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Ross "Fairly Certain" to Run for Council

The Kentlands business owner would try to refocus the city's economic development efforts.

Paula Ross is confident she can outwork the other candidates for Gaithersburg City Council.

If, that is, she decides to run.

As of yesterday she had not formally decided, but Ross, Chief Communications Officer of Great Kids Village in the Kentlands, has almost made up her mind.

"I'm fairly certain I'm going to run," she said. "But I want to do it my way."

Although she has downloaded the candidate packet, she hasn't yet started collecting the required 100 signatures to officially enter the race.

She has, however, registered a campaign website and gone on an impromptu listening tour, speaking with local business and community leaders to bolster support.

As a former board member of the Kentlands Community Foundation, and founder and current vice president of the Kentlands Downtown Partnership, Ross said she would be an advocate for businesses and the Kentlands and Lakelands neighborhoods.

"Right now there's no representation on the council from the Kentlands," she said. Councilman Ryan Spiegel, who is running for re-election, used to live in the Kentlands, but has since moved to a different part of the city.

Councilmembers Jud Ashman and Cathy Drzyzgula are running as partners in the election, and have already their candidate petitions.

Ross believes the city is going about economic development in the wrong way, she said.

She was critical of the nearly $80,000 no-bid consulting contract the city awarded former County Councilman Mike Knapp and the economic development he delivered after six months.

"It didn't tell us anything we didn't already know," she said.

She was also critical of the city's hiring process for an economic development director, which is after a year-long search that required re-advertising the position.

But what Ross is looking forward to most—if she runs—is being a part of the civic process.

"I enjoy politics," she said. "I really enjoy getting involved. Clearly I like advocacy work, and I like organizing and bringing people together."

City Elections will be held Nov. 8. For more information on becoming a candidate, check out the city's election page.

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