Joe's a leader of action, building consensus, and getting things done. He's been involved in the city government since moving to Takoma Park. He's led efforts to improve routes to schools, bring additional city amenities, ensure accountable government, and encourage local officials to make Takoma Park a better place.

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  • Dog Park:  Led the effort to create the first ever Takoma Dog Park.  Three other efforts prior to Joe creating TakomaDogs failed, but Joe's work raising citizen support for the park succeeded, with the dog park finally opening after nearly five years of effort.
  • Safe Roadways:  Chaired the Takoma Park Safe Roadways Committee, an official city committee devoted to advising the City Council on transportation-related issues including, but not limited to, pedestrian, bicycle, safety, traffic, and transit. Joe pushed the City Council to create the new committee so that city residents could have safer streets. Each committee report passed with unanimous committee-member support
  • Environment:  Co-chaired the Task Force on Environmental Action, an official city committee with the purpose of advising the City Council and city staff about environmental issues and solutions to solve environmental challenges. Passed committee recommendations with unanimous committee-member support. Joe's a tireless advocate for environmental improvement.
  • City Council Compensation:  A member of the Council Compensation Committee looking at the appropriateness of the City Council's current salary structure. The committee report was unanimously adopted.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging:  Led the push to encourage Takoma Park to install electric vehicle charging stations, ultimately culminating in sixteen new electric vehicle charging stations.

Service is part of Joe's DNA. He contributes time or donations to many civic and non-profit efforts and causes. Some of those causes and efforts include:

  • Old Takoma Business Association
  • Friends of Sligo Creek
  • Washington Area Bicyclist Association
  • Martin Luther King Day of Service
  • TakomaDogs
  • Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
  • Public Radio
  • Dorthy's Woods Contributor
  • CASA
  • Montgomery Housing Partnership
  • Scouts for Equality

Civic & Nonprofit

Early Life

Joe grew up in a blue collar family in Oregon, learning the value of hard work picking strawberries with migrant farm workers during summer as a middle school student. His parents owned a small beauty salon, where he also worked as the janitor on weekends and did some landscaping for a friend of his father's. In high school, Joe worked in a vegetable cannery, sold cameras in a camera store, and shot photos for the local Keizertimes newspaper.

He spent his free time in the outdoors as a Boy Scout, achieving his Eagle Scout before graduating from high school.

Joe was one of the first of his family to attend college and the first to attend law school, splitting his higher education between government and science, ultimately graduating with a law degree from The Washington College of Law, in Washington, DC. His parents always emphasized the importance of education, despite his father having never graduated from high school and his mother being a hair stylist. He has immense respect for what his parents achieved from such humble roots. Without their love, focus, and assistance, Joe would not be where is today.

Joe lives in Ward 2 with his partner, Barbara Muhlbacher, their dog Cyrus, and their cat Gizmo.

They enjoy spending time in the outdoors hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing and other activities. Back in the City they enjoy local arts and culture and Takoma Park restaurants.


    When it comes to interesting jobs, Joe’s had them! News photographer, food packer in a vegetable cannery, farm worker picking strawberries, photographer, door-to-door book seller, and managing editor for a monthly news magazine. But he traded that all in for attorney life in 1992.

    In his legal career he's served as a military prosecutor and defense counsel, Special Assistant United States Attorney, attorney for Indian tribes, and Indian law attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and now serves as the Senior Vice President for the National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 280, at the U.S. EPA, which represents EPA headquarters professionals.

    He's also spent time on Capitol Hill as a Brookings Legis Fellow in the office of former Congressman Jim Moran, assisting with a myriad of issues including, but not limited to environment, natural resources, space, and military issues.