Councilmember Ryan Spiegel has served on the Gaithersburg City Council since 2007. Ryan has worked with colleagues and constituents to maintain and expand Gaithersburg’s position as a leader in economic development, smart transit-oriented growth, “green” building standards, modernization and improved communication, rich arts and cultural programs, and robust services for the most vulnerable in our community.
His innovative, consensus-building approach to governance has fostered such programs as Bank on Gaithersburg, and Ryan’s leadership throughout the region has ensured a strong voice for the best interests of the City and its residents and businesses. He serves on the environmental committee of the Council of Governments and the transportation committee of the National League of Cities. Ryan also actively advocates for important priorities in Annapolis, serving on the executive board of the county chapter of the Maryland Municipal League. In 2009, the influential Maryland Politics Watch blog named Ryan one of the top ten “Young Guns” of Montgomery County politics.
Although he has tackled many different issues throughout his tenure on the City Council, Ryan is particularly proud of his signature initiative, Bank on Gaithersburg, which promotes financial stability for families while also boosting the local economy and reducing the strain on government. Ryan also took an active role in rewriting the City’s outdated ethics and elections laws to make them fairer, and has pushed for more transparency in government. He has consistently supported smart economic growth that has kept Gaithersburg out in front of the pack during the gradual economic recovery, while still asking the tough questions to ensure that concerns about the environment, traffic, costs, and quality of life are addressed by commercial and residential developers. As a commuter who rides Metrorail everyday, Ryan has been an outspoken advocate for transit solutions like the CCT.
Ryan was a leading voice in demanding better service from Pepco and in resolving the Great Seneca Science Corridor Masterplan. Always conscious of the less fortunate, Ryan has also led the charge to maintain safety net services in these tough times and to protect affordable housing set-asides. When it comes to public safety, Ryan has worked to ensure that our police department was staffed at its full capacity, increasing its size by 20% since he took office. The new online Citizen Information in Traffic Enforcement (CITE) system was Ryan’s idea. Working to improve our retail cores, Ryan urged the creation of the Kentlands Downtown Partnership and obtained better signage, and successfully advocated for the creation and expansion of the City’s Enterprise Zone in Olde Towne.
Married to an artist, Ryan can be found at many of the City’s cultural celebrations throughout the year. Even when times were tough and belts needed to be tightened, Ryan supported creative solutions to keep the arts thriving in the City, because that is a fundamental ingredient of our great quality of life in Gaithersburg. Ryan strives to lead by example, foregoing expensive conferences and conventions to save taxpayer dollars and responding to constituents with thoughtful, prompt, and action-oriented answers. Ryan hopes to continue this legacy of fiscal responsibility, environmental stewardship, government reform, and constituent services that he has established in his first term on the City Council.
In addition to serving on the City Council, Ryan is also an attorney in private practice at Winston & Strawn LLP in Washington, D.C., where he spends hundreds of hours doing pro bono work on a variety of cases ranging from death penalty appeals, to protecting tenants from wrongful eviction, to seeking asylum for those who are persecuted for their political beliefs. He has supported dozens of non-profit groups including the USO, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the American Cancer Society, the NAACP, and the American Constitution Society, to name a few. Ryan’s columns and letters on important national and local issues have appeared in the Washington Post, the Gazette, and other publications.
Before joining the City Council, Ryan was Chair of the Victim Services Advisory Board of Montgomery County, a commission that advocates for improved services for victims of crime, particularly victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Ryan also served on the Gaithersburg Education Committee, reflecting his strong commitment to our schools and our students. He has been very active in many local and national political campaigns, with a focus on organizing voter protection efforts. The son of a public school teacher and a small business owner, Ryan attended the University of Maryland College Park as a Banneker-Key Scholar in the Honors Program, and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in journalism. The University presented him with the prestigious H.C. Byrd Citizenship Award for being the most outstanding male student in his graduating class. Ryan went on to Stanford Law School, where he was co-president of the Stanford Law & Policy Review and a recipient of the Lawrason Driscoll moot court award.
Born and raised in Maryland, Ryan lives in the Washingtonian Woods neighborhood of Gaithersburg with his beautiful, talented, and patient wife Rachael — a professional photographer — their son Jack, born in December 2010, and their dog Ollie. They are active members of Shaare Torah congregation.