Why Am I Running?
Working from home for the last two years, I saw the challenges our local community experienced. The lack of political Variety with nine County Council members of the same party leads to stagnation and one-dimensional problem-solving. Our community deserves a County Council as varied as they are.
I’m a first-generation Vietnamese American. My parents taught me to stand up and do what I can – when I can. We need a diversity of thought in our Council so that everyone from District 6 has a Voice.
The damage done to families by Covid-19 has inspired me to take action. I’ve spent my career thinking outside the box and finding creative solutions to help break out of the status quo. We need to rebuild the “right way” and embrace a Vision of long-term strategic planning that doesn’t just double down on the successes of the past.
When I was pinged about running for County Council, I took a long hard look at local politics and talked to a lot of people to see if I felt I’d be able to make a difference. I found a wealth of opportunity.
One of the things I discovered is that Emergency Spending and use of Expedited Procedures by our Council are unusually high compared to other counties – reflecting a lack of fiscal discipline and general disorganization. That’s something I can absolutely help rectify. My work supporting government contracts as a Senior Consultant means that I know the procurement process inside out. I can keep the Council efficient and responsible.
I learned that our small business leaders do not feel connected with the local, County, and State governments to which they are responsible – a symptom of a lack of communication that I heard about from constituents on every level. “We’re not brought to the table,” “Wait – I didn’t know there WAS a table,” were common refrains. That’s not great. The County Council must be connected and engaged with its constituents in order to effectively legislate on their behalf. I can facilitate those lines of communication and offer practical solutions – I’ve got extensive experience problem-solving for organizations of all sizes. I’ve heard a lot about forms – their duplicative nature between government offices, how they’re confusing, that it’s not clear what’s owed to whom when. But no one has said “hey here’s how to solve that.” Maybe they don’t know. Here’s a start – coordinate and look into setting up a single, consolidated form that feeds a database (XML/MongoDB/MySQL/JSON/etc) that will distribute the proper information to each party who needs it.
I heard a lot about echo chambers and the frustrations that people have with things continuing down the same path. It’s obvious that Montgomery County politics have fallen into a state of disrepair. Why is that? Because of a lack of diversity in thought. Challenges are approached the same way, over and over again – which clearly isn’t leading to different results. I can look at things with fresh eyes from a different angle. I’m repeatedly brought it in to evaluate and critique operational procedures, discover patterns, and streamline responses to avoid problematic downfalls. Let me put my brain to work for you.
I’m uniquely qualified to get involved with local politics. I am not a career politician. I have not grown through the ranks of a failing system. But I know it, and its proper function. I have my JD, my LLM in Government Policy, and I’ve worked hand-in-hand with government operations throughout my career. I am a true moderate – I believe in fiscal conservatism that works to do the absolute most good with our taxpayer’s dollars. And I believe that the most good requires social responsibility and the support of those most in need. I do not have a record of towing a party line for the sake of saving party face.
District 6 has a diverse, exciting population. Our communities along transportation routes are going to benefit hugely from MoCo’s agreement with the Council of Governments to build 40K+ new homes in Montgomery County. I have been a loud advocate of making sure that the plans to see those homes built have a few simple things that all good plans need: clear goals and definitions of success to which everyone can be held accountable, protections for our most vulnerable, and a reflection of responsible stewardship of our environment. Those inclusions do not have to be long, drawn-out battles.
Talk to me. Ask me about the things that concern you. I am open, and honest, and will answer as I would representing you on the Council. This is not just the next career move for me, or a feather in my hat. I’m running because if I didn’t – no one would. And what a waste of a platform to elevate the conversation and advocate for better practices.
What is District 6?
New boundaries for County Council were established in December 2021. Make sure to check out your District as it might have changed – we went from five (5) Districts to seven (7). Find out more here!
Viet Doan is running for the new Local District 6 in the Montgomery County Council. He is a first-generation Vietnamese American and he is running as a Republican candidate.
Viet was born and raised in Houston, Texas by Vietnamese war immigrants. He became the first Vietnamese high school student to go to TX debate nationals.
Viet graduated from the University of Dallas with a BA in Politics and a Minor in International Law. He later received his JD at Ave Maria University in Florida. He has always been interested in politics and worked at the immigration clinic to support women fleeing terrorism and violence in their home countries and also campaigned for Marco Rubio.
After getting married to his wife Jane-Margaret, the Doans moved to Washington, D.C. where Viet worked for Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. During that time, he received his LLM at American University in Law and Government. He then transferred to the private sector and is now working at Deloitte, managing a portfolio spanning Federal, State, Local, and Higher education clients.
Viet lives in Rockville, MD with his wife Jane-Margaret, their son Xander and their adorable rescue dog Mamma Mia. In their spare time the family hikes, gardens, cooks, and explores their local community. Viet volunteers with the local rescue group Knine Rescue, and you can often find the Doans fostering or dog-sitting pups in their home.
Thrive 2050/Thrive Montgomery
While Montgomery County is already committed to meeting regional housing targets adopted by the Council of Governments in September 2019 (pre-Covid), the plan put together to honor that commitment has been rushed through without proper study or community input. Its goals may be admirable, but the concerns raised by citizens have not been sufficiently answered. It is important that our County leaders listen to their constituents. Some suggestions for improving Thrive that Viet supports include:
• Don’t rush into things for the sake of “doing something.” Bear the Fiscal Impact Statement in mind that notes that property taxes will increase, and truly understand how the plan will create well-paying jobs.
• Make sure that changes in land use reflect local conditions and the wishes of the existing communities. There should be master and sector plans for each area, not one overarching plan that doesn’t reflect the diversity of our neighborhoods.
• There needs to be confirmed room for growth in our schools, plans for senior citizens who want to downsize and stay in their communities, and a consideration of local infrastructure like parking and sewer usage. We should make sure that housing compatibility is enforced so that ZTAs don’t threaten the integrity of our neighborhoods.
• Increase transparency and ensure FIS Statements and OLO plans are produced for each sector so that development is effective and the goalposts don’t move. This means that each community should have its due consideration in how Thrive will apply to it, vs. being part of a blanket plan that does not bear its uniqueness in mind.
• Commit to non-waivable environmental protections that will keep our communities safe, such as tree canopy, effective stormwater management requirements, and limits on impermeable surfaces. Backing down from our commitment to these in the past has created issues for our neighborhoods like flooding, sewer issues, and more.