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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gardner: “I am in it to win it”

George Wenschhof

Jan Gardner
On a sunny, but chilly Saturday afternoon, about 150 enthusiastic supporters were on hand to hear from Jan Gardner(D) she was running for county executive of Frederick County, Maryland.

She told the crowd “My vision is for exceptional schools, a safe community, a vibrant economy, and a place where we all feel a sense of belonging and community.   I want to keep Frederick County a special place and a place where we care about each other, recognize that we are all in it together, and that our community matters.”

Among the supporters present at the announcement by the former three term county commissioner, who served her last term as president, were three members of that board; John “Lennie” Thompson(R), Kai Hagen(D) and David Gray(R).

Gardner wasted no time pointing out the need for change from the current board of county commissioners saying “On a personal level, I invested 12 years of my life to Frederick County and simply cannot believe how much damage has been done over the past three years.   I want to repair the damage and put the county back on the right path toward prosperity.”

Next year Frederick County voters will be electing, for the first time, a county executive and a seven member council.

Gardner acknowledged charter government will bring a new era of governance and said “I bring proven leadership to guide the transition and navigate the details while being inclusive, collaborative, and accountable.”

Gardner often took swipes at the present board of county commissioners, whose president; Blaine Young(R), is rumored to be seriously considering a run for county executive, after bowing out of a run for Governor.

“In the 12 years I was in office, we never had an open meetings act violation.   Now it is a common occurrence. Restoring ethics and trust in government is job 1.”

Gardner said “I will propose the creation of a truly independent ethics commission and stronger ethics laws that clearly state that county elected officials cannot profit from their position, or do business with the county, and I want to re-instate penalties so there are consequences for ethics violations.”

She applauded the citizens who have attended public meetings to speak out against the proposed Monrovia Town Center and criticized how they were treated. Gardner said “I felt an urge to come into to Winchester Hall to defend their right to participate in the process.   Citizens need to be treated with dignity and respect. I will welcome public involvement.   We are in it together.”

Gardner also said she supported those who are advocating saving the Montevue Home and Citizens. “For almost 200 years, we have taken care of people in need in our community at Montevue. To sell these facilities at a significant financial loss with no plan in place on how to take care of people is fiscally irresponsible and morally vacant.”

Addressing Waste-to-Energy, which she originally supported while serving as president of the board, Gardner said the project now appears to be dead. She pointed out that with Carroll County withdrawing from the project and no new partner identified, a smaller facility built for Frederick County only, was not financially viable.

Instead, she said Frederick County should expand residential and commercial recycling, develop composting programs, expand resource recovery systems, and negotiate long-term contracts to continue to ship the majority of the waste remaining after diversion, composting, and recycling to out of state landfills.

She concluded her speech by saying “There is clearly a lot to be done. It will be a challenge. It will also be exciting. I believe our best days ahead. I want you to know that I am in it to win it!”

At this early date, no other candidate for county executive has officially announced.

I had previously reported Democrat Gordon Cooley, who was former legal counsel for F&M Bankcorp and regional president for PNC Bank was considering entering the race.  In an email received from him yesterday, Cooley told me “after lots of consideration, I have determined not to pursue this position.”

Earl Robbins, a Democrat who was a long term Alcoa Eastalco executive, with government relations experience in Annapolis, is another name circulating in regard to the county executive race.

The 2014 primary will be held June 24 and the general election will be November 4.

Stay tuned.

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