Joe Volz: Frederick election will be the big political news of 2013 -- Gazette.Net


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Now that we have just finished the 2012 election season, it is time to look toward this yearís voting. The big local election in 2013 will be for Frederick mayor and the city Board of Aldermen.

In the mayoralty race, although no one has officially declared, there are two candidates sounding as if they might be running.

The incumbent, Randy McClement, who sold his bagel business to become a full-time politician a few years ago, might take another shot. He hasnít made any waves — or excited anyone in town. But that may be to his advantage; he hasnít antagonized too many people, either.

McClement is certainly no Blaine Young. Not only is McClement not as well-known, he really doesnít have a professional propaganda machine and is not pumping out news releases on much of anything except street closings.

But thatís not all bad. Residents donít want great pronouncements on the mighty issues of our times. Young is bound to tell us about his grand designs for Frederick Countryís future at bargain-basement rates.

McClement shows up with coat and tie at a number of official events but he is no fashion plate like Young. Of course, Blaine, whose father, Ron, was Frederick mayor for years and his now a state senator, is not eligible to run for mayor. He doesnít live in the city and, anyhow, he says the only job he wants is governor.

So McClement doesnít seem to have much competition on the Republican horizon.

On the Democratic side, I think Alderman Karen Young — Ron Youngís wife — will run for mayor although she has not announced officially. She says she is exploring her options.

But she doesnít seem to lust for another term as alderman. She keeps talking about McClementís deficiencies, and how she could do things better. It could be quite a contest.

Meanwhile, there doesnít seem to be anyone else on the board interested in running for mayor.

The city is bulging at the seams now with about 60,000 inhabitants and being mayor is a full-time job. Housing, roads and basic infrastructure are big issues. Young has the experience and leadership to do the job. And so does McClement. So, it could be an interesting battle.

I predict both will decide to run.

The following year, the new county charter government will be formed, with a county executive and seven county council members. Itís a little too early to figure out who will be involved in that one, although county Commissioner Billy Shreve says he wants to run for county executive.

The name of Jan Gardner, former president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, has also been mentioned. She might want to bring back Ron Hart as county manager.

So, it will be an interesting few years, with a new crop of public servants running for council seats.

No matter what happens, itís hard to see the size of either the city or county governments shrinking. If the federal government shrinks some of its services, they may have to be taken up by local governments.

Joe Volz, a former Pulitzer Prize finalist, has written for newspapers in New York and Washington. You can reach him at volzjoe2003@yahoo.com