Does candidate Regina Williams have what it takes to knock Gardner from her well-rooted perch at the top of county government?
Last week in part 1 of this series, I began an exposé on the republican candidates vying for the opportunity to challenge Jan Gardner, who seeks her second and final term as Frederick County County Executive.
Kirby Delauter was featured then, and Kathy Afzali will be next week.
Let's consider what Candidate Regina Willams has to offer:
Trained as a certified public accountant who grew up on the family dairy farm in Johnsville in northern Frederick County. Regina is the daughter of Debbie Williams, the well-known and multi-talented founder of the Patty Pollatos Fund, Inc., a 501-c-3 corporation. While Regina has worked in the corporate world at AOL/Time Warner in Connecticut, when she resettled in Frederick, she took a job as the Budget Officer in the Finance Division of Frederick County Government for 14 years. During those years, she was responsible for preparing and presenting multi-year projections to the three different New York Bond Rating Agencies, all of which have recognized Frederick County with a triple-A rating.
Williams’ campaign platform is straight forward. She wants to put a stop to “the ever-increasing property taxes and other fees that county residents are experiencing” and ensure that “seniors on fixed income aren’t taxed out of their homes.” She also pledges to address the growth and land development debate with a “sensible” resolution.
Candidate Williams is a strong proponent of expanding the county’s tax base with new and expanding businesses, which is supported with well managed residential growth. She wants to remove the red-tape from the permitting process and make the local government more business friendly.
From her website, which elaborates further on her plans for economic development:
“Train an excellent workforce through expansion of mentoring and apprenticeship programs while promoting high school work studies, internships, and pride in vocational training."
“Emphasis on Job Growth to provide more opportunities for County residents to work locally instead of commuting. This can be done by attracting major employers to the region through lower taxes and fees and a business-friendly climate.”
To a degree, Williams may have an ax to grind with the County Executive, as it wasn’t too long after Gardner defeated her opponent, and former president of the Frederick County Commissioner President, Blaine Young, and removed Williams from her post as the top budget officer in county government. A real ruckus emerged from that with claims that Gardner expelled Williams from the job because she and Young had been romantically involved for a time. When the dust settled, Williams reached a legal financial settlement with the county when she agreed to resign from her position in 2015.
As it stands now, Regina Williams has been campaigning hard with many republican supporters carrying her banners and knocking on doors throughout the county. She is well spoken and preaches for a new era of civility and collaboration in local government. As reported in the Frederick News post last month, she has received more than $20,000 in contributions thus far this year.
Can she pull out a victory over Delauter and Afzali in the Republican Primary later this month? That is the first test for this candidate before she can face off with Gardner in November.