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Isiah “Ike” Leggett

County Executive (Ret.)
Montgomery County Government

The seventh of 13 children born to the late Mason and Mary Leggett in Alexandria, Louisianna, Isiah “Ike” Leggett lived in a small, four-bedroom home where dinner was not always on the table. He attended Southern University in Baton Rogue after pleading his way into a maintenance crew position where he picked up trash and cut grass on campus to pay for school.

Leggett would become student body president and brigade commander for the university’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) unit. During the Vietnam War, he served as a U.S. Army Infantry captain earning several honors including a Bronze Star.

Upon his honorable discharge, he earned a master’s degree and Juris Doctor from Howard University and a Master of Laws degree from George Washington University.

Under President Jimmy Carter’s administration, he was selected for the prestigious White House Fellows program.

For more than 30 years, he taught at Howard and served as an assistant dean from 1979 to 1986.

He began participating in politics in the mid-1980s including forming a group to encourage minorities to run for office. Through the group’s urging, he ran for and was elected to the Montgomery County Council from 1986 to 2002 including serving as board president three times.

Leggett decided to run for county executive after serving for two years as the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party. In 2006, he won the top spot with more than 65% of the vote and became the first African American to hold the position.

Known for his fiscal responsibility, push for technology modernization and desire to provide critical services to vulnerable populations, he was elected to the position two more times before retiring in 2018.

Active in several professional, civic and community organizations over the years, Leggett campaigned last year against two county ballot questions focusing on property tax limits and the structure of the county council.

Known for his fiscal responsibility, push for technology modernization and desire to provide critical services to vulnerable populations, he was elected … two more times.

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's Icon Honors awards.

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