Mark Long is a candidate for Frederick County Council at-large. The primary election is June 26.
Why are you running for office?
I care deeply for Frederick County and the wellbeing of its residents. Our county has much going for it; a vibrant, diverse economy, caring, hardworking people, farms, open spaces, a vibrant downtown Frederick City and the quieter smaller towns. It’s a wonderful place to live, work, play, raise families and retire. I want to make sure it remains a vibrant, sustainable county, full of opportunity for all its residents, for generations to come. The decisions we make today will outlive us, so it’s crucial that we elect leaders today who will make well informed decisions for the long-term benefit of our county. I believe my vision for Frederick County is the best fit for this leadership.
What's the biggest issue facing Frederick County? How would you address it?
How we manage development and growth is an ongoing issue. Development impacts other cornerstones of our county; our schools, our roads, affordability, our environment, public safety. Because of its pervasive impact, it’s crucial we manage development effectively and wisely.
Many knowledgeable people worked together over the past two years to create the Livable Frederick Master Plan. This plan serves as a road map ensuring that Frederick County continues to be a livable and sustainable community in the coming years and decades. The leadership behind the creation of the plan was sound and inspiring, and I will strive to model that leadership while working towards implementing the plan.
What changes, if any, would you propose if elected?
Frederick County is moving in a positive direction. I would start by focusing on these positives. We have a strong, diverse and vibrant economy; but we need to more effectively reach out to and assist the 32 percent of our workforce who still struggle financially to ensure that they also reap the rewards of our strong economy. Possible actions include reworking our job training infrastructure to train or retrain workers for the jobs of the future that provide a living wage or better. Another avenue is exploring how we can expand on the recent bill providing tuition assistance to students attending community college in Maryland.
What is one thing you would do differently from other challengers?
I make decisions after a great deal of measured and honest thought. I thoroughly research issues and search for sensible, concise answers. I listen carefully to constituents’ concerns and collaborate with other leaders to arrive at effective solutions to move Frederick County forward in a sustainable, affordable, and livable direction. I draw from my wealth of experiences working for affordable senior and workforce housing, a cleaner environment, the vulnerable and disabled. I believe my experiences working on these issues puts me at an advantage over my opponents because I will not only draw from past achievements, but also bring my measured approach to the table when working with constituents and leaders from across the political spectrum.
How do you plan on working with people with views different from your own?
In a word: Respect. Being respectful of others’ positions, beliefs, experiences and lending them a respectful ear goes a long way. I will strongly and clearly state my positions on issues, but at the same time remain open to consider the point of view of others, even when it differs from my own.
I already have a great deal of experience working with other people in various organizations who hold differing opinions. Yet we set these differences aside and work together to achieve results. We focus on our mission and goals. The mission of the County Council is to sustain and improve the quality of life for all of Frederick County’s residents and I will focus on that.