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Candidates Information



Mayor and City Council

All legislative powers of the City of Takoma Park are vested in a body designated as the Council of the City of Takoma Park, consisting of seven members.

  • Six of these members are elected by ward and are called Councilmembers, and one is elected at large and is called the Mayor.
  • The City is divided into six Wards with one Council Member representing each Ward.
  • The Mayor and Council Members are elected to two-year terms.


Candidate Information

Mayor's Race: Roger Schlegel

My wife and I are high school teachers and 18+ year residents, with two children in MCPS schools. Trained and experienced in local government, I’ve helped lead my neighborhood association, the Cooperative Nursery School, the Takoma Junction task force, a city manager search, and other activist efforts. Our government must respect residents’ expertise, spend wisely, and get the details right. I’ll lead the Council to give clear direction and strong oversight and to hold staff accountable for meeting objectives. My vision is of a community where people of all ages, races, and income levels can afford to live within safe walking distance of everyday goods and services, and where programs, public spaces, and economic development build opportunities for people of color, advance green goals, and unify us. Early priorities include hiring a new Manager prepared to support these goals and reorienting our public safety approach toward supporting residents’ total well-being.

Website: Rogerfortakoma.org (includes contact option)
Facebook: Roger Schlegel for Mayor of Takoma Park
Instagram: @roger_mayor

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Mayor's Race: Kate Stewart

My family has lived in TkPk for over 25 years. Our kids grew up attending local public schools, spending afternoons in the library, and Sundays on the soccer field. I first ran for Mayor to keep intact what is special about our City, while making changes needed to ensure a livable and vibrant community for all residents.

COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down. We need experienced leadership to continue to support residents and businesses in need, coordinate with County and state officials, secure funding, and plan for the future.

I am running for re-election to build on the work we have done and to realize housing as a human right, reimagine public safety, advance racial equity, create a sustainable future, and more. We can and will do more because lasting change is not nibling around the edges, it is setting ambitious goals and continuing to change how government functions.


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Stewart 2020 Campaign Finance Annual Report

Ward 1 Race: Peter Kovar

Council service means communication: I’ve emphasized informing residents about Council agendas and City government; actively engaging to understand people’s views on municipal matters; and telling constituents how I’ll vote or factors I’ll consider in deciding my vote. Being accessible to those I represent will remain a major focus for me.

Our top challenges are responding to COVID-19, and reimagining public safety to address systemic racism and ensure Black and Brown residents are treated with dignity. I’ll continue stressing the importance of allocating sufficient funds to help residents and businesses affected by the pandemic, and hearing from a wide range of stakeholders on police and public safety reform.

I look forward to working collaboratively with residents on those issues, and also priorities like managing development; promoting inclusiveness; keeping Takoma Park affordable; and making progress on climate change, all of which are inter-connected. I’d be honored to have Ward One voters’ support.

For further information:

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Ward 2 Race: Cindy Dyballa

Since I was elected to represent ward 2, I’ve worked for policies and programs that reflect the values I believe we all share, for a community that’s:
• inclusive --all ages, incomes, cultures, races;
• affordable – across a range of incomes and lifestyles; and
• sustainable (environment, climate, local economy).
And I promised to bring more voices into our civic conversation.

Together, we’ve made progress—a housing strategic plan, climate action framework, economic development program, and more. I’m asking for your vote this fall, for another term, because there’s so much more to do, to implement these plans, and address COVID-19 recovery, public safety, and city budget.

On council, I’ve learned to keep an open mind, listen to all the voices in our diverse ward, do my homework, and be ready for the unexpected. For more on what I’ve done and hope to do.

Visit: cindy4ward2.com
Facebook: Cindy Dyballa
Twitter: @dyballa_2.

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Ward 3 Race: Kacy Kostiuk

I’ve had the honor of serving as your City Councilmember for 3 years. Together, we’ve made great progress on our community’s most pressing issues.

I hope to continue to work together with you to address the impacts of COVID and the economic crisis, reform public safety/policing, improve racial equity, build a more affordable community, develop innovative budget solutions, adopt climate change strategies, and build trust and transparency.

I will also prioritize communication and outreach with you -- at neighborhood meetings, through outreach at PTA meetings, during office hours, weekly emails, and more.

I have three years of learning and relationship-building at the local, state, and regional levels, so I’m ready to hit the ground running to successfully advocate for our needs as a ward and community, and ensure we’re meeting our goals.

Together, we can build a community that is truly equitable, just, thriving, engaged, environmentally responsible, and fun.

facebook.com/katherine.kostiuk, twitter.com/kacykostiuk

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Ward 3 Race: Olly Swyers

My platform emphasizes equity, transparency, and climate justice. As your city council representative, I will work in coalition with the many people striving for justice in our community: on land stewardship projects, food forests, community gardens, housing support, mutual aid, eviction blockades, food drives and equitable development. We still have so much work to do-- as a city, as neighbors and as individuals. We aren't there yet, but we can be if we take the right steps - right now. I am a queer, nonbinary, filmmaker and activist who grew up right here in Takoma Park. I attended local MCPS public schools and went on to study the world through filmmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University. I have worked in partnership with education, health and entertainment organizations as well as local LGBTQ+ organizers to help tell the stories that shape our world. I currently live on Cockerille with my family.

Olly Swyers

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Ward 4 Race: Terry Seamens

Terry performed computer software development during most of his 40-year career. He also managed software consultants and sold microcomputers and components to the Federal government.

Terry has been on the Takoma Park City Council for over 20 years. The focus of Terry’s work on the Council has been improving city management and transforming the Police Department to more closely match Takoma Park’s progressive character.

Terry is a persistent advocate for his constituents. He and his wife Joyce work tirelessly for the less fortunate in the community. They volunteer for the Manna Food Center to provide food assistance to those with insufficient resources. Terry is on Adventist Community Services Board of Directors where Joyce is the Director of Health and Wellness. Joyce is also Director of Operations for the Piney Branch Pool. Both Terry and Joyce are active in local community groups, including the Takoma Park Independence Day Committee.

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Ward 5 Race: Sawa Kamara

As your Councilmember, I will prioritize effective communication and promote interactions in the ward by expanding outreach, hosting regular community chats, sharing information through various accessible platforms, and arranging community events. As a former civic association president, I will transfer those same skills needed to have a functional community.

In order to have a positive and forward-moving community, we must work together. We need to elect leaders who stand by our community’s values and will promote progressive and inclusive policies. We need leaders who take the thoughts and suggestions of constituents into account when making decisions that will affect our way of life.

I am the leader we need to ensure a positive future for Ward 5. I humbly request your vote and support as I seek to give my fellow residents the collective voice and active engagement we so urgently need. On November 3rd 2020, vote for Sawa Kamara.


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Ward 5 Race: Jarrett Smith

My interest in politics and community is a result of being raised by parents who served the United States with distinguished careers in the military and government. I am the son of an Army major, who served 21 years as an Intelligence Officer.

I received my undergraduate degree from Howard University, and I am currently an Executive MPA candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute. This is my fourth term as a Takoma Park Councilmember. I serve on government and administrative bodies which help me advocate for our city throughout the state of Maryland as well as the entire nation. A few of my accomplishments:

• Founder of the summer camp “Lunch & Learn” now in its 8th year, the largest
FARMs program in Montgomery County;
• Established a $2,500 scholarship in 2015 to attend Montgomery College; and
• Delivered the Flower Avenue Green Street construction project.

Website: smithfortakomapark.com
Phone: (301) 960-7462 (M)
Twitter: @JarrettSmith

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Ward 6 Race: Talisha Searcy

From Atlanta, Georgia, Talisha Searcy moved to Takoma Park in 2013. Talisha is passionate about civic engagement. She served as the President of the New Hampshire Gardens Community Association from 2015 to 2017. In this role, Talisha secured grant funding for community engagement activities including block parties and beautification projects. As Ward 6 City Councilmember, Talisha has worked to advocate for residents and businesses alike.

As a result, Ward 6 has received County and State funding to:
• Renovate two County playgrounds (Becca Lilly and Hillwood Manor);
• Support businesses impacted by Purple Line construction; and
• Façade improvement for businesses along New Hampshire Ave.

Talisha Searcy is also the Deputy Director for the Technical Strategy and Analysis Division at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. She has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Georgia State University and Master’s degrees in Economics and Public Administration from Syracuse University.

Website: Talishasearcy.com
Twitter: @talisha_searcy

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