George Leventhal is serving his fourth term as an at-large Democratic member of the Montgomery County Council. He chairs the council's Health and Human Services Committee, which is responsible for programs affecting the sick, the poor, the elderly, the homeless, the disabled, the mentally ill, and abused and abandoned children, as well as libraries and the arts and humanities. He also serves on the Planning, Housing and Economic Development committee which oversees the county’s economic development efforts and zoning laws.
Councilmember Leventhal has championed access to health care for the uninsured, housing for the homeless, environmental protection, mass transit and measures to improve transparency in county government during his time in office. Prior to his election to the County Council, he served as Chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee and as Legislative Director to U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD). He has lived in Montgomery County for more than forty years and owns a home in Takoma Park with his wife Soraia Leventhal and their two sons, Daniel and Chico, both products of Montgomery County Public Schools.
Councilmember George Leventhal has dedicated his career in public service to two ideals: advocating for the less fortunate and delivering a “Government that Works.” Councilmember Leventhal is serving his fourth term as an at-large member of the Montgomery County Council and has been a progressive force during his 13 years on the Council. He was first elected to the Council in 2002, served as Council President twice in 2006 and 2015, and has been re-elected to office three times. Councilmember Leventhal has lived in Montgomery county for more than 40 years and owns a home in Takoma Park with his wife Soraia and their two sons, Daniel and Chico.
Councilmember Leventhal believes strongly in using the power of government to solve problems, and there is no problem more compelling for government than the circumstances of those who have the least. Second, but no less important to Councilmember Leventhal is delivering a “Government that Works” to the residents of Montgomery County. He has sought to instill a culture of customer service across county government that is focused on producing tangible results for residents and giving them more access to the services their taxes pay for.
Since 2002, Councilmember Leventhal has chaired the Council’s Health and Human Services (HHS) committee and in that time, he has made advocating for those with the least his personal mission. As chairman of the HHS committee, he supports and oversees programs for Montgomery County's neediest residents: the elderly, the sick, the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill, and abused and abandoned children. During his time in office, he has championed a number of programs to help those who can’t always help themselves, including:
- Zero 2016: An initiative which effectively ended homelessness among veterans by providing housing to more than 58 homeless veterans in Montgomery County
- Montgomery Cares: Long before the Affordable Care Act worked its way through Congress, Councilmember Leventhal led the effort to create a county health program that provides basic medical services to uninsured county residents. Since 2005, the program has provided services to tens of thousands of county residents .
- The Housing First initiative: An innovative approach to reducing homelessness which aggressively matches individuals experiencing homelessness with permanent stable housing instead of temporary shelter, as well as offering supportive services to help clients address the issues which contributed to their homelessness.
- Healthy Montgomery: An on-going effort to improve access to health and social services, and achieve health equity for all residents.
In addition to being a member of the HHS committee, Councilmember Leventhal also serves on the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) committee. As a member of the PHED committee, he is tasked with overseeing the county’s economic developments efforts, housing policies, zoning changes, and parks and recreation, among other topics.
Beyond his committee responsibilities, Councilmember Leventhal is dedicated to making county government more transparent and accountable to the public. One of his most notable accomplishments in this regard is the property disposition bill, which requires public input and council approval before the county sells or leases public property. Previously, county-owned assets were not disposed of through a public process.
Councilmember Leventhal is equally passionate about protecting the local environment. He wants Montgomery County to be the cleanest, safest, healthiest county in America, and has achieved success through proactive waste reduction, ecologically sound landscape practices, greenhouse gas reduction and energy efficiency. In his time in public office, he has created and championed many County programs that foster those goals including:
- The Healthy Lawns Act – restricts the use of toxic lawn care chemicals on public and private property, playgrounds, and children’s facilities, making Montgomery County the first county and largest jurisdiction in the nation to prohibit the cosmetic use of pesticides.
- The County's Green Buildings legislation – protects and improves the environment by requiring privately-constructed buildings over 10,000 square feet to be LEED certified, and county-constructed buildings to achieve a LEED-silver or equivalent rating.
- Bethesda Green is a public-private partnership which houses Maryland's first and only green jobs incubator, with new companies creating the next generation of sustainable products and services. In 2015, the incubator supported 50 full-time jobs, generating nearly $2.1 million dollars in revenue.
In keeping with his environmental activism, Councilmember Leventhal believes that we must urgently expand the range of transit options in the county, enabling more residents to use transit to get to where they’re going. The Purple Line – an east-west light rail line which will link Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley Park, the University of Maryland at College Park, and New Carrollton – continues to be his top transportation priority. As a founder and ex-officio board member of Purple Line Now!, he has worked tirelessly to promote the Purple Line and ensure that it is constructed. In June of 2015, Governor Larry Hogan gave the green light to the Purple Line, and the project is expected to break ground in late 2016.
Councilmember Leventhal has received a number of awards for his efforts and leadership during his time in office. His awards include:
- Climate Champion Award | Chesapeake Climate Action Network
- Mental Health Champion Award |Family Services Inc.
- Public Health Innovation Award |Montgomery County Medical Society
- Distinguished Service Award | Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless
Before his election to the County Council, Councilmember Leventhal was employed as Senior Federal Relations Officer for the Association of American Universities (AAU). And prior to working at the AAU, Leventhal served as legislative director and legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, and as a research assistant on the tax staff of the Senate Finance Committee under its then-chairman Lloyd Bentsen of Texas. From 1996 to 2001, Leventhal served as chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.
Throughout his entire career, George Leventhal has had a lifelong passion for learning. He holds a Master's degree in public administration from the Johns Hopkins University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley, and is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland.
He lives in Takoma Park with his wife, Soraia Leventhal, and their two sons, Daniel, a graduate of Montgomery County Public Schools, and Chico who is currently a student at Montgomery Blair High School. He is a member of Shirat HaNefesh synagogue.