Primary Election: June 26, 2018

Now that the election of 2017 is over, the election of 2018 can begin!

The City of Frederick election was a big win for our community. Michael O’Connor was elected mayor- only the second Democrat elected in the last 28 years. And not only did all five of our outstanding aldermanic candidates win, but they out-polled their nearest Republican contender by over 2,000 votes!

The City election showed the power that message and manpower – and money – can have. Our team had the strongest campaign platform, knocked on the most doors, and raised the most funds. They exuded energy and enthusiasm- and Frederick voters responded! That’s the same effort we will need in 2018!

I’ve been proud to serve with Jan Gardner, M.C. Keegan-Ayer, and Jerry Donald as we have ushered in charter government for the residents of Frederick County. As one might expect with a new form of government, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. But somewhat unexpectedly, the disunity among local Republicans has ceded us a working majority on the County Council. Despite the ongoing antics by some of our Council Members, our team has carved out some impressive accomplishments:

  • For the first time, Frederick County has earned a AAA bond rating from all three rating agencies, saving taxpayers $2 million every year in debt service.
  • School construction was kept on pace for Frederick High School (now open), Sugarloaf Elementary, and Butterfly Ridge Elementary (both opening Fall 2018).
  • School funding was drastically improved , resulting in the BOE lifting our starting teacher salary from the lowest in the entire state into more competitive territory.
  • Job creation was supported through a new industrial/manufacturing tax credit and small business tax credit to support both new and expanding businesses.
  • Ethics laws were strengthened to eliminate conflicts-of-interest and create a more transparent county government.
  • We kept our commitment to senior citizens by taking control of Montevue and Citizens, revitalizing Meals on Wheels, and creating a Seniors First initiative.

I’m also pleased that some of my personal initiatives have found favor with the public and the County Council:

  • My bill to repeal the divisive English-Only Ordinance (passed by the prior BOCC) was enacted, so that Frederick County will be perceived as the welcoming community it is.
  • My bill to provide incentives for the construction of affordable rental housing was passed. One major developer has already committed to building affordable rentals instead of simply paying a fee-in-lieu, a practice which has resulted in less availability of affordable rental housing in our county.
  • Similarly, my bill increasing the Moderately Priced Dwelling Units Fee-in-Lieu was enacted.
  • Finally, my resolution to create a Frederick County Human Trafficking Task Force for the first time was passed. The Task Force will help address this terrible crime by developing community protocols for responding to and preventing human trafficking. It will present its findings in January.

FullSizeRender (12)Oh, and there is that other accomplishment that took place on May 27, 2016- the birth of my son, Jonah Kent Bigelow! He has been my companion at many official and political events in the past 18 months, and Jonah tells me he is now fired up and ready to go for 2018! (Fortunately, so is my husband Gerald!)

There is still much work to be done. Too much of our workforce can’t afford to live in Frederick County, our school system is still playing catch-up from years of flat funding, and our public safety agencies desperately need increased staffing. Our senior population is growing at a record rate and public transportation needs to be expanded. The good news is, I believe our team has the skills, drive, and support to get it done.

Now it’s time for us to take our message to the voters. So I’m contacting you to help me kick off my campaign with my first round of fundraising. Too many people have said to me: “Oh, you’re completely safe, Jessica.  You can coast and you’ll be easily re-elected.” As we learned in the elections of both 2014 and 2016, elections have far-reaching consequences and we can’t take anything for granted.

I will be raising money, knocking on doors, and reaching out to the voters of Frederick County as vigorously as I can in order to earn re-election and support the entire Democratic ticket.

Can you help me get off to a great start with a donation to my campaign? Your contribution of $200, $100, or $50 by December 31 will help our team create the year-long plan we need to ensure that Frederick County government will continue to hear progressive and experienced voices like mine.

I hope I can count on you once again. With your support, I believe 2018 will be a big Democratic year here in Frederick County and across Maryland!

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By the Authority of Friends of Jessica Fitzwater, Chelsea Kadish, Treasurer

   Friends of Jessica Fitzwater
   P.O. Box 661
   New Market, MD 21774