FUNDING ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
We know that our students are struggling academically, emotionally and socially as a result of the pandemic. Our public K-12 and higher education school systems are fortunate to have received CARES Act funding during the pandemic. However, when the federal and state CARES funding is no longer available, we need county leaders to ensure public education is a budget priority. Returning to "Maintenance of Effort" level funding will impede our students' ability to recover academically and emotionally.
As a former Board member and FCPS employee, I understand educational challenges from both sides. I know first hand the detrimental impact inadequate funding has on our students and staff. My budget requests as County Executive will include priority funding for education to provide our students an opportunity to recover, reset and excel academically to regain their ability to compete and succeed in a global society. Our future is only as bright as our children's educational preparedness.
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH AND SUSTAINABILITY
Successful small businesses are the foundation of a strong economy and self-sustaining community. They bring growth and innovation to communities while increasing tax revenue and creating a robust job market. Small business owners tend to live, work and serve in the community in which their business is established. Supporting their growth and sustainability can provide the tax revenue needed to help fund education.
I have personally experienced the challenges of starting and managing a small business. As a member of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce and Rotary, I have been heavily involved in initiatives that inspire entrepreneurship and support growth and sustainability of small businesses to include, minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses in Frederick County. I will charge the various business entities to partner with the county’s economic development office to expand minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned small business participation on County contracts.
Frederick County is a great place to live, work and prosper. Every county resident deserves access to high-quality education, quality healthcare, affordable housing, high speed broadband and well-paying jobs with benefits. We all need access to banks and financial institutions that work with all residents to attain financial freedom.
We should all be free to enjoy the great opportunities and life experiences Frederick County has to offer. The path to unity needs to start on every street, within every community, town, city, county and state across this nation. For this to happen, there needs to be leadership in place that is committed to serving all residents and is willing to listen, learn and lead.
I will develop plans to bring the people of Frederick County closer together as "One Frederick United" by working collaboratively with the various departments within Frederick County government, towns, cities, local businesses, non-profits and many caring people to expand opportunities for a happy, healthy, and prosperous life for all Frederick County residents.
"ONE FREDERICK UNITED" INITIATIVE
Frederick County's sound fiscal policies and long-range planning combined with a strong and thriving economy has resulted in AAA bond ratings from the three major bond rating agencies. This is quite an accomplishment and a testament to County Executive Jan Gardner's solid financial leadership. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the future stability of our economy as businesses have closed and the unemployment rate has substantially increased. Fortunately, our Federal and State governments have provided CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funding to assist with stabilizing our economy during the pandemic, but when these funds are no longer available, financial stewardship will become even more important.
I have been responsible for developing, managing and reporting substantial budgets in both the government and private sectors. I have served as Vice President of Finance for two information technology companies that were awarded millions in multi-year federal contracts. As County Executive, I will focus on increasing sustainable revenue through business and job development, not tax increases.