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.

I believe the contracting information in Frederick County should be open and transparent and that should include whether the contact award goes to an ethnic minority or women.  That is the way it is handled in federal government level contracting and those statistics are important to document and keep track of to make sure awards are being made in a fair and ethical manner.  I would propose the discussion with the procurement division to include these stats in our procurement process and if necessary propose legislation to make this happen.

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?

Absolutely! Moving forward everyone should have a chance to gain employment based on their qualifications and experience.  We are all human and minor offenses that occurred in the past should not eliminate someone who is qualified for that position. It’s a way to help provide a fresh start as well to those that need it.

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? 

As the only woman running in the County Council At-Large race, yes I would!  I believe every human being has a right to be who they are and should not be discriminated based on their gender, race, or who they choose to love.  As someone who has lived in Frederick County my entire life, we have always been a very caring county and the same should apply to all the residents.  If elected I promise to make sure every citizen feels welcome in this county.

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

I would facilitate involvement why having as many ethnic minorities involved in the hotel/conference center from as early in the process as possible.  This would involve direct partnership with the hotel owner, the city and county officials involved in the process for procurement purposes, and the recruitment process for staff that would be directly involved in the hiring for the hotel and conference center.  Frederick County workforce is also a great resource that provides help to those seeking employment so this place as well to start getting minorities involved as early as possible when jobs become available.

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?

Frederick County is not the same county as Baltimore and the proposed hotel and conference center here is not on the same scope as the convention center is in Baltimore City. The demand for a hotel/conference center located in downtown Frederick is real.  I talked with many businesses when I worked in Economic Development and trust the information that is being provided by Frederick Tourism, Chamber of Commerce, and the many businesses that are located in the downtown area. The hotel is being paid for, 100% by the hotel owner.  The conference center would be a facility that could be used for many things and would benefit the community overall.  No tax dollars will be going directly to support this conference center, only revenue that is generated from this project will go back into funding this.   

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? 

Absolutely! There was a big mistake at the state level when this occurred.  Money that was promised to come back to fund education locally never occurred.  I would advocate for more control over this funding source, in such a way that it can’t be used for other projects.  Also, it’s important to work closely with state delegates to make sure they support this concept as well.

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

Yes, absolutely!  The federal minimum wage has not kept up with the inflation adjusted dollar and if it had, the minimal wage now would be $19.33/hour.  In an economy increasingly characterized by the service sector, a raise in the minimum wage usually affects the lowest-paid workers.  In Frederick County it’s important to make sure those that work hard are paid well and can live here.  I have been involved in the local incubator since its inception in 2004 that has created hundreds of jobs locally.  
I also support family leave for Frederick County 100%!  When I had my daughter in 1993 I was able to take advantage of the Family Leave Act which provided more time with my daughter after she was born. 

Do you support funding universal pre-kindergarten?
Absolutely! Educating our children as early as possible provide them with the foundation they need for future academic success in the classroom and in life as learning is a lifelong skill

Susan Reeder Jessee
Candidate for County Council
At Large

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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