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Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Derek Shackelford and discuss The City of Frederick 2017 election. He had run a strong race for alderman in the 2013 Democratic primary and fallen short. I wanted to see if he had kept his enthusiasm for politics and his desire to serve he had exhibited four years ago.
Derek told me he was definitely considering another run for alderman and over the next two hour interview would share some of his views with me as we caught up.
He was proud of the doctorate degree in Theology and Public Policy he had earned from Wesley Theology Seminary located in the
He is now affiliated with the nondenominational church Shiloh CC located
of Columbia where he spends a few days a week. Derek said he hopes to affiliate with a local
church soon. Baltimore, Maryland
His full time job for the last ten years is with The Jefferson School, a Sheppard Pratt institution located in Frederick County, Maryland. He shared with me he has enjoyed his time there working as an Alternative Learning Program (ALP) teacher with adolescent boys.
I asked how his family is doing and he shared his son and daughter are both growing up so fast. Derek said his wife is still working as an Analyst and their daughter is attending
When we began to discuss the city, Derek said he would like to work on better communication between city government and the diverse population who often don’t feel they are being heard. He would like to work at bringing what he called a fractured city together.
I asked Derek about the recent disclosure Wal-Mart had pulled out of their deal with the old Fredericktown Mall property and Derek said “I would like the city to work on where we go from here in regard to the Golden Mile”.
He added “there are more businesses closing than opening out there and there also is a huge transient population in the area that needs to be addressed.” This led Derek to discuss the need for more affordable housing in
In regard to public safety, Derek said he had developed a good relationship with Ed Hartgis, the new Chief of Police, and supported his community policing approach to crime.
I sent Derek a follow up email with a question asking him about his position on the proposed downtown hotel/conference center. He responded in an email saying “The question should be is how much is it going to cost the taxpayers, how much benefit will the city receive in return and will we get our return on investment. Some of this has been covered. How does this benefit our citizens of the city who have been or feel they have been neglected?”
When we talked about the upcoming city election, Derek shared with me he is pragmatic and understood the legislative role of the board of aldermen in city government.
He intends to make his decision prior to the end of the year on whether he is running because he realizes he needs to raise money. He added he would then begin reaching out and going to where the people are.
Dr. Derek Shackelford certainly has the attributes to be a credible and effective alderman. His experience and strong knowledge of The City of Frederick will make him a competitive candidate.
Look to see him enter the race.
Editor’s note; City voters will elect a mayor and 5 aldermen who serve 4 year terms in 2017. The primary election will be held on September 12 and the General Election will fall on November 7, 2017.