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May 2, 2018

More “At-Large” County Council Candidates

Hayden Duke

After reviewing the candidacy of Jason Miller and Danny Farrar, both of whom are running for the Frederick County Council-at-Large, delving into other candidates for the “at-large” County Council seats seems appropriate.


I have known Phil Dacey since we served in the Maryland College Republicans together a while back. He is the only Republican in the race who has been an elected official. He served on the Frederick City Board of Aldermen from 2013 to 2017 as the lone GOP member.


He has a very large and active family that campaigns with an unrivalled energy during the election cycle. One of the comments I hear most about him is the number of votes that he missed while he was an alderman. They ask how someone can go to the voters for a promotion when they didn’t always show up at their last elected job.


Like I’ve said before, this and many other questions need to be asked of all of our candidates during the primary campaign season. Ask the tough and uncomfortable questions.


Justin Kiska is a former candidate for the County Council, and a two-time candidate for the Board of Aldermen. This year he is also the only Republican council candidate to get an endorsement from the Frederick County Teachers Association (FCTA). He has served on the Golden Mile Alliance Board and also owns and manages the Way off Broadway Theater in Frederick. He has been endorsed by former Mayor Randy McClement and former Delegate Rick Weldon.


The most experienced candidate running for the County Council is Democrat Galen Clagett. He is a former County Commissioner and member of the House of Delegates. I’ve had a large number of people tell me that if they were going to vote for one Democrat this year – not that they will – but if they would, it would be Mr. Clagett. He is presenting himself as a person to serve one term to “right” the Council and to ensure that tax dollars are spent wisely.


I don’t think any profile of him can be honest, though, unless you mention the gas tax increase and the ill-conceived “rain tax” that he supported and with which Republicans battered him several years ago. His most recent campaign as well ended in defeat when he lost to Karen Young in 2013.


Susan Reeder Jessee is also running for a County Council-At-Large seat, and while I don’t always agree with her, I have found her to be someone who is eminently reasonable in person-to-person contact. She comes from a family with deep roots in the civic life of Frederick. She speaks often of holding the line on taxes and being fiscally responsible. I like that.


For the record, I like it when a candidate will keep the trains running on time, protect the most vulnerable in our society, ensure a level playing field for all and leave me the hell alone.


I will be voting for Mr. Miller and Mr. Farrar as I mentioned in my last column, not because they are Republicans, but because they are the best candidates. If one of them does not make it to the General Election, I would have to think long and hard about the candidate for County Council to support.


No such thinking is required for the candidates as we continue our discussion of the “at-large” County Council candidates.


Until then, in the words of Louis Goldstein, “God bless y’all real good.”


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