County Councilman Jerry Donald (D) will strive to keep his District 1 seat with an eye toward advancing the policy course he charted in his first term.
“I’d like to help the county continue on the path that we’ve been on for the past four years,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday before he kicked off his campaign at The Main Cup in Middletown.
The teacher said he would prioritize funding the school system beyond the minimum required by state law along with capital projects including the two new elementary schools under construction — Sugarloaf and Butterfly Ridge.
Another top priority for Donald would be containing sprawl, he said, and concentrating development in areas where growth and infrastructure already exist. The county will have to find space for school capacity in the eastern part of the county, he said.
The final piece of his core agenda would be to promote public safety. He cited the need for more 911 operators and sheriff’s deputies. He noted that during his term the county had added career firefighters in the budget. In August 2016, the federal government provided the county with a $6.3 million grant to fund new positions.
He said the County Council would also need to focus on a solid waste plan and examine how to deal with food waste. The last Board of County Commissioners canceled plans for an incinerator, he noted, so the current government has been exploring options to reduce landfill use.
Looking back on his term on the council, he said the county had made “mature” decisions by putting money into public safety and schools without raising taxes.
“I think we’ve given people really good, mature, local government,” he said.
Donald is a lifelong Frederick County resident who grew up in his district, in Braddock Heights.
District 1 includes southwestern portions of the county, including Brunswick, Burkittsville, Middletown and Rosemont. The district lies south of Interstate 70 and the city of Frederick and west of Md. 355.
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 2018 primary election is on June 26, and the general election follows on Nov. 6.