By Howard R. Fletcher, Jr.
Joel Rubin, a member of the Town Council of Chevy Chase, will be joining five other non-incumbents in the race for the Democratic nomination for Maryland state delegate in District 18.
“We have a real opportunity to take our country back and make government work for the people,” said Rubin, 46, during a telephone interview on Thursday. “You have to be all in to do that and that means overextending ourselves and doing things we wouldn’t ordinarily do in a normal time.”
Maryland District 18 extends from Bethesda through Chevy Chase to Silver Spring and includes Garrett Park and Kensington, as well as portions of Rockville and Wheaton.
Rubin worked as a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration before resigning in the fall of 2015 to make an unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Democratic nomination for Maryland’s 8th District congressional seat.
He was elected last May to his current position as a Town of Chevy Chase councilperson.
“I’ve been fortunate in my career to be able to work in public policy and politics,” said Rubin. “This is an existential moment for our country, and we’re all responsible for our government’s direction.
“Giving back through public service is something I’ve done my whole career, from my time in the Peace Corps to the non-profit world, from working in federal government to running for office, and now being on the town council. All of that is a big part of who I am. I feel a call to serve.”
Rubin spent nearly a decade at the State Department, culminating with his role as deputy assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, in which he was responsible for a connection between the State Department and the U.S. House of Representatives.
After the congressional primary in 2016, Rubin started a foreign policy advisory and consulting business. He also made frequent appearances on MSNBC to discuss foreign policy and national security issues.
Rubin teaches at the Washington, D.C., branch of the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon Graduate School of Public Policy, where he earned a master’s degree in public policy and management before working for the federal government.
“In Maryland, we’ve got solution makers and we’ve got a state government that has a lot of strength. But we have a multitude of challenges coming from the federal level, a lot of challenges coming from the governor’s office and we have a great number of challenges in terms of the issues of the day right here in District 18.
“These issues will require multilevel solutions: state, local, and federal. I’m bringing my background, that wonk-ish background, into that discussion because we need to make sure that our government is firing on all cylinders.”
Rubin is the fifth non-incumbent District 18 resident to declare as a candidate for two open seats in next June’s primary election.
“We’ll hear a lot of candidates with progressive ideas,” Rubin said of the competitive field Democrats. “Many of us will have similar stances on the issues. What we need is solution-making and that is what I do well. I solve problems.
“There is a sense out there now that we all have to be rowing in the same direction to get our country back,” added Rubin. “Winning elections, like we did on Tuesday in Virginia, New Jersey and other states is one part, but governing is another important part. And, I know we can do that better.
“I give a lot of credit to Kathleen Matthews, Jamie Raskin and the Democratic party for the work they did in Frederick and Annapolis and their engagement with communities that felt excluded from the political process. There is a momentum out there, but we only capture it if we achieve real results.”
Rubin is planning a formal campaign kickoff in early to mid-January.
The closed primary election will be held on June 26, 2018, and the general election will be held on November 6, 2018. The candidate filing deadline is February 27, 2018.