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The Tentacle


November 8, 2010

Life Goes On!

Shawn Burns

Now what? Elections are finished for two years. I suppose all of the political junkies will quickly spiral into a post-election depression. But not to worry, by March candidates will be campaigning again for 2012.

 

Locally, our Board of County Commissioners race had a few unexpected twists and turns. I really thought Commissioner Kai Hagen had a 50/50 shot of being re-elected.

 

I was a bit surprised that Michael Kurtianyk finished eighth out of 10. I thought he was well positioned going into the election and that he would appeal to people who weren’t crazy about either of the two slates, or to people who didn’t like all of the members of a particular slate. Michael ran a good campaign. He was active, engaged and visible throughout the election season. He possesses the important qualities that are essential to public service: a willingness to learn and to listen. I seriously doubt this is the last we’ve seen of Michael Kurtianyk.

 

Mr. Hagen on the other hand, didn’t appear to reach out and campaign much beyond his base of supporters. He remained isolated and insulated from the majority of Frederick County residents throughout his campaign. He became, to a lesser degree, like a professional athlete who is surrounded by “yes-men” and, as a result, loses touch with reality.

 

After the election was over, Mr. Hagen was quoted in the local newspapers saying that he is “…disappointed for myself, I’m disappointed for the county.”

 

He’s disappointed for the county that he lost? I think the county will move forward and be okay. That statement is an example of what I mean about Mr. Hagen being out of touch with the majority of voters and insulated by his base. Is his level of self-importance so high that he thinks the county will collapse without his wisdom and guidance?

 

Even Mr. Hagen’s former campaign manager, Adam Shultz, got in on the action by posting comments on Facebook in support of his fallen leader. "Among the early voters (many thousands of voters) – which I would argue consisted overwhelmingly of THE most informed voters on local issues – Kai finished in 2nd place.”

 

So, only people who voted early were informed? It’s that kind of thinking and attitude that has led the voters of Frederick County to send Mr. Hagen packing. People were turned off by the air of arrogance and superiority that oozes from him. By the way, who came in first in early voting for county commissioner?

 

The voters brought David Gray back for another four years. I’m not exactly sure why he won again, other than he won as a result of voter backlash against the Democratic Party in general.

 

Now to the slate lead by Blaine Young. After the primary, Mr. Young, Paul Smith, Kirby Delauter and Billy Shreve joined forces and resources and ran together. And by the results of their resounding victory on Tuesday, their campaign strategy and combining their resources not only was a good move, it completely overwhelmed the opposition.

 

But now the election is over. It’s time to get to work.

 

On December 1, 2010, these five men will be sworn into office as the leaders of Frederick County for the next four years.

 

People on both sides of the fence will be watching closely. Those who didn’t vote for them will be watching for any missteps or mistakes that can be used against them in the short term and in 2014.

 

For Mr. Young, Mr. Smith, Mr. Delauter, and Mr. Shreve the expectations from their supporters will be sky high. As a result, the scrutiny from those supporters will be even more intense than any scrutiny or criticism from their opponents.

 

As with everything, time will tell.

 

I remember reading that late in his life, the poet Robert Frost was asked in an interview to describe what he had learned in life. Mr. Frost responded that he could answer the question by using three words, “It goes on.” And so it does, Mr. Frost. Until the next election, let’s see how it goes.

 



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