Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ike Leggett Speaks With Just Up The Pike

The third stop on Just Up The Pike's "County Government Head-to-Head Tour."

"My life has been a constant source of difficulty," then-County Council President Ike Leggett said in 1993. One of eleven children, paying his way through school as a groundskeeper, fighting in Vietnam - he has had his share of hardship. Around the same time he had quadruple heart-bypass surgery in 1992, an aide accused him of forcing her to become his "sex slave," and the resulting sex scandal made national headlines and threatened to destroy his career. (The case was dismissed, of course, and all of the allegations against Leggett were declared false.)

It's not surprising that Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett looks incredibly tired even at busy events like last month's town hall meeting with Martin O'Malley. Yet for all his struggles, he's remained a very popular candidate.

"I was one of the top vote-getters in Montgomery County for a long time," he explains. "If you look at every election over the past sixteen years . . . I was probably the person favored to win. At no point in time was [Steve Silverman] ever ahead."

Leggett told me this because I'd had the gall to tell him that "if it weren't for NeighborsPAC and the Teachers' Union, you wouldn't have been elected." He and his special assistant, Jennifer Hughes, look at each other, and then at me. "Ike wasn't endorsed by the Teachers' Union," Hughes says. (They didn't, but they didn't endorse Steve Silverman, either.)

For the past several months, I've made a name for myself as an ardent Ike Leggett critic through a series of awkward but fiery exchanges. Like most of the County government, it seems, Leggett reads Just Up The Pike, and he wasn't happy with what he read. "All I ask is that you get my real opinion," he said. "If you want to write something and you need my opinion, e-mail me. Just make sure you get my real opinion."

So these are Ike Leggett's real opinions, recorded at the Executive Office Building in Rockville and hopefully put forth in the most direct and honest manner possible.

CONTINUED at Just Up The Pike . . .



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