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"Why I'm running"

County Council Candidate Justin Kiska

(12/2017) To a lot of people "politics" is a dirty word. And when you watch the news and hear about all of the fighting going on between our elected officials, itís no wonder people donít look too fondly on politicians. At the local level though, we need to put the ideological battles and differences aside and, as they say, "keep the trains running on time."

Allow me to introduce myself. Iím Justin Kiska and last month I announced my candidacy for one of the two At-Large seats on the Frederick County Council.

Iím a proud Republican and while I was going to school and working in Washington, DC, I was fortunate enough to have grown up at the feet of such giants as Jack Kemp, Bill Bennett, and Bob and Elizabeth Dole. While I was in college, I joined Elizabeth Doleís 2000 presidential campaign then spent time as a policy intern at Empower America, Jack Kemp and Bill Bennettís conservative think tank. After that, I returned to Secretary Doleís office, where my first job out of college was as her Special Assistant and Scheduling Director. Getting to see such luminaries in action on a daily basis taught me what public service really means and that itís more important to show up and do something than to get bogged down in petty personal battles.

Iíve always been amazed by Frederick County's potential. Itís a community grounded in its history but always looking to its future. Growing up here, I knew what was possible. Thatís why I came back to Frederick County after my time in Washington so I could join my family in starting our company. We purchased The Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, located on the Golden Mile in the City of Frederick in 2002. In 2012, because of my interest in the west side of Frederick, Mayor Randy McClement appointed me to the board of directors of what would become The Golden Mile Alliance, a group designed to help with the revitalization and redevelopment of that area of the city. For the five years I was on the board, I served on the organizationís Executive Committee Ė my last three years as its president.

As a business owner for the last 15 years, the idea of accomplishing things has become more and more important to me. Iím not interested in fighting political and ideological battles at Winchester Hall. I want to work on finding ways to encourage the county and its residents to thrive as we continue into the 21st Century.

While thereís no way to know what all of the issues will be that come up in the next few years, the promise I can make is that whatever they are, I will approach each with an open mind and always look for the answers that will benefit Frederick County as a whole. I may not always make the popular decision but I won't take any vote I cast lightly.

Sometimes, thatís going to mean disagreeing with the County Executive. Over the last three years, there have been a number of times where I feel the Council has missed its chance to exercise its power as the legislative arm of our government, instead making itself subservient to the County Executive, as opposed to a true check and balance. The next County Council needs to take steps to provide a true balance in Winchester Hall. After all, theyíre there to represent the resident of Frederick just as much as the County Executive.

Over the next few months, Iím going to take some time and use this space to explain where I stand on some of the Ďbigí issues that will be discussed during the campaign like education, growth and development, and the budget. I look forward to continuing this conversation, but in the meantime, I hope youíll take a moment to visit to learn more about me and why Iím running for the County Council.

We need to take advantage of the amazing opportunities we have before us. We already know that Frederick County is a great place to live, but I believe if we work together, we can make it even better.

Iíll see you on the campaign trail!

Read other articles by Justin Kiska