Phyllis Marcuccio, Rockville Mayor, steps down

Election day is bittersweet for one local leader. After serving two terms, Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio is stepping down at the age of 80.

City councilmembers Bridget Newton and Mark Pierzchala are now vying for the open seat.

"You never know what's going to happen to you in life," said Marcuccio.

But she knew Rockville was a special place when her family moved there in 1942. After 34 years with the National Science Teachers Association, she became actively involved with her community, never expecting to get into politics.

From the civic association to a city council seat, she eventually made her way up to being the Mayor of Rockville four years ago -- a position she held for two terms.

She proudly said she brought neighboring jurisdictions and other stakeholders together by starting a dialogue.

"[School Superintendent] Dr. Weast at the time, he looked at me and said, 'You're not going to believe this, but this is the first time anybody from Rockville has ever testified on our behalf," said Marcuccio.

While showing no sign of slowing down, she's closing one chapter of her life Tuesday.

"I turned 80 in August. Now everybody's going to think I'm an old lady and they won't do what I want them to do. So I decided it's time for some younger folks," said Marcuccio

And not running for re-election opened the door for Pierzchala and Newton.

"I'd like to continue the work that we've been doing to keep Rockville's small town feel while we grow modestly," said Newton.

"The regional economy is changing, it's becoming less dependent on the federal government and I think Rockville should be in the lead of that, becoming more private based," said Pierzchala.

Both candidates raised families in the city and worked with Marcuccio.

"It's big shoes to fill and she's done a wonderful job, bringing the city back," said Newton.

"She is a tough lady and physically I think she could have gone for another term," said Pierzchala.

The last official day for Marcuccio in office is November 17. She says after some time off, she hopes to continue working on bringing a science center to Rockville.