Education is the biggest investment we make with our county tax dollars. As Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) moves beyond the pandemic to address learning losses, our schools must receive the necessary funding to recover and ensure every student can realize their individual potential.
Increased investment in FCPS will make it possible to recruit and retain excellent teachers and reduce class sizes. Renee will vote for dedicated funding to competitively compensate teachers and the support staff members who feed and transport students to school.
Renee understands how high-quality Special Education can change the course of a child's life. Her son received Special Education services for the entire time he attended FCPS. From being identified in kindergarten through receiving transitional services for high school graduation, dedicated teachers and staff helped prepare him to be as successful as he is today. Responsive county budgets must reflect our commitment to the success of all students in Frederick County
The Internet is a basic need for residents and businesses. The future economic growth of Frederick County is dependent on continuing advancements in broadband infrastructure and WiFi capabilities. These technologies accelerate business, attract companies to the county, and help solve education access and transportation congestion issues.
Technology often moves faster than government, but we should strive to be as responsive and forward thinking as possible. Working to build connections between state and local government and private companies to expand broadband to the last mile in Frederick County helps students do their work, at-home businesses alleviate traffic, and farms operate with greater efficiency.
Many residents struggle to afford private access to the Internet and rely on public sources of WiFi, using mobile smartphones. This problem is made worse if the device being used is older. As older cellular networks are phased out, many county residents will be left without any Internet access. Building connections between government and ISPs to expand WiFi access serves the needs of the people and the county's growing technological economy.
Over 40% of employed Frederick County residents commute outside the county to work in one of the most congested regions in the nation. Efficient and accessible transportation drives our local economy and contributes to the quality of life in Frederick County. Whether you are a DMV commuter or a resident in need of reliable, resilient, and robust public transportation, government must respond to these needs as the county continues to develop and the population grows.
Federal sources of pandemic recovery funding can start long needed projects. Responsible county budgets will be required to maintain adequate capital reserves and Frederick County's AAA bond rating. Successful partnership with federal, state, and local stakeholders will be required to realize needed projects. All will be essential to helping make the large scale investments to move all residents, visitors, and business people into, out of, and around Frederick County in the years ahead.
Climate change will affect Frederick County infrastructure in the coming decades. Proactive planning is critical to avoiding expensive and reactionary fixes that impact county budgets and threaten property values, employment, and the quality of life in the county. We must start adjusting our thinking about roads, water and sewer use, and electrical and communications lines, to make them more resilient in the face of weather extremes that will affect the county.
Building climate resilience in Frederick County is good for business and increasingly required for public safety. More flooding rains and power outages will increase the need for investment in emergency services and road repair. County government can also connect with the farming community to anticipate difficulties caused by more frequent and severe weather events and be responsive to needs that may arise from the local affects of climate change.
Good communication and good planning will enable Frederick County to continue to grow in ways that benefit our community, our economy, and our environment. We have the Livable Frederick Master Plan to guide our fiscal and land use decisions. Preserving agricultural land maintains our rural quality of life and supports Frederick County’s significant agricultural economy. We have invested in parks and trails available to all county residents to enjoy. I am committed to continuing land preservation wherever possible.
At the same time, we can continue to promote job growth within Frederick County, and we can accommodate this growth. We can welcome new and evolving industries. A successful partnership with transparency and communication between industries and county government is essential for responsible growth that benefits county residents and businesses.
If you would like to know more about The Livable Frederick Master Plan, you can find it here-