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My Priorities

Mark Long Ė Candidate of Council At-large (D)

(4/2018) Frederick County has a lot going for it. From our Catoctin Mountains, farms, open landscapes and the Monocacy River; to communities that are home to families who have been here for generations as well newcomers seeking new opportunities; to the vibrancy of small companies and visitors to downtown Frederick and the activity in the suburbs circling it; to recreation, a thriving economy and the traditions of small-town parades and fire companies.

Our county is a wonderful place full of opportunities and I want to make sure it remains that way. Thatís why Iím running for County Council. This is a summary of my main priorities.

It starts with education and providing excellent schools to ensure that our children develop the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare them for future opportunities. Itís important that we fund our schools generously to attract and retain high-quality teachers, as well as dedicated support staff.

Providing our children with a good education is the engine that powers our economy.

We all want Frederick County to consist of Livable Communities. To ensure that future generations can thrive in healthy and affordable communities, itís imperative that we plan how our county changes with great care. Land-use decisions are critical because their impact is bigger than the footprint of a construction project. How growth is managed affects our schools, roads, public safety, our environment and the cost of running our county--which becomes the taxes you pay.

Affordable communities require a diverse choice of housing options. They are more healthy and cost-efficient when they are walkable, bicycle friendly, and include a robust public transit system with shopping, doctors and services that people can get to easily, even without a car.

Protecting our environment and natural resources will provide us with the opportunity to live in a community with clean air and water. This involves protecting the edges of waterways with green buffers, protecting and restoring our forest canopies, and limiting sprawl.

Investing in economic development to attract the kinds of businesses that will become part of the community fabric is crucial if we want to have good jobs with livable wages. We should continue to encourage approaches such as the Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc and the new ROOT Business and Technology Cultivation Center. Itís also important to make sure unnecessary regulations donít make it hard to do business and that we craft incentives to draw businesses that offer abundant and long-term employment opportunities.

It just makes sense that companies with high-paying jobs seek out vibrant, livable communities.

Frederick County is a thriving community, but not all our residents can take full advantage of the opportunities. A recent study conducted by United Way defined 32% of our county as "Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed." These are folks who work...work hard...often working at more than one job. But they are just barely making ends meet.

We need to work together as a community to make sure that the tools necessary to better their circumstances are readily available.

Attracting businesses that provide new jobs with livable wages is one part of the solution.

Enhancing our job training infrastructure to train or retrain workers for the jobs of the future is another.

We are a Caring CommunityÖ and should continue to be so. Our Senior Citizens should have the opportunity to continue to live here comfortably, to contribute to our community, and to lead fulfilling lives during their later years.

One critical initiative that will require many smart and caring people coming together to tackle and solve, is the opioid addiction crisis. This epidemic is draining the heart from our community. We must address it aggressively, and compassionately.

Thereís a lot going for us; and thereís a lot at stake if policymakers donít include the whole community -- and I want to make sure there is opportunity for all -- as we plan our future.

To learn more about Mark Long visit his campaign website at www.marklong.us