Name: Ashley Claire Haywood
Date of birth: Dec. 5, 1984
Address: 530 Brown Ave.
Education: Bachelors of Arts
Occupation: General manager, Ayse Meze Lounge of Frederick
Party affiliation: None
Political experience: 3-plus years
Q: A significant amount of public taxpayer money over a long period has been committed to help pay for the local share of debt service on the proposed multiuse sports and events center. If elected, would you continue to support this? Why or why not?
A: A multi-million dollar investment in our urban core is critical for the revitalization of the whole city. It is as, if not more, critical that this investment is made in partnership with local, state, federal, and private entities. As it stands, the stadium project involves minimal taxpayer dollars in comparison to the total investment. I will continue to support this important project as long as the investment structure is maintained.
Q: How would you entice businesses to locate within city limits?
A: It is important to provide incentives and avenues for businesses to succeed — but they have to be the right businesses. I believe we should provide for businesses who will bring the right jobs into our town — not minimum wage jobs, but jobs which pay beyond the “liveable wage.” Incentives for smart businesses, professional offices, and the creative industries should be our focus in the coming years.
Q: In your opinion, what issue will be the most crucial facing the upcoming administration? How will you help address it?
A: Our most crucial issue will be extending beyond our communal fear of change. This is addressed by bold leadership and a willingness to take risks which may be unpopular at first, but will later elucidate the sound decision making that I can bring to the council table.
Q: Do you think Hagerstown’s downtown can be truly “revitalized?” If so, what besides a new stadium, can the city do to spur the process?
A: Revitalization means to bring something back from the dead. To that end, I don't believe that downtown is dead — I believe it is suffering from a chronic illness — an illness of poverty, a deficit of education, and the coordinating symptoms of anger, doubt, and apathy. The city must prove itself a catalyst for positivity and a supporter of individual progress in order to spur community progress.
Q: Does Hagerstown have enough public safety personnel? If not, what changes would you make and how would you fund any increases?
A: Our public safety has always been a priority in my administration. I believe we have adequate public safety but I also believe that the distrubtion of saftey services acts much like a balloon being squeezed — too many resources are being poured into hotspots, leaving little resources for the more settled parts of our town. In promoting smarter, not harder ways of enforcement — such as with our CPTED program — we can provide confidence in our citizenry that our town is safe.