Erin Donaghue is a native New Englander and a resident of downtown Bethesda. She graduated from Emerson College in 2004 with a bachelor's in writing, literature and publishing and from American University in 2007 with a master's degree in journalism. She first caught the writing bug at 11, when she won a short story contest for American Girl Magazine. Since then, her work has appeared in Boston's Weekly Dig, The Gazette, The Washington Post and USA Today. She's been covering Montgomery County for three years as a local news reporter and is looking forward to tackling online journalism and delving into the issues in Bethesda with Patch. Her role model is girl reporter extraordinaire April O'Neil from the classic 1990s cartoon "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
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▪ How would you describe your political beliefs?
I'm not registered with a political party but I'm left-leaning in most of my thinking. I consider myself open-minded and am always willing to look at all sides of an issue.
▪ How religious would you say you are? Casual, observant, devout, non-religious?
I come from a Catholic background, but religion doesn't play a role in my life.
Local Hot Button Issues
▪ What do you think are the most important issues facing the community?
To name just a few, education is always huge in this county. We're dealing with overcrowding issues in the B-CC cluster, as neighborhoods turn over and more families are attracted to Bethesda for its vibrant cultural opportunities, excellent public school system and proximity to the Metro. Traffic congestion is a way of life here, and the quality of our public transportation system is another hot-button issue as officials try to urge residents out of their cars. And the relocation of a portion of Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the National Naval Medical Center in 2011 is something that will affect everyone who lives or works in Bethesda.
▪ Where do you stand on each of these issues?
Though overcrowding does affect education, I think MCPS is doing a great job not only trying to work through the overcrowding issues but engaging stakeholders in planning for modernizations and boundary changes. I'm a big supporter of making investments in our public transportation infrastructure, and yes, I support the Purple Line. And in the heat of BRAC, I don't think we should lose sight of what a great honor it is for Bethesda to be home to a state-of-the-art facility treating our wounded warriors. That said, we're not ready for the kind of congestion that this move will bring, and I will be keeping a close eye on this issue as the move nears.