Everything you need to know about this year’s SMOB election

From+left+to+right%3A+Candidates+Henry+Kaye+and+Hana+O%27Looney.+

Photos courtesy of Montgomery County Regional Special Elections Committee.

From left to right: Candidates Henry Kaye and Hana O’Looney.

All secondary students (grades 6 – 12) will have the opportunity to vote in this year’s SMOB election during their English or ESOL classes on Apr. 22 and 23. Students will get to choose one of two candidates: Hana O’Looney or Henry Kaye, both juniors at Richard Montgomery.

On Apr. 6, students received a mass email from the county’s Director of Student Leadership and Extracurricular Activities, Shella Cherry, with information about both candidates’ platforms and the voting process. “I encourage you to review the material in this email to learn about each candidate and to become an informed voter,” Cherry said.

Students later received a follow-up email on Apr. 19 with a preview of the election ballot and a list of steps for voting. Come Apr. 22 and 23, depending on which day students have their English periods, time will be taken out of normal instruction for students to view their ballots and submit their votes. 

The county Special Elections Committee put together its annual SMOB voters guide for students to review to better understand the platforms and passions of this year’s candidates. 

I feel that the school board has become disconnected from THE STUDENTS, even though its sole responsibility is to represent them. I am running to change this.”

— Henry Kaye

Candidate Kaye, a school athlete, small business owner, and Eagle Scout, believes the Board of Education does not represent students at the level it should. “I understand it is fundamentally difficult to join or participate in student advocacy. Many students are underrepresented because of these challenges. I feel that the school board has become disconnected from THE STUDENTS, even though its sole responsibility is to represent them. I am running to change this,” Kaye said. 

If elected, three of Kaye’s plans are to ensure all students have an avenue for advocacy in order to bring needed change, to implement more diverse counseling services in schools, and to give all students the opportunity to partake in quality school athletics.

All of us have been asked to make many sacrifices that we weren’t ever ready for this year, but our strength and unity through the toughest of times has proved the power of the student voice.”

— Hana O'Looney

Candidate O’Looney, vice president of the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association (MCR-SGA) and chair of MoCo EmpowHER, seeks to utilize the power of the student voice to inspire change to the school system. “That’s why I’m running to be your next SMOB. All of us have been asked to make many sacrifices that we weren’t ever ready for this year, but our strength and unity through the toughest of times has proved the power of the student voice,” O’Looney said. 

If elected, three of O’Looney’s plans are to support students’ physical and mental health throughout reopening, diversify county staff and school curriculum, and to visit every school at least once per semester to ensure students have a direct line of contact with her.

Throughout the campaign period, students have had different opportunities to speak with the candidates, ask them questions about their platforms, or to voice concerns about county-level issues like the county’s school resource officer (SRO) program. 

While the candidates met with student government representatives from middle and high schools throughout the county, different student groups like the Wootton  Activists Club and Gaithersburg4Change also hosted webinars open to all students where the candidates discussed their plans and policies and answered student questions.

For more information about the candidates and their platforms, students can view the SMOB voters guide, or view the county’s official Meet the Candidates video.