Kai Hagen is running for an at-large seat.
Frederick, Md (KM). A former county commissioner is running for the County Council. Democrat Kai Hagen has filed to run for one of two at-large seats on the Council. “Having worked on issues all over the county for many years, run two county wide county campaigns, and served as a county commissioner for the whole county for years, my knowledge of the county and my experience with that campaigning, I think, gives me a good shot to win a county wide race,” he says.
Hagen served as county commissioner from 2006-2010. He was defeated in his re-election bid in 2010.
One of the issues he says he will emphasize during the campaign is growth. He says the county’s population is expected to increase by 100,000 in the future, and the county needs to handle that influx by applying “smart growth” methods. Our community should be sustainable. “So that it’s walkable, it’s mixed use and it includes an adequate mix of housing types and styles and prices so that’s affordable for the people who live here and work here,” Hagen says.
Right now,a lot of people have to live outside of the county they work in order to afford a place to live. “We have a lot of people in our community who work here, who patrol our streets and put out our fires and teach our kids and work in our restaurants, across the counter in every retail establishment and. and lot of other jobs that not higher income and are struggling just be able to afford to live in the community in which they work and would like to live,”he says.
Hagen also says the county can continue to grow and still retain it’s rural and rustic charm. It doesn’t need to resort to sprawl. “But if we grow smart with mixed use and in the appropriate places and within our existing municipalities, we can accommodate those people in a way that can, at the very least, not have that kind of broader, massive environmental impact,” he says.
Since Hagen was commissioner, the county adopted a new form of government with a County Council and County Executive. He says the new form of government is working okay. “It’s been close to dysfunctional at times because of the infighting and intense partisanship and what have you,” says Hagen. “I think with Council President Bud Otis, having been a swing vote who was willing to work with people across party lines, that did a lot to prevent the Council from being as dysfunctional as it might have been.”
Otis ran as a Republican in 2014, but changed his party affiliation to independent two years later.
Hagen will be holding a campaign launch party on Monday, January 8th at McClintock’s Distilling at 35 South Carroll Street in Frederick from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM.
Primary election day in Maryland is June 26th, 2018. Early voting takes place from June 14th through June 21st.
By Kevin McManus