Last night, I had the pleasure of speaking with residents at the monthly meeting of the Kemp Mill Civic Association. We had a great conversation about some of my top priorities for the area, including: the Wheaton Library and Recreation Center, Wheaton Redevelopment, and the renovation of Kemp Mill Urban Park. We also discussed a number of other important issues, including deer management, resurfacing of roads, and WSSC billing issues.
Download my complete presentation to the Kemp Mill Civic Association:
Councilmember Nancy Navarro Pushes to Expand Licensed Child Care and Provide Affordable Community Use Space for Programs Serving Vulnerable Youth
News Conference on Tuesday, March 17, Will Precede Montgomery Hearings on 2 Bills Addressing Child Care Needs
ROCKVILLE, Md., March 16, 2015—Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro will be joined by childcare providers, nonprofit leaders and community advocates at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, to explain how her two newly-introduced bills will help expand and enhance the provision of child care in Montgomery County. One of the bills would help provide public space at an affordable rate for organizations serving low-income families and vulnerable youth—including those that provide childcare services. The other bill would help expand licensed child care opportunities.
The news conference starting at 7 p.m. will be held in the Third Floor Conference Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. At 7:30 p.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room, the Council will hold public hearings on Bills 11-15 and 12-15. The public hearings will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and will be streamed live via the Council web site at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council .
Councilmember Navarro’s child care bill (Bill 11-15)—which is cosponsored by Council Vice President Nancy Floreen—would create a Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative in the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The bill would require DHHS to hold informational sessions for prospective family child care providers about how to become state-licensed providers. The bill also requires DHHS to hold informational sessions for current child care providers, including information on how to obtain additional licenses and accreditation.
For both current licensed family child care providers and prospective child care providers, the bill requires DHHS to provide technical assistance and business training, site-visits (if requested) and services in Spanish and other languages. This bill also requires an annual report to the Council by Feb. 1 about the activities, accomplishments and DHHS plans related to the initiative and an assessment of the County’s child care needs.
“When it comes to parents’ decisions about child care arrangements, many low-income and immigrant communities rely on relatives and/or home-based care—often unregulated care settings,” said Councilmember Navarro. “It is imperative to continue placing emphasis on family childcare providers as one component of the early care and education continuum of service to raise the quality, affordability and accessibility of child care.”
The Maryland Child Care Resource Network estimates that in Montgomery County, the number of children under age 11 with mothers in the workforce is 138,292. There are currently 933 family childcare providers with the capacity to serve 7,012 children, and roughly 64 percent of these providers speak a language other than English. The goals of Bill 11-15 are to assist, in a culturally and linguistically competent manner, potential providers in navigating the procedures required for licensing, increase the number of children being served and ensure quality childcare programs.
“The need for affordable, quality child care continues to increase in Montgomery County, but the availability of child care slots is failing to keep pace, especially in the category of family child care providers,” said Councilmember Floreen. “Obviously, this is unsustainable, and we must take action sooner rather than later to make quality child care more available to our working families. It benefits not only our children and families, but the County’s economic vitality as well.”
Bill 12-15, also sponsored by Councilmember Navarro, would increase the affordability and use of public facilities by organizations serving vulnerable youth and low-income families. The bill would create a program that provides fee waivers or reductions for eligible organizations in need of public use space. It requires the Director of Community Use of Public Facilities (CUPF) to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to help encourage the use of public facilities by organizations that serve some of the County’s most vulnerable residents. It also would require a biennial report from CUPF, which would highlight the successes and challenges pertaining to the implementation of this program.
In the past, non-profit organizations and community-based groups have identified the need for more affordable community use space in the County. In Fiscal Year 2013, the Council funded a Community Access Pilot Program to provide financial assistance and increased opportunities for groups, organizations and community members to receive financial assistance from the County to secure space in the Silver Spring Civic Building. The pilot program is open to various community groups and civic organizations. Bill 12-15 expands on the practice by providing financial assistance to groups serving vulnerable youth and low-income families across all public space managed by the County.
“I am proud to sponsor these bills. Before holding elected office, I trained hundreds of providers and watched informal babysitting arrangements transform into successful, legitimate businesses,” said Councilmember Navarro. “The national trends show that the academic achievement gap is present before children enter kindergarten. As a member of the Early Childhood Committee of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, I know that providing a high-quality education for all children is critical to America’s socio-economic success.”
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For me, access to quality and affordable child care is personal.
business, I realized there were many women in the community starting to care for children out of their homes. Many would care for several children without a license, compromising safety and quality. For some, the language barrier and confusing state bureaucracy in applying for a license was a hurdle that was difficult to overcome.
The only way we can meet demands of the 21st century job market is by investing in quality early childhood education. Research shows that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, there is a return of $2.50 to $17. Not building this critical infrastructure of opportunity jeopardizes our nation’s ability to thrive in a global economy and maintain our competitive edge. The U.S. is already falling behind–ranking 25th in the world in early learning enrollment of 4-year-olds. By investing in the future of all our children we are making a commitment to the success of our country.
Long Term: Establishing a Children’s Trust Fund
Short Term: Reforming Child Care Services
Before we can establish a dedicated funding source for programs serving youth, we need to establish an infrastructure that will help make sure those funds go where they are needed most. That’s why during this year’s budget, I plan to work collaboratively with the County Executive to establish a Children’s Opportunity Fund. This Fund, in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the County Government, will be used to hire a Fund Coordinator and a researcher that will study the outcomes of youth programs. The Fund will also help us pay for new initiatives targeted at supporting services for children and teenagers.
Tomorrow, the Council is scheduled to discuss Executive Regulation 15-14AM–Childcare Regulations for Before and After School Childcare Programs in Public Schools. These regulations set the guidelines for how child care providers are selected to operate in MCPS facilities. For many years, this process was run by the Office of Community Use of
Public Facilities (CUPF) in partnership with MCPS. The regulations proposed by the Executive were inadequate because they did not include any reference to collaboration with MCPS or the quality of the child care that would be provided in the school. I called on the joint HHS/ED Committee to reject these regulations and send them back for the Executive to make these changes. I’m pleased to say the regulations that will come before the Council tomorrow
include these essential elements.
I am also introducing legislation that will create a Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative. This Initiative would require County Government to do much of the work I did while at Centro Familia. HHS staff would be responsible for:
- Educating prospective family child care providers on steps necessary to become licensed by the State;
- Providing technical assistance and business training to family child care providers;
- If requested, conducting a site-visit for potential family child care providers to provide feedback and assistance to obtain state licensing;
- Providing services in languages other than English, in a culturally competent manner; and
- Conducting an annual assessment of child care needs in the County and preparing an annual report.
Closing the academic achievement gap and making sure every student is prepared to learn on their first day of school is the socioeconomic imperative of our time. Every child deserves a chance to succeed and that cannot happen without access to quality, affordable child care for all. It won’t be easy to accomplish this goal, but with your help and support we will ensure every child can have a strong and bright future.
Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro to Receive ‘Outstanding Elected Official Award’ from Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs
She Will Receive Award on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at
Reception at Governor’s Home in Annapolis
ROCKVILLE, Md., October 8, 2014—Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, will receive the “Outstanding Elected Official Award” from the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs. The award will be presented during a reception at the Governor’s home in Annapolis in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Under the administration of Governor Martin O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, our Hispanic community has flourished,” Y. Maria Martinez, chair of the commission, wrote to Councilmember Navarro. “We’ve grown rapidly, not only in numbers, but in our daily contributions to this great State we call home. We’ve advanced policies that affect our community such as the Maryland Dream Act, licenses for undocumented immigrants, limiting the State’s cooperation in the federal Secure Communities program, supporting children seeking refuge from violence in Central American countries and so many more.
“Our community’s achievements have been made possible because of this administration’s commitment to diversity and the belief in the dignity and respect of every individual. However, we also acknowledge that we could not have done this without the individuals like you who are committed to working on behalf of the Hispanic community to make this State a great place.”
Councilmember Navarro, who chairs the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and previously served as Council President, said she was honored to be selected to receive the award.
“It is a privilege to represent the good people of District 4—working on their behalf to bring increased economic opportunities, build a stronger culture of civic participation and ensure that all children receive a quality education,” said Councilmember Navarro. “In my capacity as chair of the Council’s Government Operations Committee, I have worked to close budget gaps, strengthen our County’s fiscal position and bring unprecedented transparency to our local government. It is an honor to be recognized for my service by our outstanding Governor.”
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I’ve spent the past two days in San Antonio, Texas participating in a meeting of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. As a member of the Early Education Subcommittee, I have spent a lot of time talking to my fellow commissioners about models and best practices to ensure all young people–regardless of race or socioeconomic status–receive high-quality early education.
Too often, the debate about closing the achievement gap and increasing access to quality early childhood programs is framed in moralistic terms. It becomes a debate about “haves” and “have-nots,” as opposed to focusing on the broader social implications of not addressing the fundamental inequality found in our early childhood education system. The consequences of not addressing these issues go far beyond the civil rights or social ramifications that are regularly the focus of these discussions.
One of my goals as a Commissioner (focusing on national Education Policy) and a Councilmember (focusing on a broad range of local public policy issues) is changing the narrative about how we talk about certain issues. I encourage an “opportunity model” where we focus on young peoples’ strengthens, as opposed to the more common “deficit” model that focuses on the “challenges” of educating a more diverse student population. Similarly, eliminating the achievement gap and preparing the workforce of the future is more than just an “equity” issue. It is the key economic issue of our time. Here’s why:
1) Eliminating the Achievement Gap is a socioeconomic imperative. Of all the developed countries in the world, the United States is the only one with a growing aging population and a growing young population. All other developed countries have the aging population, but not the young population growth. The reason for the young population growth is the birthrate of Latino Americans. If Latino children are not prepared to enter the workforce, who will be there to pay into Social Security for older Americans? We need to make sure all children have the skills they need to find good paying jobs that will contribute to all of our economic well-being.
2) Eliminating the Academic Achievement Gap is the only way to maintain our global competitive edge. We should not submit to the notion that our workforce will be imported. India and China are basically our global competitors and we have lost our innovative edge, due to our complacency regarding the Achievement Gap. Importing talent is not a solution for increasing economic productivity and is certainly not a way to promote economic opportunity for children growing up in the United States. We live in a different world than our parents did, but our education system and workforce development pipeline continues to lag behind the times. Children growing up in Los Angeles, Montgomery County and anywhere in between deserve the same educational and workforce training opportunities their peers around the world are receiving. That is the only way the United States can remain the dominant economic super power.
3) Eliminating the Academic Achievement Gap is vital to our National Security. While education policy and national security don’t at first glace seem connected, their interconnectedness can’t be overstated. If our military can’t recruit qualified individuals, they can’t execute their mission to keep our country safe. If young people don’t have the educational tools to even pass the entrance exams, how can we have a strong national defense? With people of color now making up the majority of the population in our schools, it is more important than ever to make sure all students–regardless of race or socioeconomic status–have the opportunity to be successful.
This narrative shows that investing in Early Education is the best approach for a stronger return on investment. Waiting until a student is in middle school or even kindergarten is already too late. Quality early childhood education for all is essential to our nation’s economic and national security. Making these necessary investments should be bipartisan because both Democrats and Republicans agree on wanting a prosperous nation. We should stop referring to this issue as a matter of “Civil Rights” or a moral imperative. It’s not a “nice to have for some,” but a “must have for all.”
Tough Decisions by the County Council Have Strengthened Recovery Effort
Tough decisions by the 17th Montgomery County Council at the height of the Great Recession are paying dividends, according to the County’s FY15-20 Fiscal Plan, approved by the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee this morning. While some other jurisdictions in the Washington Metropolitan Region continue struggling to balance their budgets – raising taxes, reducing services, and cutting teaching positions – Montgomery County is moving in the opposite direction.
The six-year fiscal plan is based on the FY 2015 budget approved by the Council May 22. The budget fully funds the Board of Education’s request for Montgomery County Public Schools, increases the number of police officers, and provides additional support for safety net and other critical services that were cut during the recession, including libraries, parks, and transportation. The average County homeowner will see an $18 reduction in their property tax bill. The Council also reduced the 2010 energy tax increase by 7 percent, bringing the total reduction over the last three years to 27 percent. Overall, Montgomery County’s tax burden on residents has decreased in each of the last three years.
At the same time, the budget includes reserves at historic levels – $379 million, or 8.4 percent of adjusted governmental revenues – to guard against a future downturn. The fiscal plan shows that the County is ahead of schedule in reaching its policy goal of 10 percent reserves by 2020.
“This strong fiscal plan reflects the hard decisions the Council made over the last four years to deal with the Great Recession,” said Government Operations Committee Chair Nancy Navarro. “Those decisions have enabled the County to weather the worst fiscal conditions since the Great Depression, preserve our AAA bond rating, and slowly restore the services that mean so much to our residents.”
The Council is scheduled to vote on the plan on June 17.
For details on the fiscal plan, see http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/Resources/Files/agenda/cm/2014/140612/20140612_GO3.pdf.
Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro to Receive Presidential Medal from Ana G. Mendez University System
University System’s Highest Honor to be Presented at Its First Commencement Ceremony on Wednesday, June 18
ROCKVILLE, Md., June 12, 2014—Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro will be presented with the highest recognition granted by the Ana G. Méndez University System when its Capital Area campus awards its “Presidential Medal” to her at its first commencement ceremony on Wednesday, June 18. The ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. at the Hilton Washington, D.C./Rockville Hotel and Executive Meeting Center at 1750 Rockville Pike in Rockville.
The ceremony will mark a historical milestone for the institution as it will confer undergraduate and graduate degrees to its first graduating class two and a half years after initiating operations in the Washington Metropolitan area.
A total of 17 graduates, representing more than 10 Latin American countries, will receive their diplomas—symbols of their academic achievement and determination in overcoming adversity.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 18.
TIME: 10 a.m.
WHERE: Hilton Washington, D.C./Rockville Hotel and Executive Meeting Center. 1750 Rockville Pike Rockville, MD 20825
MORE INFORMATION: Johanna I. Lugo: 202-316-9976 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Nancy Navarro to Attend Launch of New MCPS, Hispanic Heritage Foundation and code.org Partnership
Councilmember Nancy Navarro to Attend Launch of New MCPS, Hispanic Heritage Foundation and code.org Partnership at 1 p.m. TODAY, March 24, at Wheaton H.S.
Councilmember Navarro Facilitates Partnership Aimed at Preparing Youth for Technology Careers
ROCKVILLE, Md, March 24, 2014—Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro at 1 p.m. TODAY will attend a news conference at Wheaton High School where Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is announcing a partnership that will introduce youth to technology careers. Following the press conference, the event will feature an interactive “Coding Jam Session” that will teach youth how to code using HTML and CSS.
Councilmember Navarro facilitated the partnership between MCPS and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, suggesting Wheaton High School as a location to hold this first of its kind event in Montgomery County.
Wheaton High School is located at 12601 Dalewood Dr. in Silver Spring. Other speakers expected include Phillip Kaufman, president of the Board of Education; Joshua P. Starr, superintendent of schools; Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation; and Jake Baskin, the program manager for code.org.
The program will help address the workforce development challenge Montgomery County is facing to fill the gap for skills and experience needed to perform in-demand jobs. By 2020, as baby boomers are retiring, millennials will be representing about 50 percent of the workforce. According to a report by the Center for American Progress, by 2030, more than half of new workers will be people of color and the American workforce will need to fill 83 million replacement and new jobs.
“I am very pleased to see the launching of this new partnership,” said Councilmember Navarro. “When Mr. Tijerino told me about his organization’s Coding Jam Sessions being held at schools throughout the country, I immediately thought we needed to bring this to Montgomery County to inspire curiosity and interest in our students.”
Councilmember Navarro said the program will be part of efforts Montgomery County is making to retain and create jobs.
“We are making investments in the retention and creation of jobs through direct incentives and through the passage of Master and Sector Plans that are creating a technology destination in Montgomery County,” said Councilmember Navarro. “The time to prepare all young people to succeed in increased globalization and emerging technologies is now.”
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This morning marked the end of my one-year term as Council President. This year, the Council accomplished a great deal. We maintained our fiscal responsibility by passing a balanced budget, invested in our future by fully funding our schools, and helped our most vulnerable residents by raising the minimum wage. We strengthened support services for our seniors, passed legislation protecting our environment, and made government more accessible for our residents. We also strengthened our relationship with our delegation in Annapolis by advocating for the successful transportation funding bill that will provide the resources for Montgomery County’s transit priorities.
Thank you to my colleagues for giving me this opportunity to serve. I look forward to working with newly elected Council President Craig Rice and Vice President George Leventhal. As I look back at the past year, I can’t help but marvel at all the things the Council has accomplished together.
Accomplishments of the Montgomery County Council
December 2012—December 2013
Maintaining Fiscal Responsibility: As the economy continued to recover from the Great Recession, the Council made smart fiscal decisions to keep our economy moving in the right direction. The three major credit rating agencies acknowledged these decisions by reaffirming Montgomery County’s AAA bond rating. In the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, the Council kept its promise to lower the fuel / energy tax by an additional 10 percent, bringing the two-year total reduction to 20 percent. The Council also provided raises for the County’s dedicated workforce for the first
Investing in our Future: The Council fully funded the Board of Education’s FY14 budget request for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). It approved an additional $280 million in funds outside the MCPS budget to serve students and their families. These additional services include debt service on school construction bonds, pre-funded retiree health benefits, and support services, such as school health nurses, crossing guards, technology modernization, and after school programming. The Council also released a report by the Office of Legislative Oversight on the academic achievement gap, strengthened the Kennedy Cluster Project and expanded funding for Excel Beyond the Bell. In addition, the Council supported increased funding for Linkages to Learning, school-based Wellness Centers, and the popular Teen Escape Club program.time in several years.
Strengthening the Social Safety Net: Helping our most vulnerable residents was a key priority for the Council this year. The Council increased the County Executive’s recommendation for the Department of Health and Human Services by $5 million, including a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for nonprofit service providers. It passed resolutions calling for the state to increase the minimum wage and reaffirming the Council’s commitment to anti-poverty and safety net programs.
The Council increased funding for the Student/Teen Employment Program, increased staffing for the anti-gang Street Outreach Network program, and added additional resources for the Department of Recreation to support at-risk youth. It provided additional funding to reduce the waiting list for the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL), increased resources for the Working Parents Assistance Child Care Subsidies Program, and expanded food recovery efforts. In the FY14 budget, the Council funded the Working Families Income Supplement at the highest level since the Great Recession. Most significantly, the Council made history by becoming the first county in the nation to raise its minimum wage. By 2017, the minimum wage in Montgomery County will be $11.50, among the highest in the nation.
Supporting our Seniors: The Council significantly increased funding for a variety of senior programs in the FY14 budget. For the first time, the Council established a Senior Mobility Manager position in County Government and provided additional funds to the Public Information Office to promote senior transportation options. The Council also increased funding for mental health services for seniors and continued its support for senior recreation activities.
Protecting our Environment: The Council passed important legislation to protect our environment this year. It passed legislation preserving trees in the County right-of-way and requiring the replacement of trees destroyed through development. The Council also updated the Water Quality Protection Fee to now include commercial properties, but reduce the rate for most residential properties. The Council also approved funding to bring bike-sharing to Montgomery County.
Promoting Open Government and Access for All: Last year, the Council launched an initiative to better communicate with our constituents. Since then, it has procured a new constituent management database, hired bilingual public information officers, and improved its technology infrastructure. The Council launched the first Council E-Newsletter and will modernize its website in the coming year. The Office of Legislative Oversight developed the first “Interactive Fiscal Model” so residents can review and weigh the budget decisions the Council makes each year. For the first time, residents were able to testify at public hearings in a language other than English, with real-time closed caption translation. The Council also held an unprecedented four nights of public hearings on the Zoning Code Rewrite, where it heard from hundreds of residents about a range of issues. Finally, the Council passed the Right to Vote resolution, creating a Right to Vote Task Force—a citizen group that will recommend ways to increase participation and promote greater access to the democratic process for our residents.
Focusing on Economic Development: The Council had one of the most ambitious master and sector plan schedules in recent memory. One of the most significant accomplishments of the term was passing the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan, calling for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) with dedicated lanes along many of Montgomery County’s most congested roadways. This plan sets the stage for a high-quality transit network that will accommodate the expected regional growth over the next few decades. The Council also approved several plans in anticipation of the Purple Line, such as the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan and the Long Branch Sector Plan. The Glenmont Sector Plan and Burtonsville Crossroads Neighborhood Plan, which were also approved this year, are two examples of the Council working with our state delegation to designate “Enterprise Zones” in areas to complement land-use decisions.
Working with Annapolis: The Council’s partnership with the Montgomery County Delegation in Annapolis was strengthened this year. The Council was outspoken in its advocacy for the ultimately successful Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act, which will raise more than $650 million for Montgomery County to build the Purple Line, Corridor Cities Transitway and other County transportation priorities. This landmark transportation bill is expected to raise more than $4.4 billion statewide over the next six years. The Council also passed a resolution calling for stronger gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, and the Governor and General Assembly responded by passing the most sweeping gun control legislation in the nation.
Remarks by Council President Navarro
December 3, 2013
“The theme of my speech when I was elected president last year was ‘One Montgomery.’ I talked about the need for us to confront the social and economic challenges our County was facing head on. I said that now—more than ever before—we must be in this together. That we all share the same need for a government that encourages economic growth, protects our families, educates our children and provides a safety net for those who fall on hard times. . . .
“‘One Montgomery’ means investing in our economic infrastructure so we can continue to strengthen our social infrastructure. It means providing equal opportunity to all of our 1 million plus residents—throughout our 500 square miles . . .
“One of the initiatives I felt most passionately about this year is increasing access to the government for our constituents. Too many of our residents either don’t know how to access government or find it difficult to navigate the system. Last year, we set aside funds for the first time with the goal of increasing communications with our residents. This year, we continued that effort by establishing a new constituent management system, hired full-time bilingual public information support and significantly upgraded our technology infrastructure. We also, for the first time, allowed non-English speakers to testify at public hearings with real-time closed-caption translation. Finally, we held an unprecedented four nights of public hearings, where we heard from hundreds of residents, about the ongoing Zoning Code Rewrite. . . .
“One of my top goals this year was to strengthen our relationship with our delegation in Annapolis. It is powerful when the Montgomery County Government and our State Delegation speak with one voice. This was evident in our advocacy for the successful passage of a transportation financing bill that will provide more than $650 million to Montgomery County to build the Purple Line, the Corridor Cities Transitway and other top transportation priorities. . . .
“The question we ask ourselves each year is this: are we better off today than we were one year ago? Did we accomplish what we sought to? Did we serve the interests of our constituents? Did we make progress for our community? My view is that we will look back on this year as one of transformation. This year, we served our neediest residents, we set the stage to fundamentally reshape our transit infrastructure and we made the investments in our future that will pay dividends for years to come. Montgomery County is stronger today than it was a year ago and I have every bit of confidence that we will continue to make progress and move forward as One Montgomery.”