrich, Ervin, Floreen, Leventhal, Trachtenberg, received supportive testimony from County resident Nadine Mort, Joseph Sandler (Jewish Community Relations Council), Morgan Meneses-Sheets (Equality Maryland), David Fishback (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and David Dise (Office of County Executive Ike Leggett).

Below, you can read the testimony from Equality MD Executive Director Morgan Meneses-Sheets:
My name is Morgan Meneses-Sheets. I am the Executive Director of Equality Maryland. Equality Maryland seeks to end discrimination against lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in our lives as residents of Maryland, citizens of the United States, and neighbors in towns and cities across this great state. I am here today to testify in support of Bill # 37-09, the “Equal Benefits Bill”.

All across the country, gay and lesbian employees face discrimination in workplace benefits because they are unable to obtain a civil marriage license. Receiving equal pay for equal work remains an important aspect to achieving full equality for LGBT Marylanders.

I want to thank Councilmember Nancy Navarro for sponsoring this important bill. This legislation is simple. If companies and contractors do business with the county and provide benefits to married couples and families, they must provide the same benefits to same-sex domestic partners.

Montgomery County has continually been a leader in advancing fairness for all residents. This legislation continues that precedent by ensuring equal protection under the law and valuing equally the contributions and participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual individuals who do business with this county. This bill recognizes that differential treatment of specific groups hinders the county’s capacity to attract and retain a diverse body of highly-qualified individuals and therefore undermines its ability to do business.

If we want our economy to flourish – if we want to help attract and retain talented workers – then we must do all we can to make sure that workers have access to equal benefits. This is about decency, but it is also about maintaining a competitive workforce where people are evaluated and compensated based on performance and qualifications, not their sexual orientation.

Evidence suggests that employers with such policies enjoy a heightened reputation for respecting diversity. Without domestic partner benefits, a significant portion of overall employee compensation is unattainable for gay and lesbian workers. This bill will help provide equitable access to contractors in a range of areas including sick leave, health benefits, disability and life insurance and retirement benefits.

This is about real people’s lives. LGBT individuals struggling in today’s economy who need equal access to health care, but who are currently prevented from accessing their partner’s benefit plan. LGBT parents who are prevented from utilizing family medical leave because the law does not acknowledge their relationships. This is about the dramatic situation of the death of a loved one and the need to access bereavement leave, but it is also about the day to day of LGBT people being able to live their lives without worrying about whether or not whether they will be treated equally as employees or contractors simply because of who they are.

Opponents will often discuss the cost of providing benefits to domestic partners. It seems absurd to talk about economics when what we are really looking at are civil rights and equal protections. But it is important to note that in the studies that have been done the cost to most employers has been negligible. Coverage for domestic partners increases the number of insured individuals enrolled in the health insurance plan, but that coverage is no more expensive than for other individuals and enrollment overall is far lower than most estimates.

A 2005 Hewitt Associates study found that the majority of employers — 64 percent — experience a total financial impact of less than 1 percent of total benefits cost, 88 percent experience financial impacts of 2 percent or less and only 5 percent experience financial impacts of 3 percent or greater of total benefits cost.

Studies have also shown that domestic partner benefits programs improve employees' productivity and retention rate by alleviating personal stress that may keep workers from fully focusing on work, and by providing an inexpensive enhancement to an overall compensation package.

Today your colleagues on the DC City Council voted 11-2 in favor of marriage equality. The momentum is building, but many residents continue to await action on the issue of marriage equality at the state level. Montgomery County should do as much as it can to encourage progress at the local level. This bill would send a strong statement that Montgomery County believes in equal protections for all couples.

We all know that any advancement towards equality will be met with intolerance and prejudice by those who seek to intimidate and condemn our community. Equality Maryland applauds the Montgomery County Council’s commitment to fairness and continuing efforts to change exclusionary policies. Each incremental change that we make builds the momentum behind the movement to advance full marriage equality. We thank you for being such strong champions of equality.
I look forward to seeing this critical civil rights bill successfully approved by the full County Council.
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