Russell seeking re-election as Frederick alderman -- Gazette.Net


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Alderman Kelly Russell (D) has filed to run for a second, four-year term on the Frederick Board of Aldermen, the first candidate to formally move to fill one of the five open seats in 2013.

“I love my job,” said Russell, 53, of Frederick. “I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the things that are going on in Frederick. I have a love for public service, and I’d like to continue being able to serve.”

Russell said she was most proud of the efforts of the aldermen to ban the possession, sale and use of synthetic marijuana, known as “spice,” in Frederick. The board voted to ban the substances Nov. 1.

“It was a really intense effort that involved a lot of research and partnering (with law enforcement and other agencies),” she said. “As a result, we saw a visible difference in behaviors downtown. It was three weeks of doing nothing else and coming up with something pretty innovative. It was really pretty exciting to see the process and how it all came together.”

The Frederick law was touted by several members of the county legislative delegation as a good framework for a statewide ban because it targets all drugs that affect “cannabinoid receptors,” rather than specific compounds, which can be quickly changed.

Russell is the first candidate to file for the board, whose members run at-large in the general election, with the top five vote-getters winning the seats. Aldermen earn $25,000 annually.

This year’s city primary elections will be Sept. 10, while the general election is Nov. 5.

Current Alderman Karen Young (D) has filed to run for mayor, announcing her intentions at a news conference held Jan. 25.

Russell is a former member of the Frederick Police Department, having served 22 years and retiring as commander of the Human Resources Division in 2005, according to the city’s website.

She previously served on the Neighborhood Advisory Council and the city Zoning Board of Appeals.

Russell said she enjoyed working with the city Bicycle Ad Hoc Committee, which will become a standing committee to address bicycling and pedestrian activity in the city. She served as an adviser to the mayor and aldermen on those issues.

“We’ve made a decision that bicycling and pedestrian activities are an integral part of our city, and they need to be addressed in a permanent manner,” she said.

Russell said she also appreciated the city’s efforts aimed at sustainable energy. If elected to second term, Russell said she hoped to do more to accomplish those goals, such as a potential project to install a field of solar panels near the Frederick Municipal Airport.

“I’d like to see us put more of a focus on sustainable practices and doing things like auditing our city buildings for energy use,” she said.

The current board is composed of all first-term members. In addition to Russell and Young, it includes Shelley Aloi (R), Carol Krimm (D) and Michael O’Connor (D).

Incumbent Mayor Randy McClement (R) has not indicated whether he will run for re-election to another four-year term for the $90,000-a-year job.

Several other names have also been mentioned as possible mayoral candidates, including Aloi; Del. Galen Clagett (D-Dist. 3A), who has said he will not seek a re-election as delegate; county Commissioner Billy Shreve (R); and former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty (D), who served between 2001-2005 and ran in 2009 but lost in the primary.

Gary Brooks, the owner of Barley and Hops Grill and Microbrewery and a former member of the Frederick Planning Commission who was also expected to run for mayor, announced last month he was concentrating his efforts instead on getting a ballot referendum passed to have open, nonpartisan elections in the city.

Under current election laws, only registered Republicans and Democrats can vote in their respective primaries. Any attempt to get the referendum on this year’s ballot won’t affect this year’s races.

Candidates who are registered Republicans or Democrats have until July 2 to file. Unaffiliated candidates must file by May 1. Third-party candidates must be nominated by their party by Aug. 5.

tlaino@gazette.net