Statement of Deborah A. Vollmer


Candidate for Town Council, Town of Chevy Chase


            I am Deborah A. Vollmer, a candidate for the Town council, for the Town of Chevy Chase.  I was born on January 15, 1948, and grew up with my parents and my older sister, Susan, in the house I still call home. My father, Erwin Vollmer, an endocrinologist working at Naval Medical and then at NIH, was an early advocate for the inclusion of our neighborhood in the Town.  My mother was an artist, Aline Fruhauf Vollmer.  As a child, I attended Chevy Chase Elementary School, Leland Junior High School, and B-CC. 


            After graduating from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1966, I attended and graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in Government, which I received in 1970.  Then I attended the University of Maryland School of Law, obtaining my J.D. in 1973.  Then I moved to California, where I worked as an attorney for the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO.  After that I worked for a legal aid office in Bakersfield, California, and after that I went into sole practice which consisted primarily of court appointed criminal cases, representing low-income clients.


            In 1997, I moved back to my childhood home, to stay with my father who passed away in 2004, at the age of 98.  I have continued to live in our family home.  I have been active working on issues concerning peace and social justice.  I am also a Board member of the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Coalition.  I have testified numerous times at various hearings in support of preserving the Georgetown Branch, Capital Crescent Trail, and in opposition to putting a light rail train on the surface of the Trail. Our Trail is a linear park with precious trees and greenspace, an oasis that we desperately need to hold on to, as Bethesda continues to become more and more developed.


            I have recently had the experience of having the house next door to mine sold to new owners who seek to have that house (built in 1928, and well-maintained over the years) torn down and replaced with a huge new structure.  This ongoing battle has brought home to me that our current building ordinance is not adequate to protect residents from the negative environmental impacts of teardowns and new construction.  I have some specific suggestions for strengthening the building code, and I look forward to sharing these ideas with Town residents.


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