2022 VOTER GUIDE: TONY FUGETT, CANDIDATE FOR BALTIMORE COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2

by | May 28, 2022

BALTIMORE COUNTY COUNCIL

DISTRICT 2

TONY FUGETT

Party: Democratic

Age: 69

Residence: Owings Mills, Baltimore County

Occupation: Director, Department of Budget and Management, Maryland

Education: BS, Business Administration, University of Baltimore

Previous Political Experience: This is my first time running for an elected office. I understand how government works and have more than 40 years of combined experience in corporate and government sectors, as well as extensive leadership experience in community organizations.

Why are you running for office?

I am running to represent all citizens in the Second District of Baltimore County. I feel it is important that district residents have a leader who will address the concerns of all, and not put personal interests ahead of others — a leader who will make the seemingly impossible possible. This includes economic development throughout the district. I will work to preserve our wonderful neighborhoods, including our home values. I will stand up for small and minority- owned businesses and will fight for job creation, job training, fair housing, and public safety. When elected, I will work to ensure that the voices of people from all backgrounds are fairly represented and heard. Additionally, our district needs a representative who will advocate for better schools, an improved environment, senior citizen resources, more services for those with disabilities, and a person who embraces our increasingly multicultural community.

What do you see as the most pressing issue Baltimore County faces and how would you address it?

Maintaining the quality of life in which our families can thrive is always the most important issue to me. There are a number of matters that need to be addressed to accomplish this. We need to increase public safety in our communities and our public schools. Crime is on the rise in our county and, to decrease it, we must improve the community’s working relationship with the police department. We need to ensure that our police have an effective community outreach program. I support a Police Accountability Board that is independent of the police department. We must also eliminate economic inequities wherever they exist in the county. In my District, the communities that don’t have easy access to grocery stores, and drugstores must be addressed. Finally, we need to address the school system and develop programs that work with underachieving schools and promote violence prevention among our youth.

What plans do you have to help the county and its businesses successfully emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic?

Baltimore County received over $160 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan to address the public health emergency and its negative impact on families and businesses. Of those funds, $80 million were for a health response, $60 million for recovery efforts, and $20 million are in reserve. We have until December 31, 2024 to commit the reserve funds. I propose that small businesses that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic be eligible to apply for small grants for capacity building, with checks in place for accountability. In addition, I feel that it is important to continue to educate our residents on COVID-19 safety protocols and the value of getting vaccinated and boosted. Some citizens will continue to work remotely, while others will return to on-site work. We must ensure that the county provides adequate support systems as we hopefully transition back to a more normal way of life.

What are your views on the future growth and economic development in the county?

Baltimore County must continue to grow and prosper and reinvent itself. Areas in the Second District such as Pikesville, Milford Mill, Woodlawn, and Lochearn need a redevelopment plan that addresses economic growth. We should be putting plans in place that utilize infrastructure dollars to fix roads and traffic patterns and make each of these communities a self-service hub that brings in businesses and services comparable to the economic development that is taking place in Owings Mills and Hunt Valley.

What role can the county government play to improve education in county schools?

Education has always been a priority in my family. My grandfather was principal of a school in West Chester PA, my father was a teacher in the Baltimore City School system, and my siblings, children, nieces and nephews have a range of advanced educational achievements and degrees. I am committed to seeing that Baltimore County government leads the way in bringing resources required to make our school system the best in Maryland, and the safest. We must continue to invest in new schools for our district, increase salaries to retain great teachers, create effective vocational programs, and invest in state-of-the-art technology to deliver a high- quality education to our children. We also must ensure that our schools are safe for students and teachers.

What efforts do the county need to make to address systemic racism in government services?

Baltimore County is a markedly different place than it was just two decades ago. To even begin to address systemic racism in County government today, officials must embrace this change, and recognize the County’s rich new diversity among residents with respect to race, ethnicity, culture, perspective, and experience, for the wonderful opportunity it offers us all. This starts with candidly acknowledging that systemic racism in government exists, and building from there. We can move forward from the legacy of our past by ensuring the procurement process for government contracts is fair and equitable to minority-owned companies; by directing resources to communities disadvantage by past discrimination; by employing diverse staff at every level so our workforce looks like the people who reside here; and by creating and training a diverse police force that aspires to truly serve and protect all residents, and by holding ourselves accountable to these goals.

Do you think there needs to be additional oversight to the Office of the Inspector General or changes to the structure of the office? If so, please explain.

The Inspector General’s office is a resource for the community to ensure that Baltimore County officials model best practices and treat all residents fairly, with no exceptions. The office must remain independent and be properly staffed, with adequate funding to do that. Anything less would bring into question the results of investigations and have the potential to create doubts about the veracity of reports. Our Inspector General must be the guardian of government transparency and accountability, and as a Councilmember I will strive to make that happen.

What steps must the county take to improve public safety?

Public safety is paramount in our county. We must continue to use advanced technology that can detect threats and other systems that benefit law enforcement and emergency response personnel. Our communities must support local law enforcement and work collectively on public health and community organizing strategies that reduce crime and violence. We must invest in the communities most affected by crime and work with community leaders to come up with solutions. We must also improve our police department by creating a community relations division that reports to the chief to ensure that community issues are being addressed. I am also a strong advocate of organizing community associations that meet at the grass roots level to conduct neighborhood development, organize social activities, and create neighborhood watch programs.

How is climate change impacting the county and what can be done locally to address the effects?

Climate change is a global issue, and we are experiencing warmer temperatures and more extreme weather events. Locally, we can address this issue by educating residents about the value of utilizing renewable energy, weatherizing our homes, investing in energy efficient appliances, reducing water waste, planting trees, recycling, and limiting the use of fossil fuels.

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