Tomorrow is Primary Day. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Willie J. Mahone, President of the the Frederick County Branch of the NAACP, recognizes the important role every voter plays in the election process. "It's important for all of us to understand the impact we can have on local politics if we exercise our right to vote. While we do not endorse one candidate over another, we feel that it's important voters are aware of key issues in this upcoming primary that may influence their choices." 

The Government and Political Affairs Committee of the Frederick Branch recently prepared a list of questions, listed below, for the candidates running for the Board of Education and the County Council.

Although several requests have been made, there has been no information regarding the participation of ethnic minorities and women in contracting by the Frederick County government. Do you think that such information is important and what actions would you take to actively support the involvement of ethnic minorities and women in Frederick County contracting.

All decisions regarding requests for proposals and the awarding of contracts are made by the County Executive and his/her staff. Section 402(f) states, "The duties and responsibilities of the Executive shall include signing or causing to be signed on the County's behalf all deeds, contracts, and other instruments.,, I support the County Executive's initiatives through the Office of Economic Development to develop a Minority Business Vision and the Future Minority Business Leaders Program.

The City of Frederick has agreed to eliminate "check the box" on applications for employment in city government. Would you support doing the same in Frederick County government?

I believe this question is referring to the elimination of "salary history" and "past criminal convictions" on the City of Frederick's employment applications. This is something that I would support looking into at the County

In other jurisdictions in the State of Maryland have statutes giving specific protections to women, ethnic minorities, and LGBT individuals. Would you support such legislation in Frederick County? 

Chapter 1-2-93 of our County Code states:
(A) Discrimination based upon race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, famllialstatus, or source of income is contrary to the public policy of Frederick County.
(B) Discrimination based upon the following is unlawful in Frederick County:
(1) Race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status or disability in employment, housing, or public accommodations,
(2) Familial status in housing or employment, and
(3) Source of income in housing . I believe that our anti-discrimination language should also include sexual orientation and gender identity have drafted legislation that would add these characteristics and have met with community activists, theHuman Relations Commission, and members of the Frederick Center to discuss this change. I would like tointroduce this legislation once I know there is a majority of support on the Council.

What will you do to facilitate involvement of ethnic minorities in the hotel/conference center construction and operation?

Ethnic minority involvement in hotel/conference center construction and operation:
I am assuming this refers to the proposed hotel and conference center in downtown Frederick. There is no role for the County Council in your request as the construction and operation of the project will be done by a private company on City property.

Government has a bad track record when it comes to investing in conference centers and hotels. In a June 7, 2017 article, the Baltimore Sun noted the Baltimore city owned Hilton Baltimore Convention Center had an accumulated deficit of nearly $85 million. The same financing model is being used for the hotel/conference development in Frederick. What will you do to protect County taxpayers from the burden of paying for this project?

County funding for hotel/conference center: County funds are not being used for construction of the downtown hotel/conference center nor will the County have any role in the operation of the facility.

With the passing of the gambling revenue bill in 2008, money was to be put in a lockbox for funding our schools, yet portable classrooms predominate every campus in the county. What would you do to ensure that revenue from gambling goes toward educating our children? 

Gambling revenue towards education: I support the legislation passed by the MD General Assembly that created a constitutional amendment to phase-in the requirement that all annual casino revenues be devoted to supplementing education revenues by 2022. This funding could not go towards funding formulas but would be above and beyond the regular educaticn buaget. The voters will vote on this amendment on November 6th . The Council cannot do anythinglegislatively on this matter in Frederick County.

Do you support a living wage and family leave for Frederick County? 

Living wage and family leave: I supporta living wage and paid family leave though I believe that these issues should be resolved at the state level. Resolving them county-by-county could put us at a competitive disadvantage to attracting employers and workers to our county. I am not, however, opposed to investigating them further at the County level.

Do you support funding universal pre-kindergarten?

Funding for universal pre-K: I personally support universal pre-K, but the Council has no role in this. We do not control state funding, state mandates, nor can we dictate to the Board of Education how their budget should be allocated. Public education has been a funding priority in all four budgets that I have supported during my time on the Council.

Jessica Fitzwater
Candidate for County Council
District 4

Candidates for County Council

Shannon Bohrer
Galen Clagett
Jessica Fitzwater
Justin Kiska
Mark Long
M.C. Keegan-Ayer
​Susan Reeder Jessee

Candidates for the Board of Education

Jonah Eisenberg
Marie Fischer
Edison Hatter
Jay Mason
Bud Otis
Camden Raynor
Cindy Rose
Masai Troutman
Brad Young


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