William Valentine’s roots in northern Frederick County run deep — eight generations deep, he said.
Since he is the grandson of dairy farmers who still lives in the house near Emmitsburg that his dad built in the late 1950s, northern Frederick County’s unique history and identity runs through his blood.
“It’s my home, who I am,” Valentine, 46, said in a recent interview. “That community is special to me.”
He now hopes to represent that community before a wider audience by representing the Frederick County Council’s District 5. Valentine, a Republican, entered the race earlier this month. He remained the only candidate as of Thursday, according to the state Board of Elections website.
Valentine touted his knowledge of the district’s people and most pressing issues, combined with a lifelong interest in local politics, as the impetus for his first bid for elected office.
To that end, he named promoting and protecting the county’s agricultural economy as one of his top priorities if elected.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” he said of area farmland.
Paving the way for new and existing small businesses, which he defined as those with under 200 employees, was also a focus for Valentine, as was public safety — an area he was well-versed in from his career with the Westminster Police Department.
As it related to Frederick County, though, Valentine named public safety priorities that included not just law enforcement, but emergency communications, the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, and fire and ambulance companies. The Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Co., for example, had suffered from understaffing and could benefit from county assistance, including possibly funding.
Asked how he proposed to change or strengthen county policies relating to agricultural preservation and business regulation, he was unable to offer specifics. He said he wanted to research current policies and seek feedback from relevant parties first.
Though he described himself as a fiscal conservative, Valentine also said he was not opposed to spending money where it was needed. And his careful following of local politics, as well as work experience with Westminster police, made him well-versed in the budget process, he said.
He also pointed to his professional experience as one that taught him to listen to all perspectives, something he pledged to carry to the council if elected.
“It doesn’t matter to me if you’re a Republican or a Democrat,” he said. “I work with different viewpoints every single day. I’ve learned to be calm, to listen to other sides.”
That included learning more about the other areas of the county outside of District 5, he said.
Asked how his philosophy compared with that of incumbent Councilman Kirby Delauter (R), who has declared his intent to run for the county executive, Valentine said he was just as passionate, but more reserved in his style.
Unlike other candidates who have entered council races, some of whom have held announcement and kickoff events even before filing their candidacy paperwork, Valentine planned to postpone a kickoff event until the spring.
His outreach to local residents, however, would begin in the next few weeks, he said.
“I’m a big ‘why’ guy,” he said. “I’ll listen to what you have to say, but I want the data, the research, the reasoning to back that up.”
District 5 spans the northern part of Frederick County.
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.