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Jennifer Charlton – Candidate for County Council At Large

(6/1) I have a servant’s heart and love serving those in need. After many years in the for-profit sector as an entrepreneur and sales and marketing professional, I have found my calling as executive director of Mission of Mercy. Running a $2.2 M nonprofit that makes a difference in the lives of thousands of patients by providing life-saving health and dental care, without government funding, is very rewarding. Offering my leadership as an At Large member of the county council was a natural next step.

Every day I lead by five principles that I will bring to the council to ensure that our charter government delivers an efficient, effective and responsive local government.

Personal Responsibility - Fundamentally, I believe that the government doesn’t take care of people, people take care of people. Real effectiveness comes when we take personal responsibility particularly when federal accountability is so lacking.

Respect for the Individual – Since this political journey began, I’ve been struck by the nasty practices of politics. I am disheartened when I hear negative rhetoric rather than respectful dialogue that promotes creative and solution-driven civil discourse. Ultimately, we must focus on principles-based leadership that honors voters, opponents and supporters alike. Let’s restore "statesman politics" to the local elective process.

Fiscal Conservatism – I’m a Reagan conservative. I believe in low taxes, decentralized power and a strict interpretation of that inspired document known as the U.S. Constitution. Currently we live in an era of creeping government responsibility for the people – rather than by the people – which has translated into our bloated and derelict bureaucratic government. Likewise our state corporate tax structure deeply affects our local businesses, job creation and economy. This stifling constraint on our businesses must be adjusted to empower rather than impede our competitiveness with neighboring states. Finally, we must grow or we’ll roll backwards; but that growth comes in many shapes and sizes – including growth that preserves our lovely rural feel, adequate road systems and schools. As for school overcrowding, the BOE should consider school redistricting and realignment of services to address the excess capacity issues in more than 13 schools. As politically charged as it may be, we adjust our political districts based on the census every 10 years; the school system should do the same to make best use of our available resources in educating our youth. Constructing schools at a cost of $40-60 million must be our last solution to this important issue.

Compassionate Leadership – Conservatives are often mischaracterized as cold-hearted, profit-driven and harsh but the opposite is true. Conservatism is more caring, offering freedom to choose – not mandates that force political outcomes. Similarly, caring leadership is about listening to the people’s concerns and being responsive to their needs.

As a local legislator, I will promote policies that protect individual liberty and property rights while delivering an accountable government. We will need a leadership team that is collaborative and represents the diversity of our party and community – be it age, ethnicity, or gender– without compromising competency and effectiveness. Our first-ever county council must build our economy, workforce, and infrastructure, without over-burdening our businesses or over-taxing our citizens or we run the risk of becoming a bloated government.

National issues have and will continue to affect our families, businesses and local economy. Healthcare reform is a mess! The healthcare industry has been plunged into turmoil, costing taxpayers billions! The healthcare gap has expanded to include our middleclass. A whole new level of financial burden has been bestowed upon our hard-working, job creating middle class, many of whom are small business owners. These issues will continue to impact us as people have to access care somehow…either at free clinics such as Mission of Mercy or at the hospital Emergency Department.

Integrity – Restoring fiscal responsibility and providing compassionate leadership with grace, is a matter of political integrity. I am honored to be endorsed by the Emmitsburg News-Journals as a candidate to serve you. Thank you and may God Bless us in this important transition!

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