Shannon Bohrer is a gun-toting member of the National Rifle Association.
A retired Maryland State Police sergeant, he’s a self-described law-and-order candidate and an avid defender of the U.S. Constitution. He opposes most tax breaks and fee waivers, whether for a multimillion-dollar corporation, a small business or an affordable housing developer.
He’s also a Democrat who supports stricter background checks for gun owners and funding for social welfare programs. He hopes his moderate ideology and emphasis on civility will be enough to flip the Frederick County Council District 5 seat from red to blue in the November election.
As a political newcomer who has never run for or held elected office, Bohrer, 71, admitted he did not know all the answers. No one does, he said.
But what knowledge he lacks, he pledged to solicit by bringing together experts from all perspectives — naming farmers, conservationists and developers as examples — to best serve county residents. And to do it in a civil way.
“You can disagree with someone, but you don’t need to be disagreeable,” he said. “I want to work with everyone, to communicate and to recognize different viewpoints, disagreements ... with civility.”
He summed up his platform in a single phrase: “managing growth.” Whether it’s roads and infrastructure, emergency services or education, all stem from the single issue of how best to regulate and plan for the county’s future development, he said.
He pointed to the shortfall in school construction funding as an example of the consequences of lack of long-term planning. He also acknowledged that even policies that resulted from forward thinking might need a tune-up.
The county’s participation in the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program was initially a benefit for area farmers, offering them compensation in exchange for signing over development rights on their properties, he said. But he has seen in recent years how the program backfired on some participants, who are now unable to sell their land because of the preservation restrictions.
The balance between economic growth and environmental conservation was “tricky,” he said, labeling himself an environmentalist who believes in global warming, but not “an avid advocate.”
As owner of a 27-acre hay farm and member of the Frederick County Farm Bureau, he’s well aware of the interests and hardships faced by the Frederick farming community. Specifically, he cited the impact of the declining dairy industry on local farmers, pledging to fight for regulation at the federal level while working on creative solutions locally, such as a co-op program.
Other topics he was unfamiliar with, including the county’s participation in federal immigrations enforcement’s 287(g) program and the specifics of poverty that disproportionately affects the county’s northern residents.
Bohrer is the sole Democrat in the race for the County Council District 5 seat. He is joined by two Republicans: fellow law enforcement officer William Valentine, who works for Westminster police, and Michael Blue, owner of Brownie’s Auto Repair in Walkersville. Incumbent Kirby Delauter (R) will instead run for the county executive seat.
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.