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November 3, 2011

Who May Be In? Who May Be Out?

Amanda Haddaway

We are still two years away from the next City of Frederick election and already political pundits and interested citizens are speculating about who is running for mayor and the Board of Aldermen. This discussion seems very premature.


Two years is a lifetime in local politics and a million things can and will happen between now and November 2013.


There seems to be a lot of buzz regarding which aldermen will run for higher office. Rumors are flourishing about Alderman Karen Young. Recently, she has not minced words about current Mayor Randy McClement’s management and communication styles.


However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s vying for the city’s executive position. While some speculate that Alderman Young will indeed run for the mayoral seat, she is also rumored to be considering a run for state delegate in 2014.


Current Democrat Del. Galen Clagett announced his intent to retire from public service after his current term, so a seat would be vacated in a primarily Democrat district. In addition to the possibility of a run by Alderman Young, Aldermen Carol Krimm and Shelley Aloi may be interested in that very same seat.


There’s also speculation that Alderman Michael O’Connor has higher political hopes and will run for mayor. This position may be better suited to his innate moderation skills from his past stint as a political commentator.


That leaves Alderman Kelly Russell, who has clearly emerged as a voice of common sense on the current board. She seems content in her role and would likely face an easy re-election challenge.


Perhaps the best political rumor that has emerged so far is the scenario of current City of Frederick Chief of Police Kim Dine running for mayor with a partial slate of aldermen comprised of former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty and former Aldermen Marcia Hall and Donna Kuzemchak.


Frederick County Commissioner Billy Shreve hosted a “Back to Basics” fundraiser earlier this week. The invitation didn’t formally state his intention to run for mayor, but he’s made multiple comments to local media about his plans. It’s tough to say whether he would vacate his current elected position with the county and transition to city government.


Commissioner Paul Smith also lives within the Frederick City limits, but voters in the last city election showed him kindly to the door after his votes in favor of the buyout, the $1 million Keys scoreboard, Hargett Farm and a few other hot button issues with the voters. He seems better suited for the Board of County Commissioners, but there’s always the possibility that Commissioner Smith could run for mayor or alderman again.


Despite who may or may not be running, let’s hope that the current officials place their focus on doing the jobs that they were elected to do and not vying for their next spot. After all, the election is still two years away and there’s still a lot of work to be done.


Perhaps not all of the voters are keeping watch on this administration, but quite a few of the campaign promises have yet to be met, particularly the promises relating to lowering the city’s tax rate and eliminating duplication of services with the county. There was also quite a bit of talk about rental property registration and action on that topic has come to a standstill.


One thing that voters can be sure of is a crowded candidate field for mayor and alderman. Until then, let the rumors abound!


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