Here are my picks for what's in and what's out in 2016:
In -- Jobs: Almost 10,000 more County residents have jobs this year.
Out -- Electronic Cigarettes: The use of electronic cigarettes is banned wherever traditional tobacco smoking is prohibited. The law also requires child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine. I proposed this legislation because I was not willing to gamble with the health of our current generation of young people.
In -- Science: Michael Hofmann Winer was named one of three first-place winners in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition. He received the First Place Medal of Distinction for Innovation and a cash prize of $150,000.
Out -- Predatory Towing: The new law limits some of the practices that have led to the predatory towing of vehicles parked on private properties, including a prohibition on the use of spotters.
In -- Good Neighbors: I presented 20 Golden Shovel awards to recognize residents (like these snow angels) who helped neighbors shovel out after snowfalls during the harsh winter that had seasonal snow totals of up to 46.6 inches in parts of the county.
In -- Aspen Hill: The Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment will provide opportunities for re-use of the former Vitro/BAE property in a way that focuses on design and encourages pedestrian use.
Out -- Pesticides: Having dealt with breast cancer myself, I am particularly sensitive to the need to limit our exposure to toxic chemicals. All residents, and particularly our children, stand to benefit from the County's restrictions on cosmetic use of pesticides.
In -- Budget Savings: In response to projected revenue shortfalls, we reduced the current fiscal year budget by $54 million in July. This is the first time we approved a savings plan so early in the fiscal year.
In -- New Council Leadership: I'm very pleased to have been elected Council president in a unanimous vote of my colleagues. Roger Berliner was elected vice president, and we will serve one-year terms.
In -- Economic Development: Five years ago, in the depth of the Great Recession, we launched the Montgomery Business Development Corporation, a public-private partnership designed to fuel our economy. This past year, we took that achievement to the next level by creating a new Economic Development Corporation -- moving us from a government- to a business-based model for County economic success.