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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Young Focused on Issues, Expects Highly Competitive Mayoral Primary

George Wenschhof

Alderman Karen Young
A relaxed and confident Karen Young shared with me her campaign for mayor of The City of Frederick was going very well, adding “it no doubt will be highly competitive”.  When I asked her who she thought newcomer to politics; Carol Hirsch would draw votes from, her or state delegate Galen Clagett in the Democratic primary, Young said that would be hard to gauge at this point.

The ninety minute interview at a local downtown restaurant went quickly as Alderman Karen Young displayed her knowledge of the issues concerning city voters.

She found the door-to-door campaigning was going slower than when she ran for alderman, due to voters spending more time talking to her about the issues.

The issues coming up most frequently with voters were safety, traffic concerns, local job creation and education.

On safety, Young was proud of the recent designation of the City of Frederick being the safest city to live and wants to maintain this rating.  Karen cited me a 2012 Washington Council of Governments report that showed a 9% increase in crime in Frederick. She had talked with police chief Thomas Ledwell about this and felt, due to a higher ratio of calls being received per sworn officer; as mayor, she would certainly support and find funding for five more policemen.

In regard to traffic congestion, Young said the city is fortunate the Monocacy Boulevard–U.S. 15 interchange is being funded by the state.  She felt the city should next prioritize an interchange at Monocacy Blvd. - Md. 26 and improvements to Rt. 40 at Baughmans Lane. In addition, she would task city traffic engineers to develop solutions to alleviate problem areas.

Young also wants to find the funds to complete Monocacy Blvd. and added that when developers complete Christophers Crossing, this will help the west side.

Furthermore, she wants to enhance other forms of transportation by encouraging bus and train usage and creating more walking and bicycle paths in the city.

When it came to jobs, Karen felt labeling Frederick as a bedroom community was not entirely true, saying she would like to rebrand Frederick as a regional economic hub.

She felt the best way to do this was with a skilled and educated workforce.  She wants to work with educators and the community to ensure our workforce is being trained for jobs of the future; citing the fields of healthcare, bio-tech, bio-science, cyber-security and technology in general.

Public-Private partnerships and business incubators were also initiatives Young supported.  In particular, she liked the finance infrastructure bills put forth by Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Congressman John Delaney.  These bills would provide structure to public-private financing of infrastructure and create jobs.

While education is not typically a city campaign issue, because funding is through the county, Young told me it remains an important aspect of the quality of life and economic development in the City of Frederick.

As we were ending the interview, Karen told me she came from a family of educators and as a result, education is very important to her. She said she would look for opportunities for the city to partner with Frederick County government and the Board of Education.

The City of Frederick primary will be held on September 10.

Stay tuned.
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