Adam Van Grack
Van Grack has lived in Rockville for most of his life and is a managing partner at the law firm he co-founded, Longman & Van Grack, he wrote in an email to MoCo360. He serves Public Policy Committee at the Rockville Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, Van Grack’s father served as the Mayor of Rockville from 1985 to 1987, according to the City of Rockville.
Why are you running for this position?
I am running for City Council to give back to the city where I was raised and to make Rockville as safe and successful as it can be. I started a law firm here, a small business that has been a member of the Rockville Chamber of Commerce since its inception. Having seen the changes in Rockville over the past four decades, I believe the city can achieve greater success in its engagement with all of our neighborhoods, public safety and security, government transparency, reinvigorating Rockville Town Center, stopping wasteful spending, promoting diversity, and better public lands management.
What makes you the best candidate (qualities, attributes, experience, skills, etc.)?
I was raised in Rockville; own a small business in Rockville; and am an active Rockville-based attorney. Additionally, I have worked in the US Senate, served on the Maryland Juvenile Justice Advisory Council, and serve on the Rockville Chamber Public Policy Committee. In these positions, I have been an advocate for greater public safety, for better economic policies, and for our green spaces. For these reasons, I have been endorsed by 21 current/former elected officials. I’ve experienced four decades of Rockville’s growth, understand the needs of Rockville’s small businesses, and know what it takes to help Rockville succeed.
What would be three priorities for you if elected?
1. Rockville needs to better support and engage with all neighborhoods. In order to build a strong and inclusive Rockville, it is essential that the government engage with all neighborhoods within our community.
2. Rockville needs to improve its public safety and security. I am committed to implementing comprehensive measures that will ensure a safer environment for all residents.
3. Rockville needs to reinvigorate Rockville Town Center, and this process should include finally following the 2019 ULI Report. Fixing Rockville Town Center without wasting city funds is critical to saving tax dollars for more support of Rockville’s residents.
What is the most important issue happening in the city, and how do you plan to address it?
Public safety and security. I am committed to implementing comprehensive measures that will make Rockville safer. First, the city needs to increase the number of police officers and provide better financial support for all of our first responders. Additionally, we need a greater focus on strengthening community policing efforts, increasing the police department’s RockView program, and enhancing public safety infrastructure. We should also increase the financial incentives to afford security cameras to deter crime (without government access). I’m proud to be supported by leaders like our County Sheriff Maxwell Uy, and I will work diligently to advance public safety.
What is the best aspect of the city and how will you enhance it?
Rockville and its residents have always had a strong sense of community. I remember Rockville’s first Hometown Holidays in 1989, and I have been thrilled to watch it grow. Our sense of community has made our Hometown Holidays, Fourth of July Celebration, Memorial Day Parade, and Rockville Arts Festival grow so strong that thousands from surrounding areas come here for these events. Rockville’s wonderful arts and entertainment scene is part of this community. To enhance these aspects, I want to hold more city events and help the city become a Maryland Arts and Entertainment District (tax incentives for many businesses/nonprofits).
There are four referenda questions on the ballot this election for Rockville voters: Lower the voting age to 16, Permit noncitizens to vote, Set term limits, Create representative districts. Where do you stand on the four referenda questions?
I do not support expanding Rockville’s voting population to include either people below the age of 18 or those who are not citizens. While I do believe that legal Rockville residents over the age of 18 who have lived here for years, paid city taxes, and become part of our community should have some voice, these two proposals are problematic. I do support some term limits, especially for the mayor. Additionally, I support representative districts for geographic diversity, but only so long as there are at-large districts and there are no districts smaller than one-third of the city.
In July, the County Council passed the rent stabilization bill, which will go into effect in Spring 2024. However, Rockville is exempt from the law. Where do you stand on the issue of implementing rent stabilization in your city?
While I do support rent stabilization at times, I have significant concerns regarding the County’s overbroad Bill 15-23. My concerns include: (1) property owners will have an incentive not to renew leases and tenant turnover will increase; (2) likely negative effect on development in Rockville, limiting property owners’ ability to maintain buildings; (3) reduction of the overall inventory of rental units in Rockville; (4) economic disincentives for maintenance and renovation projects on current properties in Rockville; (5) prevention of many small property owners from being able to meet the rising costs of maintenance, higher mortgage rates, and/or rising property taxes.
Lastly, a fun question: Where is your favorite place to grab a bite to eat/favorite recreation place in Rockville?
I have been going to Giuseppi’s Pizza Plus in Rockville Town Center since it opened 33 years ago (first walking from Richard Montgomery High School after school in the 1990s). Giuseppi’s still makes my favorite pizza, and I often go there for lunch or to bring a pizza home. Additionally, the Feldman family (owns Giuseppi’s) has been an active part of the Rockville community for the past three decades, including sponsoring RBBA teams, Rockville charity events, and the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department.
My son and I also love going to Watts Branch stream for hikes, exploration, and stream clean-ups.