Westminster mayor files for seat in House of Delegates

The field of candidates vying to represent Carroll County in the House of Delegates just became more crowded.

Westminster Mayor Kevin Utz is the latest candidate to file for one of three District 5 seats.

Utz, who filed Jan. 31, is now one of seven Republican candidates on the ballot for the new district, which represents much of Carroll County. The primary is June 24.

"I think that I would do well in Annapolis," Utz said, stressing his knowledge of how government operates at both the local and state level.

"I think small towns need more representation down in Annapolis," he said.

Utz, a native of Westminster, has served as Mayor of Westminster since 2009. He was just re-elected in May, defeating community activist Rebecca Orenstein by a vote of 452 to 237.

While Utz hasn't formally organized his campaign yet, he said he doesn't believe he is getting into the race too late. The filing deadline for candidates is Feb. 25.

"People will find that my campaign will be much different than others," he said. "I'm not looking for endorsements, or PACs for financial support. I'm looking for local people, that's who I want to represent."

Utz previously ran unsuccessfully for delegate in 2006 while serving as a Westminster City Councilman.

If elected, he would need to relinquish his position as mayor.

Utz said after seeing the list of candidates, he believed he had "as good a shot as anyone else."

He said his notable accomplishments as mayor include improving the downtown Westminster business climate, dealing with decreased funding, such as highway user revenues and police aid, and leading the city to its recent clean financial audit.

"I have shown that leadership is most important in any position," he said.

Utz, a retired Maryland State Police Trooper, is also now a realtor with Utz Real Estate, which his daughter owns.

He is the eighth candidate to file for what is now a three-member district.

Carroll County residents had previously been represented in Annapolis by four delegates from three districts, 4B, 5A and 9B.

Redistricting has moved the county's four Republican delegates into one three-member district. District 5 now covers all of Carroll, except for Mount Airy and areas south of Liberty Road.

Mount Airy residents will now be represented by District 4, a predominantly Frederick County seat. Carroll residents living south of Liberty Road will be represented by District 9A, a predominantly Howard County district.

Dels. Susan Krebs, Justin Ready and Donald Elliott have said they plan to seek re-election, while Del. Nancy Stocksdale has yet to maker an announcement.

County Commissioner Haven Shoemaker, former delegate Carmen Amedori, and Manchester resident Joshua Stonko are also Republican candidates.

The lone Democrat to file is Westminster resident Zachary Hands, according to the Board of Elections.

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