Editor’s note: The Frederick News-Post is profiling candidates for various public offices in Frederick County leading up to the July 19 primary elections.
As a self-described “history nerd” growing up attending camps at Frederick’s Rose Hill Manor, Julianna Lufkin became fascinated with the blacksmiths who did exhibitions for the campers.
In 2018, she became the first woman to complete the one-year certification program at the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing in Waynesboro, Virginia.
“I really like taking one existing thing and transforming it into something else,” she said of her attraction to the craft.
Now, the Myersville Democrat is attempting to forge a new identity for Frederick County’s Council District 5, which has been represented by a Republican since the County Council was created in 2014.
“I would love to be the person who breaks that streak and gets a Democrat elected in that district,” she said.
But even if she falls short, she believes there’s value in presenting voters with alternatives.
Uncontested elections are “a sign that democracy isn’t working. If every election could be contested, that would be fantastic,” she said.
Lufkin is the only Democrat registered in the July 19 primary. Republicans Michael Blue and Mason Carter are seeking their party’s nomination.
She would like to use a seat on the council to help improve life in the largely rural District 5, by helping to get more frequent and reliable transit to the area, and advocating for the spread of broadband internet access around the district.
For farmers in District 5, she proposes setting aside areas of the county as agricultural preserves to help protect farmland.
“One generation finishes farming, and your only option is to sell it to developers. But if there’s an ag preserve, you have another option where it can stay agricultural. And then we have smarter growth. It’s a nice whole package,” she said.
Rather than setting aside a swath of the county for ag preservation as Montgomery County has done, Lufkin supports creating pockets of preserves around the county, with clusters of farms alongside areas slated for development.
Growth and development are inevitable as the county continues to add residents, she said, but the county should focus on building up existing infrastructure to support it.
“We can start with building and enhancing the community that already exists,” then building up around those communities, she said.
Providing more reliable transit service to outlying parts of the county would help people get into Frederick for work, she said, but also help connect the various “pockets” of District 5.
Areas such as Walkersville and Woodsboro tend to be associated with each other, as do Emmitsburg and Thurmont, and Myersville with Middletown, which is in Council District 1, she said.
She also wants better broadband access in the district to help increase connectivity. Lufkin said it could help address the opioid issue in the district by making people feel less isolated.
Countywide, she would like to be on the council to help address issues such as opioids, mental health services, stronger schools, and more support for farmers and small businesses.
“I think the pandemic has really showed a lot of cracks in our system,” she said.
Another of her key issues is solving food insecurity, especially among children, she said.
The current council does a good job of representing individual constituents while still having the whole county’s best interests at heart, and she would like to continue that spirit, she said.
“I believe that I am just a reasonable person, and would like to have that voice of reason on the council,” she said.