BG Co Exec Debate - KL

Republican candidates for Frederick County executive, from left, Regina Williams, Kathy Afzali and Kirby Delauter, at Monday’s debate at Hood College.

Hood College held the first Republican debate of the season for Frederick County executive and County Council at-large hopefuls, where the candidates found more in common than not.

With the 2018 primary election just two months away, county executive candidates Delegate Kathy Afzali (R-District 4), Councilman Kirby Delauter and Regina Williams squared off Monday night, followed by at-large candidates Phil Dacey, Danny Farrar, Justin Kiska and Jason Miller.

All said they would take a fiscally conservative approach to governing if elected, supported economic development and would put a high priority on property rights. To that end, the Republicans universally opposed Livable Frederick, a plan two years in the making that aims to de-emphasize zoning maps in favor of a more holistic approach to planning. The candidates said the measure was too subjective to protect property owners’ rights. For similar reasons, they also opposed the Monocacy Scenic River Management Plan, which is stalled in an advisory board, because they believed the plan to ensure water quality could infringe on the property of people living along the river.

One of the biggest distinctions between the candidates was Afzali’s and Delauter’s positions on growth. Delauter said he favored “responsible growth,” just enough homes to generate the revenue to finance the county’s bond debt and keep it from having to raise taxes. Afzali said she favored slower growth with less high-density development, noting that Montgomery County’s high rate of growth had not kept it from having high tax rates.

The county executive candidates outlined their agenda for their first 100 days in office, should they be elected.

Williams, a former budget director under the Board of County Commissioners, said her first task would be to focus on the budget. She would institute a hiring freeze and meet with directors and department heads to evaluate the efficiency of county services.

“We need to be run lean,” she said.

Afzali said she would freeze property taxes among what she said would be a flurry of other changes. While she did not go into details, she said her first 100 days would be very fast-moving.

“If you like spunk, I’m your gal,” she said.

Delauter said his aim would be to make the county more business-friendly and reduce taxes. He would also revisit his school leasing plan. His proposal would build schools using bond market or private financing and have the county rent it back. While an initial hypothetical leasing arrangement found the lease deals would more than double the cost of a $41 million school over 30 years, Delauter has said it would allow the county to build more schools more quickly and “catch up.”

Moderator Don Irvine, publisher at Accuracy in Media, kicked off the questions to the council candidates asking for their take on charter government.

The group uniformly said the charter did not give enough authority to the council. Miller said the system gave the county executive “immense power,” and until the council addressed that, the candidates would not be able to make good on any promises to constituents.

Kiska said he would propose an amendment to allow the council to increase line items in the budget. Currently, the council can only reduce items in the county executive’s budget, except for education.

“This would enable the council to be that check and balance,” Kiska said.

Dacey said he didn’t agree with giving the council the ability to increase the budget because he believed the charter was designed to control spending.

Farrar said he would try to rein in the county executive by making it so that the county attorney did not serve at the pleasure of the official.

The council candidates all emphasized the importance of being willing to talk through issues to accomplish results, even in the face of philosophical disagreements.

The primary election will be held June 26, with the favored candidates moving on to the general election on Nov. 6.

Follow Kelsi Loos on Twitter: @KelsiLoos.

(48) comments


Not a very impressive slate. Steve McKay may be the best Republican candidate in the County. A responsible, intelligent and thoughtful person. He will definitely get my vote and if the Republican Party is smart, they try to attract more people like him. That's what local governance is all about and it's precisely why Jan Gardner deserves re-election.


Thank you!!


I expect I'll vote against # and Williams in June. Wish there was a None of the Above option.


I was a registered Republican until mid-2016. A Republican for 29 years. Now registered as an Independent.

Why? Because of situations like this. What an embarassing slate of candidates to offer to the voting public.

One threatens newspaper and makes national headlines and ridiculed. One done what in Annapolis for us? And one most have never heard of.

Republicans should just close up shop until 2020 around here. Sorry state of affairs in what should be a Republican stronghold in western Maryland.


Property right are more important than clean water? Protecting the rights of a few landowners is much more elitist than evaluating the candidates and finding them inadequate for the job. These folks will definitely serve the "I got mine" crowd while turning a deaf ear to the rest of their constituents.


Williams has made zero impression with the public; they have no idea who she is. Afzali has nothing to say that isn't a stock GOP talking point from days of yore. Kirby couldn't pour water out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel, and seems to feel that his status as a national laughingstock means he is popular. I think he conflates the terms famous and infamous. I give the first two props for not handing the election to KD the Clown, but it is a sad slate of characters.


Sad group. All three remind me of a dog chasing its own tail. No real thoughts, lots of stale rhetoric, and a very thin veneer of competence.


So now Delauter wants to "catch-up" on the overbuilding that created the trailer park schools that he created along with the other Bozos on the last BoCC....what a sick joke; wonder how he is able to look in the mirror..he is a pawn of the developers and cannot be trusted based on past performance ..or lack of same


Kathy came out the best by far. Why did Kirby and Williams even show up???


If I had of known about the meeting, I would have attended. There is little doubt in my mind that Kathy is the best of the three, but I can't vote for any of them and wouldn't in the general election anyways.


So, we have Blaine's old girl friend, Blaine's henchman and one more.  I vote for one more!  


Did the FNP get Kirby's permission before putting his name in print? Don't forget what a fool he has proven to be.


Should we get the Plamondons and Randalls to file one now? They should have some standing here, don't you think - it is the old newspaper site chosen by those in the know. Frederick County politics stink!


Did anyone ask out about his taxes?


My guess is that Afzali is saving that one for later.

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Thank you for the belly laugh this morning! I needed that. It's hilarious!


Responsible growth to Delauter means quid pro quo - I approve, you donate.


Take note people - Kirby's face is what happens when you are full of bitterness, it ages the heck out of you. Looking like an overcooked potato out here.


And Afzali has that unstable twinkle in her eye.


She beats Kirby in looks, Matt![tongue_smile]


That is setting the bar pretty low, IMO.


Stjohn, you are right about setting the bar low, but it is the best reason for voting for any of them. It really wasn't me setting the bar, they did that to themselves.


And A LOT of alcohol. Triglycerides must be through the roof!

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This is a very sick way of thinking. Shame

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That sure got my attention. I think it will help her.


Kirby wants to continue paving over the county...people are fed up with the congestion and crowded schools. But then again, Kirby is a developer so I guess his policies are just good business practice!


He's not a developer, he's an excavator. Wonder if he'll ever be able to smell the stuff he's been shoveling.


No they aren't. Try again.

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Come on FF!


Sounds like a regular Mensa meeting. The only thing that would make it more comical would be if Shreve was the moderator.

There are just too many flaws with these candidates and their (lack of) reasoning skills to try and make sense of this. I'm a Republican but I couldn't vote for any of these people. I just don't see the depth of character or critical thinking skills necessary in them to govern rationally and effectively.


Leave the party then. We don’t want your elitist attitude!


“character or critical thinking skills” are elitist attitudes? Isn’t the whole point of the exercise is to select the superior candidate? Or is it to pick the least competent?


I mean come on, critical thinking skills asa criteria? What is there a high school term paper? How does a candidate prove that? A puzzle test?? No one is perfect..


I measure one’s critical thinking skills by their arguments and positions. Are they logical and well-thought out? Verses throwing things out there that aren’t well-thought out.


To a Delauter supporter that's a rhetorical question.




That's rich coming from a guy who didn't even know Shreve was running for State senate. Try to keep up. We don't want your uninformed opinion!


Have you seen any evidence of a campaign from billy?


And of course, from your comment above you don't even know what Kirby does for a living. Try not to confuse elitism with knowledge.


From his companies website...he doesn’t build houses but seems to do plenty of work in that space, “the company began the transition toward larger-scale municipal, government, commercial, and residential projects encompassing residential subdivisions, commercial sitework, and various municipal and government site/utility projects. “


Yes, Titan, I have.


Education and knowledge are the greatest threats to the TEAgenda


[thumbup] b42!


Sad, but true, Matt. We really don't have much choice in who to vote for in the primary and the general election should be a landslide. Kirby's letters aligning Kirby with Trump and telling everyone that Frederick County is a sanctuary for illegals isn't helping him, except for the ones that would have voted for him anyways.


Matt - [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]


Duckie Ro very, very happy. Her property rights will be upheld!


Can't tell for sure but looks like the photographer favors two of the three candidates..Just Sayin' !!

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