By Amanda Fiedler
Councilwoman, District 5
The 2018 elections are behind us. For the last year, our county has learned about and listened to candidates on both sides of the aisle, candidates with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. The hard work now begins for our new county council and county executive. With that work, we can anticipate some change.
Change can be good, if our county thrives and grows while preserving the characteristics that make it desirable to so many families. Finding common ground among councilmembers and the new administration is key to our goals moving forward. With a quick look back at the various campaigns, one can quickly identify common areas of intended focus: education, growth, public safety, infrastructure, traffic, constituent services.
The new council is a diverse group that brings unique perspectives to the table, with expertise in education, engineering, law, community leadership and advocacy. It is anticipated that each councilmember will work hard to fulfill the goals of their campaign.
My goals for our district have remained. As a wife and mom, I want safer streets, low taxes, and high-paying jobs. As a lifelong county resident, I know we must improve the local infrastructure and provide adequate roadways and walkways. I believe we need a responsible, transparent development process that preserves the quality of existing communities while providing more opportunities for local residents, without infringing on property rights. As a long-time education advocate, I know we need appropriate class sizes and competitive teacher pay.
Local infrastructure has much to be improved upon, from pothole repair and county road resurfacing to adequate walkways and bike trails. From our schools to our police, fire, and detention officers. Our infrastructure should be maintained and operated at a pace equal to that of our growth.
Growth has been a common focus this campaign season. Why? It is simple. Growth impacts every area of our lives. The General Development Plan is one of the most important pieces of legislation that this council will collaborate on and enact. It will require careful input from the Citizen Advisory Committee’s (CAC’s), review of the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) report done by the outgoing county council, site visits for zoning applications, and careful considerations based on county land use laws.
The fifth district continues to grow due in part to the success of our schools, and that should not be something that we take for granted. This year, renovations of Arnold Elementary will be completed. A healthy learning space is important for our students to thrive. Adequate class size and retaining our educators is also critical to student achievement. It is through reducing class sizes that we enable educators to focus on individual needs, and identify students who may need extra attention, or are struggling with social and/or mental health needs.
Each of these areas has great importance within our community, but all issues are important. If it is of concern to you, it is of concern to me. Transparency, collaboration and constituent services are, I believe, going to be a hallmark of the new council. From town halls, listening sessions and e-newsletters, communication between county government and residents was a staple of every councilmember’s campaign. I encourage every resident to remain engaged on the issues and continue to reach out to your elected representatives.
This is our community, and I am honored to be your councilwoman. I am eager to work on the issues that you have shared with me and work toward our common goals that will continue to make our district so special.