James Rada, Jr.
Emmitsburg News Journal
(4/1) Frederick County Commissioner Kai Hagen, a northern county resident, kicked off his re-election campaign on March 24 at a rally in Frederick attended by more than 200 supporters. Hagen says he originally
ran for office in 2006 because the vision he shared for the county with his supporters wasn't being reflected in the decisions the board at the time.
"I've remained true to the vision I presented when I was elected then, we have made some significant progress toward that end, and I want to build on that foundation, rather than see it dismantled by the next board," Hagen says.
Some of the issues that he wants to build on include responsible growth, adequate infrastructure, preservation rural landscape and communities, forwarding-looking land use and efficient fiscal management. He wants to be able to do this, particularly the last point, without raising taxes.
"By the completion of the FY2011 budget, county government will be $50-60 million smaller than it was at the beginning of the FY2009 budget, and yet we haven't even considered raising taxes," Hagen says.
He added that the county's fiscal management policies have not only trimmed the size of county government, but have allowed the county's bond rating to be upgraded during a time when the many governments, including the federal government, have had or are in danger of having their bond
One thing Hagen would like to change that has happened during his tenure on the board is the pursuit of a county waste-to-energy facility. He said it will be nothing more than a regional incinerator located less than three miles from downtown Frederick, near residential communities and
schools, along the state scenic Monocacy River, and looming over the Monocacy National Battlefield Park.
"Although four commissioners have supported and approved that project, the inescapable fact is that if three people are elected to the next board who are committed to reversing course, we will have the opportunity to do that...before bonds are issued and construction can begin," Hagen says.
Hagen acknowledges that some of his positions on issues have allowed him to be characterized as "no growth," but he says although we have reduced growth areas and worked to minimize sprawl, the new comprehensive plan is a responsible plan that accommodates enough growth (in the right places)
to meet the state's 20-year population projection for the county."
Hagen, who lives just south of Emmitsburg, is the only county commissioner from the northern region of Frederick County. He feels that his position as a commissioner is a benefit to residents in the northern region of the county. His knowledge of the issues that affect people in this region
influences his decisions about all sorts of issues that affect local residents.
"People up here appreciate what we have now, and I'm committed to making sure we preserve what we love about this area, while planning well for a compatible and appropriate sort of growth and economic development," he says. "Anyone who thinks that rapid or massive residential growth in the
north county is the path to prosperity should vote for someone else!"
His new campaign web site at www.kaihagen.com should be up by the middle of April.
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