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Wednesday, October 12, 2016
It was nearly four years ago when I interviewed Dave Schmidt who was running for alderman as a Republican in The City of Frederick 2013 election. He would lose that election but stay involved in politics.
We kept in touch and I last saw him at the Frederick Pulse vigil. I wanted to know if he intended to run again and hear why he had changed his political affiliation to Democrat.
At that encounter, Dave indicated he remained interested in running for alderman and promised to let me know when he made his decision.
Last week we would sit down and catch up. I asked “why the party change”? Dave would tell me it was a culmination of an evolution of changes of ideas. In particular he supported Democratic positions on social policy where he was a proponent for equality. In addition, he believed an important goal for local government is to provide a safety net.
Dave also favored the increase in the water and sewer rates by Republican mayor Randy McClement who claimed the increases were necessary when the city began to implement state mandated changes.
Interestingly, Dave would tell me he was having a discussion on this issue with a Republican friend who told him that his position made him a Democrat. Dave told me he believes “clean water is important and of course, let’s raise the rates”. He said after thinking about what his friend had told him, he changed his registration to Democrat.
Schmidt added he also likes and is comfortable with the Democratic members of the Frederick County Council.
He would then tell me he will not run in next year’s city election, but is not ruling out a run in the future. A family owned business and family issues have his focus at the moment.
He also is enjoying being co-host with Pattee Brown on the local WFMD AM radio program Frederick Forum that airs from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Saturdays. By taking his candidacy in the upcoming race off the table, he hopes to have a greater impact on the show.
I asked him “what issues he felt would impact the city election”? Dave said “I continue to support open primaries and district representation for aldermen”. When I pressed him on the open primary election, he indicated he supported a hybrid election where everyone could run by party affiliation. For example, he said the top two mayoral candidates would then advance to the General Election, regardless of their political affiliation.
Dave would name several other issues he felt might dominate the city election. One issue is the planned downtown hotel/conference center that has been met with opposition.
Another is the disposition of the Hargett Farm, a costly acquisition by the city for a planned park that also has a costly development cost.
The announcement of Wal-Mart pulling out highlights the continued development fiasco of the former Fredericktown Mall property. Dave told me that he feels people on that side of the city fell neglected.
Lastly, Dave told me he believes economic development is important for the city.
At the conclusion of the interview, I asked Dave if he had a favorite candidate for mayor. It was intriguing to hear the recently turned Democrat tell me “I will support Republican mayor Randy McClement, if he runs again, adding he is a good friend”.