Monrovia resident Steve McKay wants to switch seats in the Frederick County Council chambers.

McKay, best known as the president of RALE and a frequent commenter at council meetings, will seek election to represent District 2 in 2018.

The Republican will step down from his position with RALE to pursue the office, but the organization will carry on, McKay said. RALE, or Residents Against Landsdale Expansion, was formed five years ago to voice opposition to the proposed Monrovia Town Center and several other developments in the county.

McKay has been a staunch opponent of the amount of development approved by the former Board of County Commissioners between 2010 and 2014. And while he thinks the current County Council has taken a more measured approach to growth, he’s concerned about what the council could look like in 2018.

“I look at it from the standpoint of public service,” McKay said recently. “When you’re going to be as critical of others doing that job — as I have admittedly been — then you have to be prepared to step in and do it yourself.”

It’s McKay’s first time seeking elected office.

While he’s always considered himself a Republican, McKay said that political designation shouldn’t matter as much at the local level.

“I think the point to remember is that development isn’t a partisan issue. It’s a money issue. It just happens that the last Board of County Commissioners, who were all Republicans, embraced development so strongly,” McKay said. “If you look at Montgomery County, long run by Democratic legislators, they’ve also long been controlled by development interests, in my opinion.”

In recent years, McKay has advocated for changes to the county’s ethics laws to reduce the campaign finance influence of developers.

He applauded recent compromise legislation between Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner (D) and Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) that could take effect before the height of the 2018 election season, if passed quickly by the General Assembly. The compromise bill requires nonelected members of some county boards to step down if they run for office to avoid outside influence and expands a prohibition on campaign donations to County Council members from people related to pending development projects. It wasn’t McKay’s ideal version of the legislation, but he’s glad to see a bill moving forward.

“That’s compromise and that’s what you have to do,” McKay said. “... You need to be able to accept the fact that someone else has some of the answers. You don’t have all the answers. And in the best interests of the community as a whole, you compromise.”

For his own campaign, McKay said he will not accept any donations from developers.

Ultimately, McKay said, his campaign boils down to three things: development, ethics and “government that works.”

That means, he said, he would work with other council members and Gardner to solve problems. “I don’t think being a member of the council should automatically mean an adversarial relationship with the county executive under the standard of checks and balances. And we’ve been seeing that. I really dislike that,” McKay said. “You know, this is local government. Those two branches need to work together for the betterment of the community.”

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.

District 2 includes southeastern portions of the county, including Libertytown, Monrovia, New Market, and portions of Urbana and Mount Airy.

The district is currently represented by Councilman Tony Chmelik (R).

The 2018 primary election is on June 26, and the general election follows on Nov. 6.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(62) comments

SJOP

Not getting my vote. Too anti growth.

KarlBickel

Having had the opportunity to work with Steve as a RALE Board member, as well as receiving his support, criticism, and positive contributions in addressing the county’s ethics ordinance; I found Steve to be a highly principled leader. Steve keeps an open mind, solicits input from others and is committed to transparency in government while focusing on the big picture. He will make an excellent council member.

hayduke2

[thumbup][thumbup]

des21

I'm so glad you decided to do this Steve. You have my support in every way imaginable. Dave

elymus43

The people of Frederick county more people like Mr. McKay to run for county council.

KellyAlzan

now we just need to get former FCPD Chief Kim Dine to run for Sheriff

valerie_dale

Christmas came early this year to the citizens of District 2 with the gift of your filing! I have had the pleasure of working with you and RALE over the past 5 years. You are relentlessly hardworking, a fast learner, a person committed to doing their homework and to the facts! You are patient but strong in your convictions, though always willing to listen to and work with others. I am a proud Dem who will be voting for you, and will be supporting you in any way I can. I know you have made sure RALE is in good hands, and I know they will continue to be strong and effective. Congratulations, Steve - your willingness to run for office and serve the people not only of District 2, but of the entire county, is deeply appreciated!

hayduke2

[thumbup][thumbup]

Tigerzord

Thank you Val.

KellyAlzan

now we just need to get Lennie Thompson to run for a seat

cctjr64

I’m moving to D2 just to vote for Steve in the primary

Tigerzord

[lol][lol][lol]

stevemckay

Outstanding!

DickD

Good luck, Steve! If I was Tony Chelmik, I wouldn't run again. He has already shown he is one of the three stooges. If you can win the primary, you will win the election. But please do me one favor. If Tony decides to run at large, change from District 2 to an at large candidate and run against him. I guarantee, you will win!

KellyAlzan

[thumbup][thumbup]

stevemckay

Thank you Dick

lobo4109

Thank you so much Steve for running for office of District 2. I am feeling for the first time since charter government that all of us here in District 2 will be heard, listened to and respected. You do know that there are a lot of people in this district that already respect you so much for what you have already done for the community. So from the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU.

stevemckay

Thank you for the kind words lobo

rnrbug

Much needed in our local govt. Someone that looks out for ALL and not just a few select folks. You got our vote for sure Steve!!

stevemckay

Thank you!

FrederickFan

This is great news for District 2 voters and Frederick County as a whole. McKay is a man of integrity who has already proven to be a tireless champion of the taxpayer.

McKay is correct. Residential growth is not an issue of party, it's an issue of ethics.
Just because in recent history it's been the Republicans at the local level selling out the County to residential developers for campaign contributions, doesn't mean a Republican can't also stand up for taxpayers like McKay.

This is terrible news for Tony Chmelik, who has done absolutely nothing for District 2 voters except to awkwardly support the disasterous Monrovia Town Center. Chmelik's hopes for re-election now resemble a severely over cooked slice of bread, i.e., TOAST.

KellyAlzan

are you for certain that Tony was/is planning to run again?

stevemckay

Thank you FredFan, I appreciate your support

stevemckay

Thank you for all the kind words folks! If you'd like more information or to stay in touch with me as we travel down this road, you have a couple options:

"Like" my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SteveMcKay4FrederickCounty/

Email - steve@mckay4frederickcounty.org

Twitter - @McKay4FredCo

Webpage - www.McKay4FrederickCounty.org (altho give me some time, the page is still under construction)

Lastly, if you'd like to contribute to the campaign, I'd really appreciate it! You can do it via PayPal - paypal.me/McKay4FredCo

stevemckay

and just in case ... that post was authorized by Friends of Steve McKay 4 Frederick County. Jenn Rucker, Treasurer.

Gotta keep it legal! :-)

KellyAlzan

[thumbup][thumbup]

Tigerzord

Steve has been committed to working FOR the community for the past 5 years already, he's got my vote! [beam]

stevemckay

Thanks Tigerzord! ;-)

hayduke2

Tiger - [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

jerseygrl42

This is great news, a person of integrity , a much needed attribute in Frederick, who has fought the good fight for 5 years against over development brought to this area by successive administrations which caved in to the likes of Natelli , Matan and others every wish...he is a Republican who will vote ISSUES rather than party and he deserves our votes!

Tigerzord

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

stevemckay

Thanks Jerseygrl!

BstD59

Good luck, Steve. I'm unable to vote for you but would do so without reservation if I lived in your district.

stevemckay

Thanks!

KellyAlzan

Good guy. (Even though deep down inside he has a prejudice of truckers LOL)

I would vote for Steve without any hesitation.

But I was thinking about this a few weeks ago. See, Steve was successful in achieving what we wanted achieved with Monrovia because HE ISNT a government official. Once he becomes a government official, and he will, he won’t be able to be a watch dog. I feel his watch dog status was more of benefltlit and more powerful than any county leader could ever effectively be. [scared]

stevemckay

Thanks Kelly. I know we don't always agree, but I always respect the discussion. Interesting observation about being a watch dog vs a legislator. I aim to be both!

DeltaOne

I live in district 2, I am a Democrat, but I will GLADLY vote for Steve McKay in his bid for a county council position. I'm very happy Steve McKay is running for our county council.

stevemckay

Thank you!

Titanman123

We do not need another pro-Jan Republican on the board. We have one already in Benedict Bud.

FrederickFan

If by "pro-Jan" you mean a Republican like Steve McKay who is trustworthy, will follow the rules, and will not sell out the taxpayers like your boys Blaine Young, Kirby Delauter, Tony Chmelik, and Billy Shreve?

Hell yes! Bring him on. McKay has my full support. Thanks for running Mr. McKay.

stevemckay

Thank you FrederickFan!

DickD

If Benedict Bud and Tony are both running at large, both will win!

DickD

Sorry, I meant to say" "If Benedict Bud and Steve are both running at large, both will win!

shiftless88

Go get 'em. I'm not in your district but if I were I would vote for you (and I'm a D). Your clear commitment to the good of the county is apparent to all. With Tony, not so much.

stevemckay

Thank you!

hayduke2

Excellent candidate.

stevemckay

Thanks hayduke!

rbtdt5

Go Steve! most around here will hate you because you are an R but you will win! Most of your area has you back

phydeaux994

You are wrong. Steve is highly respected throughout the County and will get many Democratic votes in the General Election.

KellyAlzan

Taking his comment to an extreme. Read RTB’s comment again, and with a different tone.

Geeze, people are so uptight..........

phydeaux994

[huh][huh][huh][sleeping]

stevemckay

Thank you!

hayduke2

phy [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

shiftless88

why even say crap like that?

KellyAlzan

Is there a poll to back this up?

stevemckay

Thank you. Of course, hate is such a strong word, but I get your point. There are certainly many people who will only vote along party lines. It's a shame really and it's part of the polarization we have today. It will only stay that way if we let it.

Tigerzord

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][ban]

Tigerzord

Oops, fat fingers (no ban)

DickD

Here is one Democrat that will vote for you, if you run at large against Chelmik![thumbup]

threecents

Robert, We only hate R's who are AH's.

DickD

You don't need to worry about Steve, Rabbit. Steve is very well liked and party has nothing to do with it!

Nicki


To say that people will hate him because of his political affiliation is plain idiotic!
This D ♡'s Steve!

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