Hoping to continue her mission of ensuring the people of Frederick County have a voice in their government, Councilwoman M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) is seeking a second term representing District 3.
“I originally ran for office because I really wanted the residents of Frederick to have a voice in government,” the councilwoman said of her campaign. “More than that, I’ve always been a huge proponent of getting the people involved and making sure they had an input and a voice in the decisions their elected officials were making and the decisions that are going to impact them, and that has not gone away. ... I will fight tooth and nail to make sure they know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and make sure they have input.”
Keegan-Ayer, 61, filed for re-election Friday, exactly four years from the date she filed for her first term in 2014. Before that, she spent nearly two decades serving on the PTA, through which she developed a passion for local education that she said she carried through to her work on the council.
District 3 is mostly situated in the city of Frederick, where Keegan-Ayer said school crowding has been a significant problem, along with ensuring all of the students in the schools receive the best education possible regardless of their backgrounds.
“I often say I have, in District 3, a little United Nations,” Keegan-Ayer said. “There are so many diverse populations that live here.”
Keegan-Ayer also said the development of the Westside Regional Park at Hargett Farm is a major issue in her district, along with the proposed downtown hotel and conference center. While the county is not heavily involved in the hotel project, she said the project is certainly one that will come up that she plans to keep on the front burner if she is elected to another term.
“It’s one of those issues that will just continue to pop its head up every now and then,” she said.
Traffic and road improvements are also big issues in District 3, as many residents experience challenges with congestion and commuting on city roads on a regular basis, and Keegan-Ayer wants to make sure she is working to try to improve that.
“There is a huge traffic issue in my district,” she said. “I-70 west until the Middletown exit is stop-and-go every single Friday. It backs up all the way up to Spring Ridge and [beyond].”
The issues themselves will not matter, though, if the constituents do not trust their representatives, which she said is still the biggest goal of her campaign.
“Being open and transparent, integrity, honor, all of those things, they’re big,” she said.
“In government, honor and integrity are huge,” she continued. “Having open transparency so the general public can understand how those decisions are being considered, how they can have an impact is just critical and something that is an ongoing issue. I think we’ve had a huge improvement, but there are still things that can be done.”
The County Council consists of seven members, five elected based on geographic districts and two at-large. They serve four-year terms and currently earn $22,500 annually.
The majority of District 3, about 90 percent, includes northwestern parts of the city, with some outer surrounding areas in the county. District 4 makes up the remainder of the city.
As of Tuesday, Keegan-Ayer was the only candidate who had filed in District 3. Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater also filed Tuesday for re-election to District 4, and as of close of business was the only person who had filed in the district.
The 2018 primary election is June 26, and the general election is set for Nov. 6.