Land preservation advocate Ann C. Helton is scheduled to announce today her candidacy for Harford County executive, criticizing the current administration for promoting a "no developer left behind" concept of governing.
"Eight years of developer-controlled government and bad land policies have left us with a mess," Helton, a Democrat, said in a news release. "There is no vision for the future. There are no new ideas. There is no plan. There is only more and more development. This has to change."
At a kickoff event in Aberdeen today, Helton is expected to outline a series of initiatives, including the re-establishment of community planning councils, redevelopment of commercial and industrial properties, and new economic development along the U.S. 40 corridor, new school construction and increased teacher salaries, as well as development of policies and programs to stop conversion of farmland to residential development.
Helton said her "Save Harford County Plan" will set the county "on the right path to managed growth, smart growth."
Helton, who lives in Darlington, served as a councilwoman in Anne Arundel County before moving to Harford in 1980. She is president of the Harford Land Trust and works as a private consultant for child support policy and systems.
She is expected to be the only major challenger to County Executive David R. Craig, a Republican who was appointed in July.
Craig said Helton's ideas have already been implemented by his administration, pointing to community redevelopment efforts in Edgewood and the promise of another 7 percent pay increase for teachers, among others. "Their plan is our plan, only we're already doing it," Craig said.