Carroll County Commissioner
Sykesville, Carroll County
President of Carroll County Board of Commissioners
Master of Science, National Resource Strategy January 2009 - January 2010 Industrial College of Armed Forces, National Defense University Master of Arts, Human Resources January 1998 - January 1999 Webster University Bachelor of Science in Education January 1982 - January 1986 Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania
President and CEO of Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) (2013-2014), President of Carroll County Board of Commissioners (2020-2022), Carroll County Board of Commissioners (2018-2020)
Why are you running for office?
I am committed to service to our community which I believe comes from the 30+ years in uniform. Retiring in 2014 and taking the uniform off did not change the attitude to serve. We moved to Carroll County in 2007 from Fort Carson, Colorado due to a permanent change of station (PCS) to Fort Meade. We landed in Carroll County because of the community, culture, and most of all the schools for our two children, Emily and Sam. Our kids' success in the schools has been phenomenal and I want to see that opportunity continue for all our kids. Therefore, I am running for re-election as the County Commissioner in District 5 to serve and lead in economic development within the region, protect our community, and ensure our schools remain a top priority.
What do you see as the most pressing issue the county faces and how would you address it?
Managing growth that pairs infrastructure and development while maintaining public support for keeping Carroll County the place to live, educate our kids and establish a strong workplace environment. I moved to Carroll County over ten years ago for a reason -- beautiful and friendly community with excellent schools where I felt safe and confident for my family while being deployed multiple times. I believe we can maintain all the above through strong state / county collaboration and communication with each other and our community that we serve.
What plans do you have to help the county and its businesses successfully emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic?
Continued communications are critical as we move forward. I am proud to share that Carroll County was the first to initiate small business grants from internal funds, and then proceeded to go after additional funds. I conducted main street meetings on a weekly basis to better understand the needs of our business owners. Lastly, continue to do my part in both shopping local and advocating for others to do the same. Covid-19 impacts may be past us in a large part; however, the post-Covid period must continue to be addressed.
How will you tackle the issue of producing solar energy while preserving quality farmland in the county?
This issue is a great opportunity for us to put in place the Listen ñ Learn ñ Lead approach. Listening to the community on what the needs are regarding additional solar energy, learning from them on how best to put solar in place within the County, and then lead together with them to create the appropriate ordinances for solar energy that supplements and adds to our existing infrastructure. No one understands the needs of Carroll County better than Carroll Countians.
What would you do to address broadband access in the most rural parts of the county?
Covid-19 was very challenging over the past few years; however, one very large issue that was identified had to do with broadband especially in the rural areas within the northwest portions of our County. Everybody deserves to have the right for connectivity and establishing the plans to make that happen is crucial to our quality of life. Two steps forward were taking a very large amount of our federal dollars given along with state grants, and then identifying the manning shortages that we have internal to develop the County broadband solutions is leading to our success and minimal gaps in coverage.
What steps should the county government take to address opioid overdoses and deaths?
It is unacceptable that we still have an opioid and drug problem in our community. County government must work in conjunction with state, federal, municipal officials, and law enforcement to end this crisis. The one thing we cannot do is put our collective heads in the sand and say more money will fix things. It needs all of us looking out for each other, educating ourselves and our families to provide a holistic solution. Funerals of twenty-something Carroll residents from overdoses are far too frequent and are totally unacceptable. As Commissioner, I will fight hard to combat the scourge of opioid addiction.
What role can the county government play to improve education in county schools?
First and foremost, there is nothing more important than our children. Ensuring a safe and secure environment for them to learn in is paramount. The budget for our schools goes well beyond that 47 percent. The focus for the budget process must be requirements based and not on the percentages. Specifically, as the requirements are thought through and developed by the Board of Education through their due diligence it is then presented to the Board of Commissioners for consideration and support. Lastly, continue to advocate for parents and the community to stay engaged in the decision-making process when it comes to curriculum for our students. There are absolutes identified to be taught at home through parenting and not have a place in the classroom. These discussions and decisions are done through open and candid conversations between the Board of Education, our CCPS, and most of all our parents / community.
What efforts does the county need to make to address systemic racism in government services?
There is no room for racism in our community, PERIOD! We must always lead by example and have the integrity of doing what is right when it comes to potential racism. If we see it, call it out for what it is and continue to advocate for a better community. Put guidelines in place within locations that we control and always have an "open door" policy for our workforce along with community to come in to share their thoughts. I produce quarterly newsletters and conduct townhalls as well to ensure the community knows that I am responsive to their needs and always accessible.
What steps must the county take to improve public safety?
Communications and strong relationships with our men & women in blue and red. Also, ensuring the community always is aware of our support to these men & women. I have the Sheriff and fire departments on speed dial and am always available to have those open and candid conversations. In addition, we must always do our part by "If you see something, Say something." Throughout my tenure I have held townhalls, and I am always joined by our Sheriff's department. Ensuring that we make our men & women in blue always accessible AND approachable is key to our success.
How is climate change impacting the county and what can be done locally to address the effects?
In all honesty, we have not dealt with climate change concerns directly within the County. I believe being good stewards of our environment is critical to future quality of life. This is done by putting emphasis on the Environment Council that we have within the County and always providing our advocacy along with support in the guidelines they provide.
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