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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Reid ready to help Democrats Win

William "Billy" Reid
George Wenschhof

William "Billy" Reid told me after Donald Trump got elected president and the divisive politics that has followed, "I got off the couch and decided to get involved in helping Democratic candidates get elected".  He added when Barack Obama won the presidency, he remembered thinking "he sounds just like me"!

He is running for the Frederick County Democratic State Central Committee.  Democratic voters elect six men and six women to the central committee on primary election day June 26, 2018.

Mr. Reid believes in the Democratic Party because he likes diversity and said "it has always been a big tent".  He wants to help good people get elected who are concerned with issues and their constituents. Helping to get young people into the Democratic Party is also important to him. In addition, Billy told me "we are going to need innovative politicians to deal with future issues such as the impact of artificial intelligence on the workforce".

Raised in Frederick County, his family has deep roots in the community and as a result he told me "I understand the issues that are important to Frederick County voters".  His great uncle Maurice Reid served as principal of the first African American High School in Frederick County, Maryland.  His mother was also a teacher for 30 years in Frederick County.

A graduate of Governor Thomas Johnson High School, Billy has a lifetime of education. He attended University of Maryland, received his veterinary degree at Tuskegee University and completed his residency in Laboratory Animal Medicine at University of Michigan.  Mr. Reid also enlisted and served 4 years in the Army followed with 4 years active reserve, primarily assigned to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

Billy met Monica, his wife of 27 years, while attending Tuskegee University.  She works locally at Fort Detrick and he is a staff scientist at National Institutes of Health (NIH) involved in imaging studies.  His bio-medical research experience includes developing an animal model of HIV disease.

Mr. Reid told me "I am ready to hit the ground running" to help local Democrats get elected following the primary election. He has already been helping with canvassing voters and has attended central committee meetings, adding  "I think they do a great job"!

Since deciding to run for a position on the central committee, Billy has enjoyed going to candidate "meet and greet" events where he has met many candidates, elected officials and voters.

He told me he views the central committee like a cheerleader helping Democratic candidates get elected to office. Mr. Reid said "I want to get people registered as a Democrat and I want to help get Democratic voters to the polls".

Billy added, "I am ready to go door-to-door, phone bank and help with targeted voting".

To learn more about William "Billy" Reid, you can go to his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/williamconradreid/.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Duckett wants to give voice to those who have been silenced

Kavonte Duckett
George Wenschhof

My hour interviewing Democratic candidate Kavonte Duckett went by quickly and it was readily apparent how enthusiastic he is about serving on the Frederick County, Maryland county council.  A lifelong resident who attended Tuscarora High School and Frederick Community College, he told me he has a calling for service and is dedicated to the people of Frederick County.

Mr. Duckett feels strongly there needs to be minority representation on the seven member county council. He wants to fill this glaring void and give a voice to people who have been silenced.  Kavonte added he wants to earn the trust of those voters and he also wants to represent the next generation of leaders.

I told him I had seen his signs popping up and asked him about the challenge he faces as a newcomer running county-wide against four other Democrats, several of them well known, in the primary election.  Democratic voters will choose two at-large (county-wide) candidates to go on to the general election.  The seven member county council has five members elected by district and two members elected county-wide.

Kavonte answered his biggest challenge is he is an African American and race relations is still a big issue today.  He said it is often hard for others to understand what a Black man goes through, telling me “I’m afraid to put a hood on when I am going door-to-door when it is raining”.

However, he is encouraged with the results in The City of Frederick election last year when voters elected two African Americans to the five member board of aldermen.  Kavonte is hopeful that race issues give way to the ray of light brought with the younger generation.

Mr. Duckett wants the county to work with the city to invest in our youth, particularly at-risk students. He feels there is a lack of resources for young people and having community centers providing activities, mentoring and help with homework is important.

He also wants to make sure there are jobs and affordable housing available so Frederick County can attract and keep young people living and contributing here.  Kavonte said it is also vital to make sure there is a minority set aside fund for small business.

The opioid crisis is also a concern to Mr. Duckett who said “I want to develop an outreach effort that goes to them and a treatment center that will help people get back into society”.  He added the treatment center should include a re-entry program that includes jobs, shelter and transportation.

I asked him if he supports county funding for The City of Frederick proposed downtown hotel/conference center.  Kavonte said “I do not support county funding for it and would rather see it go to education funding”.

When I was wrapping up the interview, Kavonte told me there were three words that summarized his campaign. “I have a heart for the community, a mind for progress and I want to be a voice for all people".

You can read more about Kavonte Duckett by going to his campaign website: https://duckettforfrederick.com/ and by visiting his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DuckettforFrederick/.

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Editor’s Note: The Maryland primary election will be held on June 26, 2018 and the general election on November 6, 2018.

Support www.FrederickPolitics.com by clicking on the donate button located in the right hand margin of the web page.  Thank You!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Trout Working Hard to Earn Your Vote

Ryan Trout
George Wenschhof
I sat down recently and interviewed Democratic candidate Ryan Trout who is running for Maryland state delegate in district 3-a. I began by asking Ryan, how do you intend to win against the two incumbent Democratic delegates, Carol Krimm and Karen Lewis Young? (Voters elect two delegates in District 3-a)
He responding by saying “I plan to out hustle and out work the competition”. Ryan added “I have been knocking on doors, talking to people and learning from them. I hope they see my energy and realize I am willing to work hard for them”.
I met Ryan Trout when he ran for Maryland state delegate in district 4-a, in 2010.  He would lose that race in a heavily Republican voter registered district, but impressed many in that campaign.
Four years later, I would interview him after his move to The City of Frederick led to speculation he would run for delegate in district 3-a, a heavy Democratic voter registered district.
Ryan informed me during that interview “His job as the Family Self Sufficiency coordinator with Public Housing in Frederick falls under the Hatch Act which prohibits him from running for delegate. Ryan went on to tell me he also “loves his job and his sincere passion is to make the lives of low and moderate income families better”. He added “one reason why I love my current position so much is I am able to have a direct impact and work with wonderful people every day”.”
First time Democratic delegate candidates Karen Lewis Young and Carol Krimm would win that 2014 election.
Today, the former chair of the Frederick County Affordable Housing Council is working as the legislative liaison and public information officer for Baltimore city’s Department of General Services.
In talking with Ryan, it is obvious he is still dedicated to helping working families with the issues they face. Trout told me “I want to represent values not being represented in Annapolis”.  He was concerned funding for education was down and that he wants to focus on policies that will pay dividends to residents in the future.
He believes strongly that education is the lynch pin to everything else and believes in a “cradle to career” approach that includes universal Pre-K to career and technology programs.  Trout supports the state funding two additional years of education and would like to see this expanded to four years.
I followed up with Trout on his position on nonpartisan redistricting and the ban of the sale of assault weapons as well as high capacity ammunition clips.
Trout responded with “Yes, I support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census. It is imperative to our democracy that we ensure that all Marylanders are being properly represented in Washington and Annapolis. We should also lead by example and show states like Pennsylvania and Virginia how to go from a partisan model to a non-partisan one”.
He added “I support the ban on assault-style weapons, the sale of high capacity ammo clips, and the closing of background check loopholes. Additionally, I have been named a candidate of distinction by Moms Demand Action regarding sensible gun legislation".
I would also ask Trout, in light of the recent Supreme Court decision, would you support the state allowing sports gambling.   He stated “I am reluctant to support additional gambling due to the impact it has on individuals and their families. I would prefer to learn more about any proposals, locations, etc., before taking a formal stance on the issue”.
I also asked if he supported the $16 million is state funding for the downtown hotel/conference center in The City of Frederick.  Ryan said “I will support it, with conditions”.  He felt there were benefits to having a conference center, but bristled with providing $16 million in state funds that allow an employer to pay employees minimum wage.  He felt the employer should have to pay a living wage and benefits.  Otherwise, Ryan said taxpayers end up subsidizing their employees.
Ryan Trout also wanted me to know his concern with the opioid epidemic and that he was closely following efforts to combat this problem nationwide. One encouraging effort is called Project - Lazarus that began in North Carolina and is being considered in Pennsylvania.  He would like the state of Maryland to examine implementing a similar program.
You can find out more about Ryan Trout on his campaign website: www.troutfordelegate.com.
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Editor’s Note:  The Maryland primary election will be held on June 26, 2018 and the general election will take place on November 6, 2018.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Ken Kerr Wants to Serve Community in Annapolis

Ken Kerr
George Wenschhof
Although a familiar cliché in politics, Democratic candidate Ken Kerr was sincere when he told me his running for Maryland state delegate in district 3-b was motivated by his desire to serve and make the community a better place.  He added “I look at it as almost a duty to serve”.
Two years ago Dr. Kerr, who teaches at Frederick Community College, won a nonpartisan Frederick county-wide election to the school board. He informed me he would resign from that position if he won the state delegate race.  Otherwise, he would continue to serve on the school board for the remainder of the four year term.
Ken told me four years ago redistricting resulted in making voter registration between Republicans and Democrats in district 3-b almost even, with approximately 4,000 undeclared or independent voters who will likely have an important impact on the outcome.
In spite of the effort to turn the district blue, Republican William “Bill” Folden would win four years ago, beating Democratic candidate Stephen Slater.  In this election, neither Folden nor Kerr have a primary opponent so they will cruise to the general election held on November 6, 2018.
I asked Ken if he had been “recruited” to run for the seat by the state Democratic Party and he informed me that he had been contacted by a staff member in speaker Michael E. Busch’s (D) office last year.  He added it took about six months to make his decision.  Obviously, Democrats would like to capture this seat and they indicated they would offer support to Dr. Kerr’s campaign.
I would follow up with Ken and ask, “Do you support a nonpartisan redistricting manner to be used by the state of Maryland”?  He responded with “Yes, I support a national or regional approach to nonpartisan redistricting”.
Dr. Kerr’s education experience surely led to him sharing with me his desire to create apprenticeship programs with businesses for high school students, including dual enrollments with community colleges.
He supports the recently approved state funded two years of additional education and would like to expand this to a full four years.  Ken would also like to expand the career technology center, by adding another facility in southern Frederick County.
He told me “I strongly support funding for universal Pre-K for 4 year olds - it is understood the early years are very important in a child’s development”.
Kerr also wants to establish an earned income tax credit at the state level that mirrors the federal earned income tax credit that will help working families.
In light of the recent Supreme Court decision to allow states to determine whether to allow sports betting, I asked him his position on this issue.  Dr. Kerr told me “I would support legalizing sports betting and want money to go to education”.  He added “the state is not capturing any money from the underground betting that happens now”.  In addition, Ken felt fraternal organizations should be allowed slot machines.
In regards to medical marijuana, Ken said he supported this along with full decriminalization.  He told me “the state should also keep an eye on states with legalized recreation marijuana to see how effective these policies are before Maryland moves to legalize”.
I asked him if he supported the $16 million in state funding for the proposed downtown Frederick hotel and conference center and Dr. Kerr said “Yes, a conference center is needed downtown and the hotel will provide a place for tourists to stay after shopping and eating”.
In an email following my interview, I asked Ken, “Do you support the state ban of the sale of assault style weapons and high capacity ammunition clips”?
He responded with “I am not in favor of confiscating anyone's guns. What I propose is--if you have an AR15 or similar, you can keep it. It's yours. But it's ONLY yours. You can't sell it, you can't transfer it. Enjoy it while you live, because it dies with you. Beyond that, we ban future sales and limit clip sizes. Civilians do not need weapons of war.”
The ninety minute interview passed quickly.  You can visit his campaign website at www.kenkerratdeleagte.com and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kenkerrfordelegate/
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Editor’s Note:  The Maryland primary election will be held on June 26, 2018 and the general election will take place on November 6, 2018.