Candidate Survey: Zach Hands for Carroll County Commissioner, District 3
TheDuckpin.com Candidate Survey
Office Sought *
District, if applicable *
Political Party *
Mount Saint Joseph High School, 2011. Loyola University Maryland, B.A., 2015. University of Maryland, Baltimore County, M.P.P., 2017.
Government/Legislative Affairs Director
Political Experience *
From 2014-2018, I was an elected member of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee. I've served in various capacities on campaigns for nearly a decade, including as a candidate for House of Delegates in 2014 and as a campaign manager in 2018.
Social Media Accounts *
Why are you running for office? *
Public service is a tremendous way to give back to your community and I think my experience in government would allow me to serve my constituents well and improve their day-to-day lives. I think we forget sometimes in the rough and tumble of the political climate we operate in that competence and common sense in government are important. The decisions we would make as elected officials have tangible impacts on real people, sometimes even more so at the local level.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why? *
There are a lot of people who have been politicians that I deeply admire. Bobby Kennedy, for his deep and virtuous commitment to the poor. George Washington, for setting the two-term precedent for presidents. Lincoln, for saving and preserving our Union while ending slavery. I wouldn't say that I have a role model, though. We should not put our politicians on pedestals.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why? *
His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life. Regardless of your opinion on Jimmy Carter the president, he never compromised his principles to do what was politically easy or expedient. It's an exceedingly rare trait for public and elected officials, and it's something I deeply hope to emulate if elected to office.
What will be your top priority in office? *
Public safety has to be the top priority. I am concerned about rising crimes and burn out among our Fire/EMS/police. Turnover and position vacancy in these areas should be a fundamental focus to ensure we can provide our constituents with necessary emergency services. Beyond that, education and smart economic development are my top priorities.
What is the biggest issue facing your area? *
Education, public safety, environmental sustainability. We need to move towards charter government in Carroll County. It is absurd that a county of our size does not have the ability to legislate and provide leadership for itself on a number of key items.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland? *
Crime, bringing our educational system back from COVID-19, maintaining our economic prowess in the region.
What is your position on life issues? (abortion, assisted suicide) *
I am pro-choice, and I support assisted suicide. However, neither of these issues are relevant to the board of county commissioners in Carroll County.
What is your position on taxes and spending? *
We need to be fiscally responsible, and take great care to not overextend ourselves following the infusions of federal dollars into our communities through the stimulus packages. I do not support raising taxes in the immediate future and am hesitant to support any knee-jerk reactions to budget priorities given the current economic uncertainty and fluctuation in local budgets due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I do think we have the imperative to use any budget surpluses to support our constituents, whether that's targeted tax relief through tax credits or other methods.
What is your position on gun rights? *
I support the rights of responsible gun owners.
What is your position on the legalization of marijuana? *
I support the legalization of marijuana in Maryland.
What is your position on the current three-tiered system for the sale and distribution of alcohol? *
I generally am concerned about the impacts on small businesses in Carroll County by allowing large retailers to sell alcohol. However, I think there is room for compromise on this issue and I am willing to work with all parties to make changes to the current system.
What is your position on land use, growth, and development? *
I'm a strong supporter of smart growth that avoids bad development, preferring to focus on renovating older/abandoned residential areas and existing commercial areas. I think the county has done a fair job of this in the last few years, particularly in Westminster. Obviously, in Carroll County we need to balance the need to socioeconomically keep pace with our neighbors in the region and continue to entice families to make Carroll their home while preserving our rural roots.
What is your position on crime and public safety? *
Thankfully, Carroll County continues to experience relatively little crime per capita compared to the rest of the State and the country. We have to continue to recruit and train officers effectively and offer competitive salaries and benefit packages. Everywhere across the State is struggling with this. I have sincere concerns about our health care workforce and Fire/EMS workers. We have an older population in Carroll County and the burnout from COVID and structural issues with recruiting and retaining are a real challenge to meet the needs of our residents.
What is your position on county tax caps? *
I am generally supportive of the caps. However, I think they need to be revisited frequently to ensure we are able to provide essential services to constituents.
Was Joe Biden legitimately elected President of the United States in the November 2020 Election? *
Do you pledge to accept the results of your election? *