Long-time union organizer and former Board of Education member was the first African American woman elected to the Montgomery County Council, has spent career fighting to expand youth opportunity
Feb. 22 2018
PIKESVILLE, MD (February 22, 2018) — Baltimore County Executive and Democratic candidate for governor Kevin Kamenetz announced today that Valerie Ervin will be joining his campaign as candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
Ervin served two terms on the Montgomery County Council, including a period as Council President, becoming the first African American woman ever elected to the Council. She was previously elected to the Montgomery County Board of Education.
When elected, Ervin would become Maryland’s first female African-American Lieutenant Governor.
“Throughout her career, Valerie Ervin has been a fighter for progressive change, and a tireless advocate for education,” said Kevin Kamenetz. “Valerie’s combination of elected experience, community and policy leadership, and dedication to getting things done makes her the ideal partner in my campaign to become the ‘Education Governor’ that Maryland needs.”
“I first ran for office when I discovered that my own child was being denied educational opportunities and after considering how many other children faced similar challenges—I had to get off the sidelines and get to work,” said Valerie Ervin. “Now, with Donald Trump in the White House and Larry Hogan in the State House, I’ve never been more concerned for the children across our state and so I am ready to keep fighting. I’m thrilled to join Kevin’s campaign to return Maryland’s schools to best in the nation.”
Ervin began her career in grassroots activism as an organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers union, fighting to ensure that working parents knew their rights in the workplace and that they received appropriate benefits.
In 2004, Ervin was elected to the Montgomery County Board of Education, where she served as chairperson of the Research and Evaluation Committee, developing solutions to issues that impacted the lives of students and their families.
Ervin was elected to two terms on the Montgomery County Council, where she represented District 5 which includes Silver Spring, Kensington, Takoma Park and Wheaton, and was elected Council President in 2011.
During her time on the County Council, Ervin promoted the interests of working families, by:
- Serving as a key advocate who was instrumental in raising Montgomery County’s minimum wage.
- Leading efforts to pass prevailing wage and displaced worker legislation to provide needed financial security for workers.
- Creating the nation’s first county-wide food recovery network to redistribute food which would otherwise be wasted to area food banks and nonprofit organizations that feed the hungry.
- Broadening whistleblower protections to prevent retaliation against employees who report fraud, waste, and abuse so that ensure taxpayer funds were spent efficiently and wisely.
As a Montgomery County School Board member, Ervin was a vocal advocate on youth issues by:
- Dismantling barriers to child care subsidies to provide quality child care and to enable parents to return to work.
- Expanding access to preschool programming across Montgomery County and advocating for Universal Preschool opportunities for all Montgomery county residents.
- Proposing and implementing the Kennedy Cluster Project, a collaborative effort to find innovative solutions to close the achievement gap.
After nearly a decade of service as an elected official in Montgomery County, Ervin took the post of Executive Director of the Center for Working Families.
Ervin leaves her current position as senior adviser for the Working Families Party, where she helped direct the progressive coalition’s efforts expand economic and educational opportunity for families across the country.
She is the mother of two children and grandmother of four. She resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.
More information about the Kamenetz-Ervin campaign can be found at:kevinformaryland.com.