My name is Graciela Rivera-Oven, but my friends call me "Gracie". I was raised in the great city of Gaithersburg, under the six pillars of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. I believe in every one of these pillars, and I live them in my daily life. More than ever, we need to go back to such basic qualities, especially in politics.
I graduated from Gaithersburg High School and received a Bachelor's degree from Hood College. I also decided to raise my family in Montgomery County because I believe we reside in a wonderful County. I have a public relations company, but I have also worked with the court systems, including the State's Attorney's office. For several years, I ran a program for high-risk youth with the City of Gaithersburg.
My mom has been the most important role model in my life, and she continues to be my biggest cheerleader. My husband of 25 years, Mark, and I have raised our three children, Amalia, Marko, and Christian, in Montgomery County, where they have attended MCPS schools and been involved in the community.
I have been very active in our County, serving as a member on the Board of Elections as well as many other boards and committees. I have advocated for many issues, especially education, health access, and civil rights. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, I paired up with Lynn Arndt, the director of the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, to start the Upcounty Hub, a distribution organization of food and other essentials to families mainly in Upper Montgomery County. Through its incredible partners and staff, the Hub feeds approximately 1,200 families every week through home deliveries, drive-thru distributions, and donations as well as providing access to COVID testing and vaccinations, social work, and other resources.
I'm one of the many women around the country who have heard the call to engage in politics and serve our communities. My Bolivian roots have established the foundation of community advocacy, particularly for my Latino community. I believe our County is at a crossroads, and I assure you I will be a public servant who will listen to the people and, most importantly, engage with them. I humbly ask for your vote, promising that I will do everything in my power to ensure your values are well represented on the Board of Education.