Delegate Kathy Afzali (R-District 4) said she was “in it to win it” on the latest episode of Frederick Uncut to discuss her run for Frederick County executive.
Afzali said her competitive spirit was in some ways forged in her former career as a dancer of relatively short stature on Broadway. She appeared in “Cats,” “Peter Pan” and “Grease.”
In that regard, she revealed that her biggest regret — not only in politics but in life — was entering a 2012 congressional race she was destined to lose. Afzali had heard that incumbent Roscoe Bartlett was going to bow out of the election that year, but he didn’t. Afzali ended up losing to him in the 6th District primary by a vote of 17,600 to 4,115 and garnering the ire of local Republicans.
“It was really painful, and people hated me,” she said. “I mean, the venom!”
Despite her competitive streak, she touted the importance of fostering a more collaborative environment in county government.
When asked her opinion of charter government, she said: “It’s hard to know if the problem is with the charter, or if the problem is with the personalities of the people that got elected this term under the charter. What I see is bickering. I see fighting. I see people that can’t get along.”
Working with others is something she learned in her two terms as a delegate, she said, even if it meant not getting credit for it.
Afzali also addressed her own political acrimony with Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. In 2015, she sent texts calling him a “wimp” and “phony” at a fire company banquet after he criticized her on local radio. Jenkins shared the texts publicly. Afzali said she regretted that the sheriff went public with the spat and that it should have been handled privately.
Afzali presented broad strokes of the agenda she would pursue if elected county executive, saying she would maintain close relationships with the business community.
She said she would consider trimming county executive staff to focus on hiring public safety employees. Funding the schools would be another priority, she said, within the limits of the budget.
“I don’t think any teacher is paid enough, but the question is, can I double their salary? Probably not. Do I think they’re worthy of doubling their salary? Probably so,” she said.
Afzali said the biggest overall issue facing Frederick County is development. Her goal would be to make sure that infrastructure is in place before developments move forward.