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September 14, 2009

Down to The Wire

Michael Kurtianyk

Well, tomorrow (September 15) is Primary Day for Frederick City. More than ever, the city’s registered voters must go out and vote for those candidates who represent them in their parties.


Why? It seems that from this county person, the City of Frederick is at a crossroads. The mayoral incumbent, Jeff Holtzinger, is not running. His four years at the helm of the Frederick City ship will likely be remembered for his quiet steering, a stark contrast to the previous administration. Though some would argue that there were some times when Mayor Holtzinger went off course (buyout; park), overall, he’s done an admirable job. Mayor Holtzinger is a “get it done” man, and he will be missed. I hope to see him involved in the community in the next few years. He’s an excellent public servant.


For review, in 2005, 3,908 votes were cast in the Democrat Primary for mayor, with Ron Young defeating incumbent Jennifer Daugherty 2,218-1,690. In the Republican Primary, 2,154 votes were cast, with Jeff Holtzinger defeating Joe Baldi 1,077-1,042 (Stanley Mazaleski received 35 votes). The numbers were low; people should come out in greater numbers this year.


This leads us to this year’s current mayoral candidates. On the Republican side, our thoughts and prayers go out to Ron Tobin and his family. He recently withdrew from the race due to being re=-diagnosed with prostate cancer. His resume included being the executive assistant to Mayor Holtzinger, and by many accounts, he did his job ably and thoroughly, having a strong work ethic, like his boss. His name will still appear on the ballot – it’s too late to change things. Were he to garner more votes than his opponents, then the Republican Central Committee would have to step in. We wish Mr. Tobin a successful recovery.


There are, I believe, two reasons why people run for public office: one reason is to serve the public; the second is because one was slighted by the government and now wants to change things. Republican Clint Hoffman represents the latter. He has stated that, as the owner of Discount Towing, he has been harassed by city police and ignored by City Hall. Thus, he is tired of what he calls “nonsense,” and wants to do something about it. Our society loves underdogs, and with Mr. Tobin out of the race, he may pick up more votes than originally expected.


Randy McClement is the front runner in this race. He has consistently shown to be an advocate for city businesses, and his resume speaks for itself: Tourism Council president, chairman of the city’s Charter Review Committee, city Ethics Commission member, vice president of Celebrate Frederick, and chairman of the In the Street Festival. His track record of attendance at city meetings, along with his outreach to the community is a reflection of his dedication to improving the City of Frederick. He would make an excellent representative of the Republican Party in the mayoral race.


On the Democrat side, the three candidates are Chris Simpson, Jason Judd, and former Mayor Jennifer Daugherty. Mr. Simpson is looking to revitalize the west end of Frederick, and create an increased police presence there. As owner of Golden Mile Liquors on McCain Drive, he has been listening to the neighboring businesses and wants to help. He represents a voice in Frederick that needs to be heard. Let’s hope that whoever becomes mayor addresses this issue. If Mr. Simpson doesn’t win, my hope is that he would be tapped to represent the Golden Mile businesses and continue to be its advocate.


Jason Judd is an economist, former community organizer, and now an executive. He believes that job creation is important, and is a consensus-builder. He has consistently said that public money should be treated like a public trust, having criticized the city’s buyout and the stadium’s updated scoreboard. He has consistently stated that he would not unionize city employees, as some critics have claimed. Overall, he has an excellent chance to win the party’s nomination. However, it will be dependent on one thing, which I will discuss at the end.


Former Mayor Jennifer Daugherty has the most experience in the mayoral job. She served as Frederick’s mayor from 2002-2006. She lost in the primary, as an incumbent, in 2005, and lost to Roscoe Bartlett in 2008 in the 6th District race. Her administration is being remembered by some for the acrimony and adversarial relationship between her and the Board of Aldermen. Her desire to serve the city cannot be questioned, and, having been there before, she knows what it takes to lead a city.


However, the Democrat primary race comes done to one question for voters: has Jennifer Daugherty changed? The voters will have to determine whether the Jennifer of 2009 is a kinder, gentler Jennifer, or the Jennifer of 2002-2006.


Should be interesting….


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