Open Government

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The charter government, beginning in 2014, instituted a new system of governance in Frederick. The concept has a lot of potential, but there are serious challenges. I’m a fan of having council districts with defined constituencies. This should result in better representation of our communities in Frederick. However, our current system suffers from some serious deficiencies. Like any new system of governance, we need to look at how to improve these institutions for the future.

Within the current system, the County Executive is too strong. This criticism has nothing to do with the party in power. However, to ensure truly responsive and representative government for communities like Brunswick, Jefferson and Middletown, we need a stronger County Council: one that can be a check against the executive, provide constituent services and truly engage in the budget as an equal power center.

Instead, our Council tends to be too dominated by the Executive. Too often, the Council has served as merely a rubber stamp for the Executive’s agenda.  The result has been constant annual spending hikes with tax increases to boot.

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With a new council in place, following the 2018 elections, we have the opportunity to amend the charter, adjust practices and improve how the government operates. According to Article 7 of the Charter (and Article XI-A of the Maryland Constitution), there are mechanisms in place to do so.

If elected, I will advocate for serious reform of the Charter to ensure we’re providing the best results for our citizens. Some of these are suggestions for Charter reform, others can be done through improved operations.

  • We need a Council that can engage in the budget by voting on changes to budgetary line items and increase funding, if necessary.
  • Council members should be active in constituent relations as advocates for their communities.
  • Moreover, we need to find ways to encourage citizens to engage in government through participatory approaches and transparent practices. Let’s bring citizens to local government and local government to the citizens.
  • Citizens should be able to easily track the results of government projects so they can see not only where their tax dollars are being sent, but also if those tax dollars are producing results.
  • Policymaking requires a multi-stakeholder approach, including citizens, community leaders, civic groups, business leaders and industry experts, to create a long-term strategy to smart growth in our county.
  • And maybe most importantly, we need to cut the partisanship and posturing that has poisoned our national politics and is corrupting even local governance here in Frederick.

Of course, there are more steps that can be taken. I’ve written this not to be a product of political artillery, but rather as a part of a conversation. Only by working together can we foster opportunities and build a better path forward for the people of Frederick.

 

 

Open for Business

cove smart g2Frederick needs to be fertile ground for business so we can provide jobs
and higher wages to the working people of the county. Small business is the engine that drives prosperity and job growth in Frederick. These are our innovators – our dreamers. We need to unleash the potential of business in the county

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The Council can work to make sure the environment allows for businesses to prosper. We need a strategic approach to support businesses in Frederick in a way that provides opportunities for all income levels. The County government should make sure that regulations have the least negative impact on our businesses as possible. We need to make Frederick a hub that draws businesses here from competing counties and helps our innovators pursue their dreams. Where businesses stake their ground, jobs will come, cities like Brunswick will be revitalized and opportunities will grow for everybody. I will fight to make sure that Frederick remains open for business.

 

Smart Growth

Frederick should be a community where regulations are limited, taxes are low and infrastructure exists that can foster business use and population growth. Let’s bring Frederick into the future in a smart way – one that does not infringe on private rights and civil liberties, but provides opportunities for the people of Frederick to raise their wages and industry to grow. Policy is best when it lets people pursue their dreams as they see fit. The Council should help Frederick’s most important institutions, such as families and businesses, by providing the seeds of opportunity or get out of the way.

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The county government should make sure that regulations have the least negative impact on our businesses as possible. Rather policies should provide opportunities and spur growth. The Council needs to take advantage of opportunities as they come in an efficient, timely and smart approach. That is smart growth. We need to make Frederick a hub that draws businesses here from competing counties. Where businesses stake their ground, jobs will come. I will fight to make sure that Frederick remains open for business.

At the same time, we need to make sure growth is rationale and still preserves the institutions that make Frederick great. We need to ensure that, as Frederick grows, the little guy isn’t trampled on for the benefit of big businesses or big government. There is a balance, and that’s smart growth.

 

 

Smart Taxes

The people of Frederick County have enough costs weighing them down. These costs hit the families and businesses of our County the hardest though they are the engine of prosperity in the county. One of my central principles is that I want to keep government out of our wallets as much as possible. The people of Frederick County know how best to spend their own money.

 

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In order to manage the rising costs bombarding Frederick’s citizens, folks need as much as their well-earned money as they can get.  Each of the past three years of the County Council has approved tax increases on taxpayers. This has especially hit Frederick’s working and middle class families. The Council must do everything in its power to ensure that taxes are either lowered or remain a neutral for the citizens of this County.

 

 

 

Smart Education

Frederick’s next generation is our most cherished responsibility. Education needs to be the priority of local government in this county. Our education system must focus on building up our students so they can be the best they can be. Our education cannot be bogged down in other priorities.

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More bureaucracy is not the answer to educating our students. Too often schools are flushed with cash without producing suitable results for all our students. Frederick’s teachers need to be trained and compensated in a way that is competitive with our neighbors. After all research shows that more important than any other factor, a child’s development after their family is their teachers.

We need an all-of-the-above education system that seeks to prepare Frederick’s students to enter the workforce. I will look to work with our School Board to find ways to make sure Frederick’s schools are the best in the state. Whether in public, charter or home schools, students in Frederick need to be prepared for the diversity of challenges and opportunities in life.

Frederick must be open to alternative approaches to education and policy that strengthen our children from K-12. Our schools cannot be made solely for mass production. School choice is an important arrow in our quiver, but we also have to take a fresh look at how we’re executing private education to ensure we’re helping our students be the best they can be. The more we fail, the more children will slip through the cracks.

In addition, Frederick Community College and other vocational schools need to be strengthened to ensure that students have access to affordable and quality technical education.