About Nancy

Councilmember Nancy Navarro is a Venezuelan American legislator, the first Latina to serve on the Montgomery County, Maryland Council. Montgomery County, the largest populated County in Maryland, has grown both in numbers and diversity in the past three decades and is home to over a million residents that are majority people of color. It has a $6 billion operating budget; fully half of which funds the Montgomery County Public Schools, the 14th largest school district in the United States (over 160,000 students, also majority students of color). Prior to her service on the County Council, she served on the Montgomery County Board of Education for five years. Before entering public office, Nancy co-founded a non-profit, community-based organization to assist with the economic and educational development of Latino and other immigrant communities. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, and she lives in Silver Spring with her husband of 30 years. They have two amazing Afro-Latina daughters Anais & Isabel.

A life of public service and advocacy

Throughout her career, Nancy has worked to improve the lives of Montgomery County residents. She was first elected to represent District 4 on the Montgomery County Council in a special election on May 19, 2009, and was re-elected in 2010, 2014 and 2018 where she has twice served as Council President and Vice President. She chairs the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and serves on the Education and Culture Committee. In 2011, former President Barack Obama appointed Nancy to the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, where she served on the Early Childhood Education Committee.

During her 5-year tenure on the Montgomery County Board of Education, she served two consecutive years as President and was chair of the Communications and Public Engagement Committee as well as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee. During the summers of 2007 and 2008, she participated in the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) at Harvard University, where the Montgomery County Public Schools team focused on race, poverty, and the academic achievement gap. In 2007, she was instrumental in founding The Kennedy Cluster Project, an initiative that seeks to identify and address the root causes of the achievement gap in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). Kennedy Cluster schools were identified for the project because they enrolled large percentages of African American and Hispanic students, many of whom were poor or lived in homes where Spanish was the primary language. The project brought together representatives of MCPS, County Government agencies, the Department of Juvenile Services, the State's Attorney's Office, and other youth serving agencies. They formed a multi-agency team to discuss challenges affecting youth and their families in Kennedy Cluster project schools and provide them with support and services. In 2008, Nancy successfully introduced an award-winning Translation Unit into the school system.

Economic development and self-sufficiency

Nancy has led the charge on important pieces of legislation including Pay Equity, Minimum Wage, Earned Sick and Safe Leave, Displaced Workers, and Living Wage Enforcement. Nancy has used her position on the Council to encourage economic growth and development in traditionally underserved regions.

She created The Economic Development Platform which serves as a strategic framework that signals clearly that the Council is ready and able to commit Montgomery County to fostering an environment which encourages economic growth, particularly in previously underserved areas of the County. She worked tirelessly to move the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan, the Wheaton Revitalization Project, and funding for commercial revitalization along  New Hampshire Avenue in Colesville, through the Council. To go along with the Wheaton Revitalization Project, Nancy sponsored Bill 6-12, which created the Small Business Assistance Program, which assists small-business owners whose livelihoods would be directly impacted by the new development. This allows small-business owners to receive funds from the program to remain competitive in a fast-changing community. Nancy also sponsored Bill 49-16, which created Montgomery County’s Microloan Program, enabling aspiring entrepreneurs to access needed funding and technical assistance. This in turn has encouraged the growth of entrepreneurship in lower-income communities across the County and innovative proposals in a bill to spur affordable housing and business growth in properties owned by WMATA.

In 2019, Nancy was elected Co-Vice President of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), in recognition of her leadership in passing a resolution calling for Montgomery County Government to work towards meeting updated housing targets set forth by MWCOG. These updated targets came about because of the Housing Workgroup which she had sat as a member.

Racial Equity and Social Justice law, and civic engagement

In 2019, as Council President, she spearheaded the successful introduction and adoption of Bill 27-19, the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act. Bill 27-19 was the culmination of a Presidency focused on advancing Racial Equity in Montgomery County. Through community conversations around the County, residents were encouraged to think differently about Equity, and to provide input for policymakers as Bill 27-19 was drafted. Bill 27-19 reflects Montgomery County’s identity, and cements Nancy’s legacy as a champion of structural reform. This groundbreaking law is now being proposed as a model for adoption in the legislative houses in the state of New York.

She has been instrumental in sensitizing Montgomery County leaders and residents to the devastating effects of institutional racism and has successfully pushed for the renaming of public schools and institutions named after individuals with a racist past. The County and the school district have since committed to reviewing the names of all their facilities. She was Co-Lead sponsor of the C.R.O.W.N Act (Creating a Respectful and open World for Natural Hair), and  she spearheaded a County Council resolution that was passed unanimously to rename Christopher Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

She successfully championed increases in the County Council’s budget to enhance resources for multicultural communications and outreach. Today, Nancy continues to fight for her constituents, and continues to lead the charge on these and many other areas including civic engagement. In 2011, she launched the Latino Civic Project (LCP), a linguistically and culturally proficient project, to strengthen the civic participation of the immigrant community, especially women, in the decision-making process. This is achieved through workshops and activities that empower and offer them a greater understanding of what it is to be civically engaged, to advocate on issues that positively affect changes in the community.

Early Care and Education initiative

Nancy authored the frameworks for the County’s Early Care and Education Initiative, and the Economic Development Platform. The Early Care and Education Initiative is a $7 million-dollar investment to provide access to a thigh quality and affordable early care and education. She has also been an ardent advocate for dedicated funding for early quality and accessible early childhood education and pre-K. She was a lead sponsor of Bill 13-15, which created the Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative, providing technical assistance, training, and mentoring to prospective and licensed family childcare providers. Additionally, Nancy’s leadership was instrumental in creating the Montgomery County Children’s Opportunity Fund, which leverages private dollars to fund high-quality programs that are both sustainable and scalable.

Fiscal responsibility, COVID-19 response, and reimagining public safety

Currently, Nancy has been involved with collaborating with her colleagues on the Council and the County Executive to lead a County reeling from the effects of what she refers to as the Twin Pandemics – a renewed reckoning with systemic racism and the COVID-19 Pandemic. Police reform is at the top of her agenda, having spearheaded a bill enacted into law, Bill 33-19, Police- Community Policing, and joined her colleagues to sponsor Expedited Bill 27-20, Police- Regulations- Use of Force Policy, and Expedited Bill 34-20, Police- Disciplinary Procedures- Police Labor Relations- Duty to Bargain- Amendment s As soon as the COVID19 pandemic hit, she spearheaded a budgeting process proposal (continuing services budget) adopted by the Council that ensured that only essential services and COVID19 related emergencies would be funded by the County’s budget. She has helped rally the community and government to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the trauma to reprogram and repurpose resources to help residents, especially children, the poor, and the vulnerable.

In keeping with her focus on early care education as a moral and economic imperative Nancy spearheaded along with her colleagues funding requests to provide reopening expenses for licensed child care center programs, registered family child care homes, and letter of compliance programs including one month of expenses to support operations until tuition payments are collected and compensation for significant financial loss caused directly or indirectly by COVID- 19 restrictions. She has worked with her colleagues to approve funds for school-age childcare providers to open licensed childcare programs in public school buildings to support working parents. She has spearheaded and sponsored funding requests to provide financial support to shops and restaurants, relief for businesses, rental relief to residents, and culturally appropriate food to residents.

In the process, working with her colleagues, she authored the creation of an innovative groundbreaking community-based vehicle for providing relief to Latin American and African American residents who happen to be most affected by the pandemic; Por Nuestra Salud y

Bienestar (For Our Health and Wellbeing) and the African-American Health Program. Nancy has also been lending her support for ongoing efforts to expand the HUB Program(insert links) to  the Midcounty area and creating equity hubs to support vulnerable MCPS students.

Awards and Recognitions

Throughout the years, Nancy has been recognized by numerous organizations and publications for her leadership and commitment in a variety of public policy areas including Children, Youth, and their Families, Racial Equity and Social Justice, Education, Civic Engagement, Women Empowerment, Business Development, Special Needs, and Immigrant Rights, among others. Most notably: the Montgomery County Business and Professional Women Association’s Women of Achievement Award; the 2009 and 2013 Maryland’s Top 100 Women Award; the Ana G. Méndez University System Capital Area “Presidential Medal” Award; the 2013 and 2019 Washingtonian Top 150 Most Influential Women; the 2014 Champion Award by the Community Services for Autistic Adults; the 2017 Phyllis Campbell Newsome Award by the Center for Nonprofit Advancement; 2020 Montgomery County Commission for Women-Women’s History Archives Inductee; 2020 Latin American Youth Center “Our Youth Matter” Gala Honoree, the 2020 National Center for Children and Families’ Humanitarian Spirit Award for Diversity and Equity, and the 2020 Distinguished Service to Public Education award in the category of Individual Pioneer.

Accomplishments & Goals

Furthering Progressive Values

  • Passed Minimum Wage as Council President

  • Passed legislation providing equal benefits for same-sex couples employed by County contractors

  • Marijuana Decriminalization and Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Resolution

  • Created Right to Vote Task Force and Passed Right to Vote Resolution

  • Passed Gun Control Resolution

  • Passed Secure Communities Resolution

  • Organized Latino Action Summit in partnership with the White House as a member of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

  • Organized Latino Civic Association project & Conference Series

  • Increased Council transparency–televise all Council sessions, improved Council communications

  • Added funding for Suburban Welcome Back Center

  • Added funding for child care for most vulnerable residents

  • Created bilingual Council public information officer and weekly Spanish-language radio show

  • Passed legislation creating a program that promotes and prioritizes the use of public facilities for organizations that serve youth, vulnerable, and low-income residents

  • Passed legislation improving access to affordable health insurance for employees of County contractors and strengthening the County’s Living Wage Law

  • Passed strongest Earned Sick & Safe Leave law in the nation

Improving Quality of Life

  • Created and subsequently expanded Teen Escape Club program

  • Procured funding for traffic calming and pedestrian safety improvements on Castle Blvd

  • New Hampshire Avenue Street Lighting

  • Colesville Facade Improvement

  • Saved Ride On’s “Kids Ride Free” Program from proposed funding cuts

  • Increased funding for Street Outreach Network – a gang prevention program – in FY13 budget

  • Increased funding for Excel Beyond the Bell in FY13 budget

  • Accelerated construction of new Wheaton Library & Recreation Center

  • Protected funding for Wheaton High School/Edison Technical High School Modernization

  • Helped establish Health Center at Bel Pre Elementary School

  • Hosted Community Foreclosure Seminar

  • Secured funding for County led redevelopment in Wheaton

  • Secured funding for expansion of Wellness Centers to new schools including Wheaton High School

  • Created Senior Villages Coordinator position

  • Passed legislation creating the Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative

  • Secured funding for the Wheaton Redevelopment Program and the Wheaton Library and Recreation Center

Demonstrating Fiscal Responsibility

  • Implemented County’s Fiscal and Reserve Plan as chair of GO Committee

  • Maintained County’s AAA Bond Rating as chair of GO Committee

  • Made difficult decisions regarding compensation, benefits, and mid-year reductions at the height of the Great Recession

  • Created “Small Business Assistance Program” to help small businesses that are adversely impacted by County-led redevelopment

Promoting Sustainable Growth

  • Wheaton Sector Plan

  • Glenmont Sector Plan

  • Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan

  • Long Branch Sector Plan

  • Kensington Sector Plan

  • Countywide Corridors Functional Master Plan (BRT)

  • White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan

  • Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan (Pending)

2015-2018 Goals

  • Changing the narrative about the Mid- and East- County

  • Framing the elimination of the Academic Achievement Gap as a socioeconomic imperative

  • Developing a framework for policymakers to meet our future workforce needs

  • Implementing Wheaton Redevelopment and the White Oak Science Gateway

  • Fully funding the Small Business Assistance Program

  • Creating a dedicated funding stream for youth programming (at local and state level)

  • Expanding quality early childhood education and improving access for family childcare providers

  • Continuing to build capacity for improved Council communications with the public

  • Improving quality of life in previously neglected neighborhoods

  • Providing affordable health insurance to low-income County contractors

  • Requiring earned sick leave for all workers