Local, state and federal elected officials, along with the area's top business and civic leaders, marked COG's 50th anniversary last night with a special tribute to the organization's many programs and policies that have helped shape the National Capital Region.
Some 500 leaders gathered at the Mellon Auditorium for COG's 50th Anniversary Gala, where COG members and special guests commemorated COG's success at uniting officials on regional issues. Over the past half century, COG has encouraged local officials to look beyond their jurisdictions at the bigger, regional picture on issues like transportation, the environment, human services, public safety and homeland security.
"This is a marvelous organization that has made a difference in so many ways during the past 50 years," said Carol Schwartz, District of Columbia Council Member At Large and 50th Anniversary Committee Chair. "We are a family of more than 250 public officials, and many business and civic leaders, representing almost five million people in the National Capital Region. This family shares common values and doesn’t let boundaries and barriers prevent us from doing what is best for the region we love and the communities we serve."
Specials guests included Tim Kaine, Virginia Governor; James Moran, U.S. Congressman, Vincent Gray; Council of the District of Columbia Chair and COG Board Chair; Parris Glendening, Former Maryland Governor; Gerry Connolly, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman; and Paul Ferguson, Arlington County Board Chairman.
Also during the gala, COG honored Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette for his leadership and dedication to regionalism. Fisette received COG’s 2007 Elizabeth and David Scull Award for his efforts to advance long term growth and transportation solutions that include greater private and civic involvement. Takoma Park former Mayor Kathy Porter was honored with a special award for her remarkable career in public service, including leadership of several COG committees on issues such as transportation programs for people with disabilities. The Alice Ferguson Foundation received COG’s Regional Partnership Award for its dedication to cleaning the region's waterways.
COG membership elected corporate officers for leadership in 2008. Redella S. Pepper, City of Alexandria Council Member, was elected President. Adrian Fenty, D.C. Mayor, and Alan Imhoff, City of Frederick Alderman, will serve as Vice Presidents. Judith Davis, City of Greenbelt Mayor, will serve as Secretary-Treasurer.
Over the years, COG has developed successful programs that address affordable housing, development, homelessness, foster care, air and water quality, transportation plans, pedestrian safety, and public health. As the region faces continuing growth, COG and its leaders have championed dedicated funding for Metro, transit-oriented development and commuting options like bicycling to work, telecommuting and carpooling. The organization also paved the way in developing a homeland security plan for the region.
50th Anniversary Chair and District Councilmember Carol Schwartz, U.S. Congressman James Moran and COG Executive Director David Robertson
COG Chair and District Council Chairman Vincent Gray
2007 Scull Award Winner & Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette
COG Executive Director David Robertson and Takoma Park Mayor Kathy Porter