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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

City of Frederick, Md. Alderman Forum Tonight

George Wenschhof

Only two weeks remain before the general election on November 3. So, plan to attend the forum tonight at Frederick Community College. Moderated by Dr. Ken Kerr, it will begin at 7:00 PM and last until 9:00 PM.

All ten of the alderman candidates (5 Democrats and 5 Republicans) will be in attendance. Each will be given the opportunity for a two minute opening statement and a one minute closing statement.

The candidates will be randomly given one of 10 issues which are: annexations, taxes, traffic, economic development, police;crime and public safety, golden mile east and west end, city services, buy-out, budget, and intergovernmental relations. They will have two minutes to answer.

In addition, each candidate will have five opportunities for a one minute rebuttal which allows for each candidate to have input on up to six of the ten issues.

The candidates will also be available for you to meet before and after the forum. Typically, they will have a table with information available located in the lobby area of the Jack B. Kussmaul Theater.

This seems like a good format when you have ten candidates participating in a forum.

At this point the three incumbent aldermen; Donna Kuzemchak (D), Paul Smith (R) and Alan Imhoff (R) appear to have an edge over the remaining candidates primarily due to name recognition and an anticipated low voter turn out in the general election. I do not expect the voter turn out to exceed 33% or 10,000 voters.

If incumbency proves to be an advantage, that leaves seven alderman candidates vying for two spots on the board. Look to see the challengers try to make a statement on an issue that will stand out with the media and the voters as few days remain in the contest.

Democrat Karen Young is a favorite to advance after coming in first in the Democratic primary on September 15. While her last name is helpful in name recognition to the voters (she is married to former mayor Ron Young), Karen has continued to work hard to earn the support of the voters.

Working just as hard to prove themselves to the voters and show incumbency is not enough of an edge to the voters is Kelly Russell (D), Carol Krimm (D), Michael O'Connor (D), Shelley Aloi (R), Amanda Haddaway (R) and William Huchenpoehler (R).

Russell, Krimm and O'Connor all impressed me in the primary and continue to have my support. Aloi and Haddaway are certainly campaigning hard. I was impressed when Ms. Haddaway sent me a recent email pointing out her Democratic supporters on her website and asking if I would consider interviewing her live online as I had done for the Democratic candidates prior to the primary.

Even though I publish a Democratic News and Commentary website, I would have interviewed her if I had the time to also interview the rest of the Republican aldermen prior to the election. I explained the lack of time and the issue of fairness and she understood.

Next week on Tuesday, the mayoral candidates will face off at the same location also beginning at 7:00 PM. Democrat Jason Judd and Republican Randy McClement will answer questions posed by a three member panel during the first hour. The three members of the panel will be Cliff Cumber - Frederick News Post Assistant City Editor, Dr. Mike Powell - Frederick Community College, and Kevin McManus - WFMD 930 Radio. The second hour will be moderated by Cliff Cumber and will include a portion during which the candidates can ask each other questions. This will be fun to see what they ask each other with only one week left prior to the election.

Both candidate forums are sponsored by Frederick Community College, Frederick County League of Women Voters, WFMD 930 Radio and the Frederick News Post. Plan to attend both!


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