WINCHESTER — Frederick County Public School Board member Shontya' Washington announced Friday that she is running as an Independent for the Red Bud District seat on the Frederick County Board of Supervisors in the November election.
Washington turned in her filing paperwork to the Frederick County Voter Registrar last week and intends to begin raising money immediately. The Red Bud District is now represented by Republican Blaine Dunn.
Washington, 42, has lived in the Red Bud District since 2011. She was elected to the School Board by a margin of seven votes in 2017 and has served since 2018. In January, she was unanimously elected vice chairman of the board and will continue to serve in that capacity the remainder of the calendar year.
Washington said she decided to run for the Board of Supervisors because she believes there are voices in Frederick County that are not being represented by the current makeup of the board. In particular, she feels the opinions of parents and residents favorable toward the school system are not considered as heavily by board members whenever they discuss “the taxpayers.” She believes the board needs to invest in infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing county and to pave the way for the young families that represent the county’s future.
“There are a lot of people who have been here forever who recognize that there still needs to be something for the future happening and making sure the infrastructure is there,” Washington said.
Washington said she believes that “all life is precious,” that all should be able to protect themselves, that all deserve a great education and that the county needs to increase business development. She'd like to keep tax rates low while working to fund Frederick County’s urgent needs.
Expanding broadband access throughout the county is another major priority for Washington.
“COVID hit and that made [broadband] even more of a necessity because people were working from home and doing school virtually,” Washington said. “Systems were crashing down. I know of parents who didn’t have good reception in their area where they really had to sit in the parking lot of the schools to get their work done. That’s just unacceptable. We need to make sure we are doing everything we can to get broadband and make sure all of our constituents and all of our community is able to receive internet capabilities in this day and age.”
As “an American of African descent,” Washington believes in having tough conversations about race and equality without trying to silence differing opinions.
She hopes to use her experience on the School Board to ease tensions and bridge the divide between the Board of Supervisors and the School Board.
Washington said she will balance her own principles with the desires of the majority of her constituents when considering how to vote.
Washington graduated from James Madison University with a bachelor of science degree in integrated science and technology and computer science. She works as a software/systems engineer for iN2STEM Solutions Inc. She is married to Brian Washington and has three children — Brian, Braxton, and Janai — in Frederick County Public Schools.
Supervisors serve four-year terms and receive a salary of $9,000 per year.