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Monday, September 23, 2013

Dacey Advances to General Election

George Wenschhof

Phil Dacey
After, winning the Republican alderman primary in The City of Frederick election, Phil Dacey, enters the general election when Democrats, Unaffiliated, and all registered voters will weigh in on November 5.

The road ahead will not be easy, with low voter turnout and a Democratic voter registration advantage in the city.  Interestingly, Phil’s first place finish in the Republican primary only netted him 15 more votes than John Daniels who was the fifth place finisher among Democratic candidates.

In a lengthy interview, Phil shared with me some of his thoughts on city issues and a little on his family and background.

A local, he grew up in the Yellow Springs area and graduated from Governor Thomas Johnson High School.  He and his wife Alicia have two girls aged 2 and 4.  Phil, a lawyer, is director of external affairs for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and his wife owns a marriage counseling business in Frederick. 

He made a point to tell me his wife is a registered Democrat, adding in addition to working through all the political issues with his wife over the years, his experience in mediation would both be useful skills to have while serving on a five member board of alderman.

Dacey shared with me he became a Republican because he believed they were the party with better ideas and was influenced by former Congressman Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract with America” that promoted welfare reform and a balance budget.

An interest in politics runs in the Dacey family with his brother Ted who  worked with former state sentator Alex Mooney's congressional exploratory committee and then served as campaign manager for Republican sixth district Representative Roscoe Bartlett in the 2012 campaign won by Democrat John Delaney. 

Phil informed me he also previously worked as chief of staff to Maryland state senator Nancy Jacobs (Harford and Cecil counties), who, for a time, served as senate minority leader.

A proud Republican, Phil did tell me he was an advocate for nonpartisan election in the city because he didn’t believe in party labels at the local level. Although, he acknowledged nonpartisan elections would not result in an increase in voter turnout.  However, he did not support a change in the election year to coincide with state or presidential elections, fearing moderates would not be heard.

When I asked him about the recent Western Maryland secession talk, he told me that was just silly.

Phil told me he was particularly concerned with the impact of growth on the city which he has seen double in size in his lifetime.  He wants the city to focus on infrastructure and believes Monocacy Blvd. needs to be funded and completed.

Redevelopment in downtown and infill policies are also priorities for Dacey, who wants to review the land management code to promote economic development.

Crime downtown in the proximity of the Carroll Creek project is another concern he shared with me.  He has noticed businesses leaving the Carroll Creek project and he feared this was a result of their failure to get the foot traffic needed due to the vagrant issue and crime.

Dacey added he believed there was need for a full time homeless shelter and felt the city should provide funding for this.

He pointed to what he believes is an inappropriate amount of public subsidy for a city owned golf course and said he would rather the city fund a homeless shelter than a golf course.  If elected, Phil hopes the city can have a conversation on this issue.

Phil Dacey also shared with me he served on the Frederick County Ethics Commission for one year before resigning to run for office, and in addition, served four years on the City zoning appeals board. 
City voters will elect their mayor and five member board of alderman on November 5.

Stay tuned.
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