Before Ted Cruz rolled into Frederick on Thursday, at least one Frederick County resident had already experienced some one-on-one time with the presidential candidate.
It all started at BWI airport on Monday, when a private jet carrying Cruz hit the tarmac.
There to greet him was Frederick County Delegate William Folden, R-District 3B.
Cue the “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” references.
The delegate was tapped to drive Cruz from the airport to a Towson campaign rally for a few reasons: He’s an elected Republican, he’s a cop, and he’s got a big truck.
“We trust in your driving and who you are,” Folden said Cruz representatives told him. So Folden, his son and his nephew hit the road.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to ride around with a candidate for president,” Folden said.
It turns out, having the kids in the car allowed them to snap a couple of shots of their time on the tarmac waiting for the candidate.
“Now I understand what it means when everybody says I look like a cop. I see it now,” Folden said of photos showing him greeting Cruz near a private plane. “People said all you’re missing is an earpiece and then you’re part of the Secret Service.”
Folden said Cruz sat in the back of the truck, but not in an awkward “I’m a cop putting you in the back seat” kind of way.
Folden wasn’t the only excited politico to trek to Towson to see Ted.
Sen. Michael Hough, R-District 4, the chairman of the Cruz campaign in Maryland, introduced Cruz and past presidential candidate Carly Fiorina at that event.
An excited Wednesday afternoon email from Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-District 4, traced the evolution of her feelings for Cruz.
She was thrilled to see Cruz coming to town — “I invited Senator Cruz to Frederick County” — but wasn’t a big fan until this week — “I have to admit I was a bit on the fence about Ted, but after I met him in Towson on Monday I was sold.”
Afzali acknowledged she wasn’t the only person who’d invited Cruz to Frederick County. “Ok, I wasn’t the only one but, I can’t help but think I persuaded him,” she wrote.
But was it her persuasion? Or her daughter’s?
On Monday, Afzali was meeting Cruz when her cellphone rang. It was her daughter, Mary-Kate, on the line.
“Not only did he answer the phone but talked to her for about 3 minutes,” Afzali reported. “He’s a sweetheart. I’m sold!”
Apparently, that relationship stuck. Ahead of Cruz’s rally on Thursday, Hough picked Afzali to pick up the candidate from the airport. And if Cruz’s camp was impressed with Folden’s driving skills, they may have had a different review of the Afzali Cab Service. “My husband went slow, because I needed to talk to Ted,” Afzali said. “We had a lot to talk about.”
Budget bandied about
County Executive Jan Gardner’s budget announcement last Friday included a new little nugget. Well, five of them.
Gardner said she extended an invitation to all seven Frederick County Council members to talk about the budget, including a list of their priorities. Five members took her up on the offer: Democrats Jerry Donald, M.C. Keegan-Ayer and Jessica Fitzwater and Republicans Bud Otis and Tony Chmelik.
Gardner said she couldn’t meet all of their requests, but each was considered in her proposal.
Councilmen Billy Shreve and Kirby Delauter, also Republicans, didn’t take Gardner up on the offer, apparently.
It seems they have other plans.
Shreve, who is still upset the council doesn’t have a dedicated budget officer, gave handouts to his colleagues, showing that they are the only council in the state without such help. Nevertheless, Shreve said he was going to dig into the numbers.
“I’m going to work on this budget. Look at it. See if we can make some changes,” he said Tuesday. One major change he pitched included scrapping a plan to keep the county’s property tax rate steady — which will yield increased revenue — and instead lower the rate and cut spending.
“The easiest solution ... is if you have the same amount of revenue as you did last year, you adopt the same budget you did last year,” Shreve said.
Delauter said he is also working on the budget, hoping to include an alternate spending plan, as he did last year.
Shreve also suggested changing the council’s budget timeline.
“The way it should work, in my world — which is a great place to be; you guys should try it some time — is we should actually talk about the budget throughout the year and formulate our own budget,” Shreve said.
During the comment period at the end of the night, Donald said he and other council members have been working on the budget for the last few months.
“A lot of work has gone into this budget. A lot of us have participated,” Donald said. “I fully encourage my fellow members of the council to speak with the county executive and participate in the budget that way ... not just being on the receiving end.”