The Town of Thurmont held a Nominating Convention on Tuesday, October 24, 2019, for the upcoming municipal election in which two commissioner seats are up for election.
Five candidates were nominated (pictured right); incumbent Wes Hamrick, new candidates Elliot Jones, Sabrina Massett, and Kenneth Oland, and incumbent Bill Buehrer.
The Thurmont Lions Club will sponsor a Candidate Forum to be held at the town office, the date and time will be announced. Mayor John Kinnaird encourages all registered voters to participate in the election and predicted a 50 percent voter turnout for this election. Let’s prove him right, Thurmont residents!
Dates to remember:
October 1 is the last day to register to vote; you can register at the town office.
October 22 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot.
October 29 elections will be held at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building at 123 East Main Street. Polls will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.
Why are you running for commissioner?
I was first elected in 2011, vying to preserve our past and save the future of Thurmont. This board has demonstrated such through infrastructure improvement. We have vigorously looked for and received state grants, thus bringing our tax dollars back to Thurmont. I want to continue those efforts.
I am privileged to have served the Town of Thurmont as a member of this board for six years and the fulfillment it affords to being able to make a positive difference for this town. The current board and Thurmont staff have made many inroads to improve the quality of life in Thurmont with our parks, trails, amenities and services, and I want to be a part of the exciting future for our town. This past term has literally flown past and much remains in the works that I certainly want to be a part of in seeing to fruition. It is an honor and privilege to serve and represent this community as one of its commissioners.
We, in Thurmont, have the good fortune to have a local government that works hard for its residents, with elected officials that truly care about the town. I want that experience to continue, not only for our current residents, but our future residents as well. While volunteering for events like “Halloween in the Park” and “Christmas in Thurmont” and writing articles for the Gateway publication, I’ve learned just how much of an impact our local government makes on our community. As a commissioner, I would bring my own insights and experiences to serve the community with new ideas.
I care about making sure that the concerns and needs of my friends and neighbors are heard and responded to. I’m running to ensure we maintain our “small town” identity, even as we grow and change. I have a vision of a town that continues to welcome and embrace diversity among our residents; provides affordable rental options and homes to purchase; provides a safe environment for families to raise children, free of the disease of addiction, and supports the services necessary to retire and age in place; a town that prioritizes attracting and supporting small businesses, light, green industry, and sustainable practices. I firmly believe we as citizens can choose what’s best for Thurmont.
Kenneth W. (Kenny) Oland
I spent 40 years in public service; 25 years in law enforcement (7 years with Frederick Police, 18 years with Maryland State Police, attaining the rank of Corporal before retiring on a disability from injuries suffered in a traffic collision), 4 years with the federal government, 4 additional years with the Maryland State Police, and 7 years with the Town of Thurmont. I had my own crash consulting business for 8 years. I want to, once again, serve the citizens of the town and community that I grew up in and moved back to over 16 years ago with my family, in a leadership position.
What are your goals as a commissioner?
My goal is to continue improving our infrastructure to bring more businesses to Thurmont and to improve housing development in a conservative manner.
One of the pressing issues facing us, as well as other municipalities, is the continued increase in the cost of doing business and the pressure it places on the annual budget. I want to continue to work as a board with our town staff and administrative heads to continue finding ways to save money and continuously make every effort to acquire all the monies we can obtain through grants and other revenue resources. As a commissioner, I make monetary decisions and vote through the eyes of the taxpayer as though it’s coming from my own checkbook.
Not only do I want to sustain the strong sense of community in Thurmont, but I have three key initiatives that I pledge to support. First, Thurmont can and should establish a municipally owned fiber internet utility in order to provide faster, cheaper, and more efficient internet to our residents and businesses. Secondly, Thurmont should pursue long-term sustainable development, maximizing our use of our developed areas and preserving our green areas. Thirdly, Thurmont should continue to support Community Policing, which strengthens the trust between our police and our residents and prevents crimes, rather than just respond to them.
To attract visitors to our town by capitalizing on our proximity to State and National Parks, rural vistas, and historic sites. We need to continue to grow our town center by attracting and supporting unique, small businesses for residents and visitors to enjoy. It’s my dream that adolescents and young teenagers will once again ask their parents “can I walk uptown” because there are spots to visit for an ice cream cone, a small purchase, or to “hang out.” To ensure that Thurmont grows in the manner that we, as citizens choose, rather than allow a “cookie-cutter” approach. Growth that provides housing and services for citizens to live out their lives here if they choose.
Kenneth W. (Kenny) Oland
I would like to determine if there is a way to lower our electric bills, continue to work to improve the town’s infrastructure, streets, electric grid, parks, and water/sewer systems. Ask the youth of our community if there is anything we could do to provide them with activities. Continue to support the seniors. Determine why the police department has a high turnover rate and what we can do to attract and retain quality officers, as well as maintain the allotted number of officers. Look into the retirement benefits of our employees. Responsible growth that will bring more tax monies, which will help spread the tax burden over a larger population. Businesses: attract more business to the town, which could/will offer more employment to our community. Continue to work with the county and state governments to bring monies into the town.
Why should people vote for you?
I have demonstrated impeccable integrity for eight years. I’ve been a passionate spokesman for our community and have been fiscally responsible and conservative with our tax payers’ money.
During my almost six years on the board, I have always made myself available to the public. I firmly believe, as a public servant, that it is necessary to listen to the needs, concerns, and issues of our residents and to be a voice for them as an elected official. Thurmont has been my home for a total of 40 years, a town where I spent my youth and young adult years, and a town I returned to, after being away for ten years, to raise my family. I have a vested interest for the betterment and beauty of this town and will continue to be an advocate to maintaining the small-town charm and atmosphere, whilst being inviting and welcoming for newcomers. Foremost, I am actively engaged within the community and am proudly part of its pulse and heartbeat in many facets. Above all, ethics, integrity, respect and transparency are not a cliché in my book, but traits that I live by and will not compromise.
I just want to do right by people in the best way I know how. I want our residents and newcomers to feel safe and welcomed in our town. I want for our businesses to thrive and for their employees to be happy they’re working in our community. I want even our most remote families to be able to access their job opportunities, telehealth, homework, and other online necessities at an affordable price with reliable service. People should vote for me if they want someone to take what they like about Thurmont and polish it to a greater shine.
I recognize that Thurmont is unique, and that we as citizens can decide to maintain what’s good; to demonstrate what we value and shape our town around these values. I have been involved in shaping our town through a lifetime of community service. Additionally, 30-plus years of human services employment gave me the opportunity to learn about many things: poverty, homelessness and housing instability, severe mental illness, the disease of addiction. My experiences taught me how to talk with people, not to them, to learn to ask the right questions, and most importantly, to listen for the answer. As commissioner, I promise to listen and learn from you. Let’s Talk.
Kenneth W. (Kenny) Oland
I will be a full-time commissioner, being retired, willing to listen to and address your concerns. I offer the citizens a person that will work with and for them and the employees of the town. I will listen to those that have a question, an opinion, or a concern. Research their concerns and then address them the best I can with the Board of Commissioners and the employees at the Town Office. I will approach all situations with an open mind then work to find a resolution to their concerns, while working for the betterment of our community as a whole. My desire is to serve the entire community, all ages, and our employees, who deserve to have quality equipment, competitive pay, and benefits that this town can afford and provide. You will have a voice while I’m serving as your commissioner of the Town of Thurmont.