Justin Kiska is a candidate for Frederick County Council at-large. The primary election is June 26.
Why are you running for office?
Because there’s work to be done. I’ve always been amazed by Frederick County's potential. This is a community grounded in its history but looking to its future. Growing up here, I knew what was possible. This year's election is about the direction we’ll take moving forward. We need proven leaders with innovative ideas to help guide Frederick and encourage its residents to thrive and find was to unleash its potential. I have that proven track record and experience as a leader both in business and the community and want to put it to use serving the residents of Frederick.
What's the biggest issue facing Frederick County? How would you address it?
Future growth within the county and how that is handled is going to be crucial over the next few years. Frederick is growing and it's going to continue to grow. That being said, we must be prepared and plan for this development so everyone has a chance to benefit. Having the supporting infrastructure in place is key. Our roads must be able to support increased traffic; our schools must be able to handle more students; and our public services must be able to provide the highest level of service possible. We cannot simply allow growth for growth's sake.
What changes, if any, would you propose if elected?
Over the last three years, there have been a number of times when the County Council has missed its chance to exercise its power as the legislative arm of our government, instead making itself subservient to the County Executive, as opposed to a true check and balance. The next County Council needs to take steps to provide a true balance in Winchester Hall. I’ve already publicly proposed an amendment to our charter that would provide the council with more authority in the budget process, helping to provide more of a balance between the legislative and executive branches in the County.
What is one thing you would do differently from other challengers?
My goal is to run the most positive campaign possible. Not in the sense of how I speak about my opponents, but in the way I address the issues. Frederick County is a great place to live so we shouldn’t spend our time trying to tear it down just to get elected. We should be focused on the future and moving Frederick forward so everyone has the same equality of opportunity to succeed. We need to stop fighting petty personal and ideological battles and keep our eyes on what can be if we work together.
How do you plan on working with people with views different from your own?
As a business owner, I rely on the information I receive from the people around me when I need to make a decisions. I may not always agree with what they’re telling me, but I will always listen because I could learn something. And if you take the time to listen to the other side of an issue or an opinion with which you don’t agree, the possibility exists to find some common ground on which to build so both sides benefit. Members of the Council must be willing to show up, work together, and listen to one another.