Fitzwater, Hough vie for votes ahead of Frederick Co. executive race

A tight Maryland race to succeed Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner is near its finish ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Two-term Republican state Sen. Michael Hough is running against two-term Frederick County councilwoman and Democratic candidate Jessica Fitzwater to succeed the term-limited Gardner — who is also a Democrat.

Fitzwater told WTOP that she’s ready to “get to work” and wants Frederick County to continue “on a path of progress.”

An elementary music teacher and former union activist, Fitzwater said she wants to use a “common-sense approach that’s going to bring people together to solve problems and make life better for people.”

More affordable housing, protecting the environment and investing in education are some of the key areas Fitzwater said she would focus on if elected, according to her campaign website.

Fitzwater, who has said she will model herself on Gardner, said she would accomplish her goals through listening and collaboration with stakeholders, “that’s been my approach as an educator, as a legislator and as a leader.”

Meanwhile, Hough told WTOP: “I don’t want to see Frederick County turn into Montgomery County-North.”

The 20-year county resident said he doesn’t want to see it become “overdeveloped and overtaxed.”

Rural preservation, protecting homeowners from higher property taxes and reducing traffic gridlock — specifically along the Interstate 270/U.S. 15 corridor — would top Hough’s agenda, according to his campaign website.

Hough, a U.S. Air Force veteran, currently serves on the state’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and has chaired Maryland’s Criminal Gangs Task Force.

Frederick County has only had a charter form of government — with a county executive and county council — since 2014.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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