Sierra Club Denounces Katherine C. Gugulis’ Use of Racist Classist Language

Yesterday, the Washington Post published a letter from Gaithersburg resident Katherine C. Gugulis regarding Montgomery County’s proposed policy on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) that included racist and classist language. We've also learned just weeks ago on May 14, Ms Gugulis was appointed to Montgomery County’s “County Charter Review Commission (CRC)”.

Josh Tulkin, Sierra Club Maryland Chapter Director, offered this statement

“We condemn the harmful and hateful language that Ms. Gugulis used, and believe it does not reflect our county's values.  Ms. Gugulis’ letter includes harmful racial and economic stereotypes that have historically been used to keep our communities segregated.
To call her letter a dog-whistle is an understatement. Ms. Gugulis literally states that allowing ADUs to provide housing for “low-income residents is a slap in the face to those people who have worked hard to build a comfortable home and neighborhood.”  She argues that expanding housing for low-income families would turn Montgomery County “into a slum”.  
It is clear that Ms. Gugulis believes that Montgomery County is only for the wealthy and that our laws are there to protect her interests.  But these are not Montgomery County’s values.
This type of rhetoric should disqualify Ms. Gugulis from any leadership post in the county, and we urge the County Executive and County Council to reconsider her appointment to the Montgomery County Charter Review Commission.
  • This statement was corrected.  It originally stated that the appointment of Ms Gugulis was announced the morning the statement was issued, June 17th.  It had been updated to reflect new information.
  • Ms. Gugulis' nomination was submitted to the Montgomery County Council by County Executive Marc Elrich for consideration April 26, 2019 and approved by the Council (agenda item 3G) on April 30th. 


About the Sierra Club:

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit