At-Large Council Candidates Discuss Pressing Issues

Photos | Submitted (L to R) Phil Dacey (R), Danny Farrar (R), Kai Hagen (D), Susan Reeder Jessee (D) and Bud Otis (U) are running for two at-large positions on the County Council.

Photos | Submitted
(L to R) Phil Dacey (R), Danny Farrar (R), Kai Hagen (D), Susan Reeder Jessee (D) and Bud Otis (U) are running for two at-large positions on the County Council.

Frederick County voters will elect a county executive and a seven-member County Council on Nov. 6. Five of the council members are elected by district and two are elected at-large (countywide).

The five running for the two at-large positions are Phil Dacey (R), Danny Farrar (R), Kai Hagen (D), Susan Reeder Jessee (D) and incumbent County Council President Bud Otis (U). We asked them to answer the following question in 125 words or less.

What are the two most pressing issues facing Frederick County, and what would you do to address them?

Phil Dacey (R)

The biggest issues facing Frederick County are traffic and economic opportunity. First, too many residents are spending too much time stuck in traffic. Governor Hogan has offered the only realistic solution in a generation, which allows a public-private partnership to add lanes to Interstate 270. We need a County Council that will partner with him to achieve this solution and serve the residents that are suffering due to traffic congestion.

Next, we need more economic opportunities in Frederick County so that the traffic doesn’t all head south in the morning and north in the evening. To attract quality employers, we need a Council that will fiercely sell the benefits of Frederick County—unique and charming towns; world-class schools; and desired recreation—to employers.

Danny Farrar (R)

We each have the issues that matter most to us. Regardless, all problems are solved with conversation and compromise on how to get there. Frederick has lacked both for the past four years. That lack of civility is the most pressing issue facing our community.

The constant squabbling, eye rolling, name calling, and walking away from the dais has done nothing to move us forward. School construction, funding first responders, and opioids are not partisan issues. They’re human ones. There is no reason, beyond willful desire to not work together, that every vote gets split 4-3. We need people more concerned with getting it done than they are with getting the credit. That’s my priority if elected. The credit can go to anyone else.

Kai Hagen (D)

Top priorities for local government are education and public safety. But the most significant challenge we face is how we manage residential growth and business development. How well we do that will affect everything else. Applying genuine Smart Growth principles is vital, and these challenges can be real opportunities … to address our affordable housing crisis, reduce the cost of necessary infrastructure, protect our environment and preserve our rural communities, attract small and larger businesses (and good jobs) and to establish and maintain attractive and safe communities with good schools, parks and transit options.

We need honest, ethical and efficient county government that cares about everyone in our community to manage growth well, and to build and sustain a forward-looking economy that’s diverse and resilient.

Susan Reeder Jessee (D)

The two most pressing issues facing Frederick County are education and managing growth in a responsible way. An excellent school system drives economic development, job creation, high student achievement, and a great quality of life. So we must make sure we provide our teachers with a competitive salary, and our students the essential tools they need to succeed in the classroom.

Managing growth is essential in managing the county budget. It’s vital we plan for infrastructure (roads, schools, libraries, fire stations), as part of any planned growth, as early in the process as possible. Managing growth in a responsible way results in good business, vibrant communities, and a wonderful way of life for those that live here, and for future generations to come.

Bud Otis (U)

The County is responsible for Education, Public Safety, Roads, to name a few. Overcrowding in our Schools and adequate pay for our Teachers is critical to the future of our County. The answer to this is to continue to fund above Maintenance of Effort (above what is required) as I have voted for the last four years.

Equally important is the infrastructure of our roads! Much of the funding for roads comes from the State through the gas tax we all pay. Our County must be active in pressing our needs to the State for our fair share of those tax dollars that come from the Federal Government. The County must continue to provide funding for our County road system from our County Budget.

Early voting runs from Oct. 25 through Nov. 1. The General Election is Nov. 6.


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