Meet Darwin

Meet Darwin

My name is Darwin Romero, and I am a candidate to represent your voice on the County council. I look forward to earning your support to protect the quality of life we have come to enjoy and bring back economic growth and prosperity to our County.

I am a single parent raising two boys that love soccer and attend Montgomery County Public Schools. I am a long-time resident of Montgomery County, a product of MCPS and a graduate of the University of Maryland.

As a first-generation immigrant from El Salvador, I am grateful that I can follow my passion for serving the residents of Montgomery County as their council member and freely pursue the American dream.

In the upcoming election, you will have the unique opportunity to choose four new At-Large councilmembers to represent your voice on policies that will affect education, economic growth and job creation, public safety, affordable housing, land use, health care, and a 21st-century transit system.

I ask for your vote to be that voice. The voice of reason, the voice of change, the voice that asks the tough questions, the voice that does his homework and is well prepared to represent the residents of Montgomery County.

Even though this is my first public campaign, it is not my first time standing up for social justice and racial equality. Last year, I participated in the Stand-Up for the Montgomery Way rally where our residents came out in full force to underscore the values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all — the values that make us uniquely Montgomery County.

Now more than ever we need local leaders that will denounce and stand up to divisive policies, inflammatory rhetoric, and social injustices that have become more prevalent and widespread. We need leaders that propose to unite our community, protect our freedoms and rights, and celebrate the differences that make us strong.

It was, in fact, the convergence of these events and other social justice disparities that led me to file as a candidate for County Council At-Large and propelled me not just to be the difference, but to make a difference and encourage others to do the same.

I know how to work collaboratively with diverse parties and build consensus. In my professional life as in my personal, I have had to concede on some things to reach the end goal. I can see the larger picture and reach across the aisle to work with allies and opponents alike. And rest assured that my decisions on complicated issues will always be guided by keeping you at the forefront.

Friends, I cannot stress enough the importance of this election. With your vote, you could potentially decide the outcome and direction of our County for the next twelve years.

Elect me, and I will make sure your voice is heard loud and clear. My door will be open to all residents who want to voice their concerns and propose new ideas. I am not beholden to any special interest group except the residents of Montgomery County.

So on June 26, 2018, when you cast your vote, vote the Montgomery Way — vote Darwin Romero for County council.

 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

VISION

As your County Council At-Large, it will be my highest honor to achieve the best quality of life possible for all our residents while protecting and preserving our principles, values, and heritage.

MISSION

As your County Council At-Large my life’s mission will be:

(1) For our children to get a head start in life by providing a world-class education system that prepares them for the challenges of the future and offers a vast array of career and technical opportunities especially for those where college may not be a viable option.

(2) For our families to have access to safe and reliable childcare services, affordable housing, expansive parks and recreation centers, and a library system that houses the best digital and print media collections from around the world.

(3) For our residents to have jobs that pay a living wage and access to affordable healthcare, where young professionals can live, raise a family and seniors can retire with dignity.

(4) For our immigrant community to feel welcomed, protected, and valued, where their voices are an integral part of our democracy, and we mutually enrich each other through the sharing of our culture, food, music, and heritage.

(5) For our business community and local merchants to establish themselves here, grow, thrive and give back to our communities.

(6) For our builders to develop our land resources in such a way that it preserves and protects our agricultural and rural heritage for future generations to enjoy.

PURPOSE

I commit myself to serving the people of Montgomery County in Education, Economic Growth, Land Use, and Infrastructure.

 

SERVICE

You could say that service runs in my family. My parents have served MCPS students for a combined 30 years. My mother is a bus operator, and my father is a building service assistant manager. And my sister, who just graduated from my alma mater, is a second lieutenant in the US Army.

I currently serve on the board of Montgomery County Sister Cities Inc. whose mission is to connect our County with the rest of the world. We accomplish this by fostering mutual respect and understanding of the many communities, cultures, and people that are a part of Montgomery County. Once a year we highlight and celebrate the different communities that form Montgomery County at our World of Montgomery Festival. I am also part of the Latin American Advisory Group whose focus is on advising the County Executive on issues and priorities important to the Latino community.

For the last five years, I have supported student academic achievement as a parent volunteer at the George B. Thomas Learning Academy at Wheaton High School. If I have learned anything from Saturday School it is their motto to the students: “I believe in me.” This slogan has particular significance because it has been the driving force in my life when all others doubted or underestimated my abilities. I have also served as parent co-chair of the Latino Student Achievement Action Group and worked closely with MCPS leadership to close the achievement and opportunity gap that is prevalent in our minority students. And lastly, I served as a board member of Casa del Alfarero, a predominantly Spanish speaking church that is doing some great things for our East County community.

Some fun facts about me:

  • My sister is a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army
  • I have volunteered at Saturday School for the past five years
  • I love math

 

FORMATIVE YEARS

I was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the United States when I was seven years old. I lived in Texas, New York City, and now call Maryland my home. I studied at Takoma Park Middle School and went to Montgomery Blair High School Magnet program.

My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic from the very beginning. They knew that if I was to have a chance to succeed I had to work twice as hard as my peers. I mastered English, excelled in mathematics, and challenged myself every step of the way, and to this day I continue to do so. I overcame the language barrier, socioeconomic factors, and cultural differences that reminded me of my shortcomings.

I was the first in my family to go to college paving the way for my younger siblings and future generations. I attended the University of Maryland College Park and obtained my bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics.

Some fun facts about me:

  • I came to the US when I was seven years old
  • My first job was working as a cashier
  • I love blue crabs, living close to the capital, and playing the piano

 

PROFESSIONAL YEARS

By nature, I am an entrepreneur. When I was in high school, I helped one of my neighbors who had a landscaping company grow his clientele and increase his business revenue. When family and friends needed help or had a question, I would assist them by doing some research and providing the requested information. I later became a notary public, and for some time I managed my own construction company. I eventually went into real estate where I became a broker with one of the largest real estate firms in the Mid-Atlantic region and was recognized year-after-year as one of their top producers.

Due to the economic downturn of 2008, I left real estate altogether and went to work for MCPS. While at MCPS I was able to provide critical services to our students as a bus operator. Every day I would safely transport elementary, middle school, and high school students. And every day I would see the needs, challenges, and struggles these students and their parents faced. I wanted to do more. So I did what I could at the time — I went back to school to prepare myself for the challenges that lay ahead.

While in school I had the opportunity to work as an intern at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. At the time it was a newly established federal agency tasked with reining in the unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices of companies and educating the public to make smart financial decisions. I worked in the Consumer Engagement Division where I contributed to the owning your home module and other initiatives with the purpose to educate and empower the public.

Afterwards, I returned to MCPS but this time as a parent community coordinator. I helped parents navigate the complexities of the school system and provided much-needed resources to the community. I solicited in-kind donations from our local business community to help our students, successfully organized school events and was able to supply children with coats, school supplies, and other necessities. I also had the opportunity to speak with our state delegates and representatives about the importance of funding education and highlighting the critical role our teachers and supporting staff play in teaching our students.

I later made the difficult choice to move back into the private sector as a contract manager. Unfortunately, after working there for a year, I was laid off due to a reduction in workforce and bad management decisions. I had never been unemployed, so you can imagine how difficult this was for me. But I continued to be hopeful and actively searched for employment until my current employer hired me.

I am now the operations manager for a small construction firm that has been steadily growing for the past three years. Last year I was able to scale the business to reach revenues well over $1 M and was instrumental in positioning them to obtain large contracts with local governments. I continue to work in this role and expect to double our revenues for the following year.

Some fun facts about me:

  • I was a real estate broker
  • I drove a school bus
  • I am an entrepreneur