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Friday, March 6, 2009

Moving Frederick Forward

Hello! I'm Jason Judd and I'm running for Mayor. I've had hundreds of conversations in the last year about the city's future—where we're headed, where we should be headed, what we hope for and how we're willing to work together. Here's what I've heard.

We need a Mayor with energy, with vision, and with a hard focus on solutions.

We need a Mayor who can create better jobs and an innovative economy here so we can work where we live.

We need a Mayor who can lead the city to make better financial choices so we stop wasting taxpayer money.

And we need a Mayor who'll preserve what we really love about Frederick as we lean into the future.

Especially in a time of economic stress, we need a Mayor who will help us put to work all the imagination, the smarts, and the energy we have in this town to become one of the greatest small cities in America.

Here's what I'd bring to the work. I've been a community organizer and an executive manager who's worked around the country and around the world. I'm also an economist and a policy expert.

In college, my first job was working as a budget analyst at OMB—the President's Office of Management and Budget. My first community organizing victories were holding Mayors and Boards accountable, making sure that tax money spent on economic development was creating good jobs, spurring better city services for neighborhoods that were being left behind, and winning big investments in workforce training for the kinds of jobs our families can live on.

My first campaign back here at home was standing up for the small businesses and families in Maryland for fairer taxes.

And right now, in face of this economic crisis, my job is to hold our biggest banks accountable for their abuses of taxpayer bailout money, and to help reorganize the industry in a way that is good for ordinary families.

For the last fifteen years, I've worked to make government work for ordinary families.

Our city government simply isn't working for ordinary families. The spending by our Mayor and Board in the last 6 years has ballooned, and some of that spending has been shockingly careless.

Consider the City's staff buyout. Katherine Heerbrandt wrote recently in the Frederick News Post that the buyout—a two-year payout and a bridge to retirement while allowing people to come back to work the next week—may end up costing the city up to $10 million. Unbelievable! That would be a firing offense in any $85 million corporation.

Another example is the new bond issue. According to a recent article in the Gazette, the Mayor and Board are doubling our debt burden, but the City says the impact on taxpayers "is still being worked out". How does that sound to you?

And taxes. That $25 million in new money the Mayor and Board have taken in and spent in the last few years is not windfall: They're down there shaking the tax tree.

I am running for Mayor because I have the experience, energy, and the focus on solutions we need to move Frederick forward. Here is a specific list of issues we will go to work on if you elect me Mayor. I will:

Create better jobs and a more innovative economy by

  • Creating a small-business incubator here to help web-tech start-ups find their feet and find their markets.
  • Being an advocate for small businesses and building a fast track in the City to help them get started.
  • Campaigning aggressively for new investments, especially those that help us get ahead of the curve on the green economy.
  • Creating a public-private partnership fund to help our high school graduates with good grades and high attendance pay for college here and win the good jobs we've got.
  • Being straight up on conflicts. No more dodgy buyouts, no more pointing the finger at City staff, and no more punting on conflicts of interest.

Lead the City to make better financial choices by

  • Going through our budget line-by-line, cut what doesn't work and what we don't need.
  • Building real public-private partnerships to leverage the investments we need. Let's find a way to build—at last—a downtown hotel and conference center.
  • Making all aspects of city business accountable, transparent, and engaging. We'll measure the City's performance and spending, and make those results available on-line to everyone.
  • Getting serious about affordable housing. Right away, we'll waive the City's impact fees for non-profits like Habitat and Interfaith Housing to help working families find homes they can afford.

Preserve what we love about Frederick by

  • Creating safer neighborhoods and making necessary investments now—including a proper police headquarters—that will keep us ahead of the crime curve.
  • Making sure we don't leave behind our older neighborhoods. New neighborhoods and redevelopments have to be well-planned and walkable—let's use a 5-minute test: a five-minute walk should get us to the places we work, eat, shop, play.
  • Launching Sustainable Frederick. We'll have recycling in public places and get a citywide commercial recycling program going. We'll reward investments in energy- and water-efficient projects. And we'll track our energy savings on the City's website.
  • Investing in preserving our Monocacy River corridor. We'll make networking our parks a real priority and we'll plant thousands of trees.
  • Making Frederick bike-friendly. Cyclists love Frederick, but don't get much love. We'll fix that with racks, lanes, routes, and signs.

I see challenges like these as opportunities for Frederick. Let's take on the challenges we've just been muddling through for years.

Let's create good jobs here. Let's start treating public money like a public trust. Let's preserve what we love about this place and let's lean into the future.

Let's Move Frederick Forward.

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We'd like your help to build this grassroots campaign—from putting a sign in your yard or window to hosting a house party. To join the campaign, please visit our website at And please come enjoy some music, some food, and a new kind of politics for Frederick at our Campaign Kickoff Wednesday evening.

Wednesday, March 11th

6 p.m.

Delaplaine Center downtown (40 S. Carroll St.)

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About Jason

Jason Judd is a trained economist and former community organizer who now leads national advocacy campaigns. He grew up in Frederick County and graduated from Gov. Thomas Johnson High School. He lives with his wife and two children in downtown Frederick where he serves on several boards and commissions.

Raised in Frederick, and now raising his own family here, Jason cares deeply about the city's future. Jason's mother—a retired teacher—and his father—a former Bechtel executive—taught him the value of hard work and community service. They taught him to stand up for the things he cares about.

Some of his qualifications for Mayor of Frederick include:

  • Training as an economist with a strong track record leading operations with multi-million dollar budgets
  • Experience with policy reform at state legislative and congressional levels
  • Ability to leverage the resources of strategic partners
  • Executive experience building and motivating diverse teams of employees
  • Experience in developing and executing long-term strategic plans for local and national organizations.

Jason graduated from Duke University with a degree in Economics, studied at the London School of Economics, and was a Fulbright Fellow. He is a director of the Frederick County Workforce Development Board and a member of the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek. He is a member of Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ.


Editor's note - we have not endorsed any candidate in the upcoming City of Frederick election. We will continue to offer all of the Democratic candidates in the City of Frederick, Maryland election, the opportunity to post planned events on our site. We informed Democratic candidates we will publish an announcement column from them detailing the reasons they are running for office and this is the column received from Mr. Judd. We also plan to have online Democratic forums during the primary so stay tuned.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What will you cut? Much of the budget is allocated to vital services...

Why did you not speak out on bond money? - apparently you were there but ran off to the WTE hearing...

What size, and how will a conference center, or hotel, work? It has been studied and found appropriate market size in the region...

Many questions still...