She was elected by her colleagues on Wednesday.
For the first time, an elected official from Frederick City is the chairwoman of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Board of Directors. Alderwoman Karen Lewis Young was elected to the position on Wednesday.
"It certainly will be a challenge, but that is part of the reason I accepted this position," says Young. "I look forward to it because I feel it's really important to the greater Frederick Community."
In the past, Young says Frederick was often treated by fellow COG members as "a distant third cousin," but that's changing. "We really are part of the Washington Capital region. Many of the challenges we face today are regional in nature," she says.
Among those challenges are transportation funding, air and water quality, economic development and how the "sequestration" will impact the region. Earlier this month, Congress put off any decision on deep federal budget cuts until February. "Our region is affected by 'sequestration' more than any other region in the country," says Young.
She says Wash-COG will be taking the lead on "sequestration," and other issues during her term as chairwoman.
While some local elected leaders have questioned the value of Frederick City and the County's membership in Wash-COG, Young says both jurisdictions do get some benefits by being a part of the Council of Government. One is access to grants. "The City of Frederick just last year received a grant for well over $80,000. So that's the most obvious one," says Young.
Alderwoman Young has served on other Wash-COG committees, including Budget and Finance, Legislative, Board Executive, Executive Director Search, and Employee Compensation and Benefit Review Committees. She also was the COG representative on the Maryland Department of the Environment's Air Quality Control Advisory Board.
COG also elected Phil Mendelson and Bill Euille as 2013 Vice Chairmen.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is an independent, non-profit association where area leaders address issues affecting the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia.