My goal is to be open, honest and effect positive change in Frederick County Government. I am running with the intent to serve the citizens by being a responsible representative. If elected, I will be working for the citizens.
My primary focus is the management of responsible growth. Growth is inevitable. We may like Frederick County just the way it is, but growth will continue and will affect all aspects of life in our County. We need to prepare for this growth and stay ahead in planning for it. The “Livable Frederick Master Plan” now in process is an outline and starting point for how the County should view and manage future growth. (This Plan is a continuation/update of the 2012 Comprehensive Plan.)
The public has a right to expect Frederick County to provide adequate roads, good schools with quality education, and emergency services county wide. These are basic services that we all should expect. Growth has had and will continue to influence how the County provides these services.
“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction,
is the first and only object of good government” – Thomas Jefferson
Funding the County
Taxes are the primary funding source for all of the County services. Elected officials like to say that they will never raise taxes (be it local, county, state or federal). Government entities, including Frederick County, had added impact fees tied to new development within the County. When planning is done correctly, impact fees cover the expansion of services and minimize the need for additional revenue (taxes). When past administrations started waiving and eliminating many of these fees/taxes, a deficit resulted. Now some of the bills are coming due. Citizens pay more taxes or development is structured to include impact fees—we cannot eliminate both and expect to have managed growth.
Size of Government
How big should government be? This seems to always be a contentious issue, with many citizens feeling that government is too large and too fat. The truth is that the size of any government should be determined by the number and quality of services the government is providing to its citizens. We should shift the conversation to the services, and if there are services that are not needed and/or wanted, eliminate them.
Being fiscally responsible requires long range views. Our past County administration was planning only for the immediate future and eliminated positions and services. The size of County government was reduced—but the budget increased dramatically. Increasing the budget while reducing and/or eliminating increases to impact fees are directly related to many of our fiscal problems. Thankfully, our current County Executive started addressing these issues and has mitigated some of the problems. There is still long way to go.
Roads and infrastructure are already behind the curve in Frederick County with congestion becoming the norm rather than the exception. We need to collect data on the current situation AND plan for future needs concurrently—otherwise, we will always be playing “catch up”—and spending more money in the long term.
Public education needs are directly tied to growth—more people, more children, more schools. New schools are being built and plans for the future are in process, but we need to keep up with planning, as educational needs will always be a long term issue.
Police, Fire, and Ambulance services are part of the foundation of any government. The public can cope with crowded roads and temporary classroom buildings, but not having sufficient emergency services is not acceptable. That is why they are called EMERGENCY services.
Basic services must include environmental concerns, including clean water and waste treatment. We want to maintain clean air and clean water. Consideration must be given to energy sources. Where will our future energy come from? Management of our natural resources is an important element in any planning. Plans must be forward thinking to include issues of global warming.
We have significant agriculture and farming heritage issues in the County. We are the largest milk producing in the state of Maryland. Supporting the agriculture industry is not an option if we expect our county to remain rural. Not every farm can be a wedding venue or a winery. This is not just a Frederick County issue and must be addressed with State and Federal agencies. We all need to eat. Once farm land is gone, it is not coming back.
Frederick County has an aging population that will require additional resources, including housing, medical care, and public transportation. Taking care of our elderly reflects who we are as a community. Planning for this responsibility to provide our elderly with social services is imperative.
The Homeless and Less Fortunate
We are in many respects a wealthy county. Even with our wealth, we have a homeless population, including children. Turning our heads and avoiding contact does not address or solve the problems of the homeless and less fortunate. The cost of intervention to aid this population often costs less in the long run and is fiscally responsible.
Mental Health and Drug Use
Frederick County, not unlike other cities and counties, has an illegal drug use problem. How do we address this issue? Mental health issues are often interrelated with substance abuse, so do we address the issues separately or together? If we only focus on an immediate issue, we often fail to examine the underlying causes. Suicide, overdoses, and death from substance abuse are nationwide problems. In 2015, there were 44,190 suicide deaths in the U.S., which is 2.5 times the homicide rate. This past year, Frederick County had 40 overdose deaths.
Public Mistrust of Government
The public has a mistrust of government, the people who manage the government, and the media. Historically, Americans have always had a cautious view of government and government institutions. That cautious view is not a bad thing—it is the public’s responsibility to monitor what the government does. The government is supposed to work for the people. While we often hear complaints about the press, historically, it has been the free press that has reported problems/issues with government and government administrations. It is my intention to be a responsible representative and to earn the trust of the citizens.
The current rancor in politics at all levels is not just disturbing, it is poor behavior. Disagreeing with someone does not require one to be disagreeable. I would like to add some civility to the politics in Frederick County. Working together requires listening, and I will listen.
“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country” – Franklin D. Roosevelt