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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Strong Field of Democrats Emerge in Aldermen Race

George Wenschhof

Already, seven Democrats have or will be announcing they are running for one of the five seats on the board of aldermen.

The deadline for filing for election is July 2, 2013 with The City of Frederick primary election held on September 10, followed by the general election on November 5.

Incumbents Michael O’Connor and Kelly Russell, based on a solid record over their first term in office, will be favorites to win reelection.

One of the other two incumbent Democratic aldermen; Carol Krimm, will not run for reelection as she hopes to replace retiring state delegate Galen Clagett (D), who is running for mayor.  Galen has let it be known, should he win election, he will request from Governor Martin O’Malley (D), the appointment of Carol to his seat, to serve the remaining one year of his term.  If, this would take place, it would give Krimm a leg up in the 2014 election.

The remaining Democratic incumbent alderman; Karen Young, has already announced her candidacy for Mayor.  Interestingly, should Clagett win the mayoral race, look to see state senator Ron Young (D) ask O’Malley to appoint his wife Karen to the vacant Clagett delegate seat, setting up an interesting dilemma for the Governor.

Derek Shackelford called me several months ago, when I was still in California, to speak with me of his intention to run for alderman.  Shackelford, who is the only African American running for city office at this time, spoke with me about his desire to engage people in the political process and to groom others for political office.

His experience in working for the reelection of President Barack Obama, particularly serving as one of “One Hundred Leaders for Obama, will be of help to him as he campaigns for his own election.  His professionalism and campaign experience was illustrated by his well attended campaign announcement recently at the Bernard Brown Community Center.

Josh Bokee, who fell short, by only a few votes, of moving on to the general election in 2009, is running again, and will be a strong candidate to become one of the five aldermen elected in the general election on November 5.

His five years of experience of service, including time as vice chair, on The City of Frederick Planning Commission, provides him with excellent qualifications to serve as alderman.

His reasoned platform includes economic opportunity, safe neighborhoods, strong fiscal responsibility, healthy sustainable community and twenty-first century infrastructure.

John Daniels, a well liked man, whose heart is with the city, will also be running again for alderman. He is the type of person who is able to bring people together.

Since losing in the last city election, John has served the city, with distinction, as chair of Mayor Randy McClement’s ad hoc recycling and solid waste committee.

Fiscal responsibility is important to Daniels, who has followed the serious discussion surrounding the $93 million unfunded liabilities The City of Frederick is facing with their pension plan and other post employment benefits (OPEB).

Jack Lynch, who ran briefly for mayor in the 2009 election, before dropping out and endorsing Jennifer Dougherty, who would lose the primary election to Jason Judd, is now running for alderman.

Jack, in a recent email to supporters, said “I want to see leadership and changes and public officials asking the questions that should be answered instead of cheerleading every scheme for private interests. I want our community to be a whole one, an engaged place, where citizens feel empowered - One Frederick, one for all.”

In an email to me, Lynch added “My focus is upon how Frederick continues to remain one close knit community and extends the great benefits of this place, both past and future, to all our citizens. It includes designing our communities to be interconnected not just by a map and roads, but by a shared purpose and shared successes from all sides of town. We have a vitality and diversity and valued institutions and committed citizens.”

Former two-term alderman Donna Kuzemchak is heavily rumored to make a run to win reelection to the board after losing in the 2009 general election.  An out spoken woman, Donna is sure to add excitement and strength to the Democratic primary.

Between now and the July 2 candidate filing deadline, it is entirely likely a few more Democrats will venture forward in the alderman contest.

Already, city voters can be assured of a very strong slate of Democratic candidates for alderman.
Stay tuned, the city election promises to be one to watch.

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