County Council Candidate Q&A: Mary Kay Sigaty
Columbia resident is seeking a second term on the County Council representing District 4.
Name: Mary Kay Sigaty
Lives in: Columbia
Political Party: Democrat
Occupation: Sigaty is finishing her first term representing District 4 in the Howard County Council. She is seeking a second term.
What are the three most important issues facing your district?
"Education – maintaining our public schools, making them better, ensuring equity across our schools. That's an enormous one. Continuing or ensuring public safety in the district is extremely important. Jobs are important. And then, because they're all interconnected, I'm going to have to go to two more.
"The fourth one that turned up was redevelopment and the ability of people to see that we have aging communities [such as village centers and housing] and we need to invest in them and reinvest in them. There is a lot of opinion about what we should do, but we do need to be vigilant about making sure our older communities stay vital.
"And the other is the aging of our community [the people]. They're all kind of tied together, with education jumping out as being the most important."
What do you wish had been accomplished in Howard County in the past four years that was not?
"What's fascinating to me is I went back and I looked at what I ran on four years ago, which was keeping our school systems top-notch, making sure that our community is safe, and then looking at redevelopment around village centers and downtown Columbia. I was actually personally very satisfied with the way the four years had gone form my perspective, and I think, from the district's perspective.
"I wish we hadn't had the recession. It certainly focused our attention very differently than had we continued with the environment that we were elected into."
Why do you deserve this seat more than your opponent does?
" 'Deserving' – I think that's the wrong word. I think that perhaps the operative word here is 'Why me over him? What do I bring to the table that he doesn't bring to the table?' From that perspective, I'll talk about a variety of things:
"I bring longevity in the community and an understanding of issues from the perspective of having been a small business owner in the community, from having been a parent of two children in the community, from having been a young teacher in the community a long time ago, and then having been an active volunteer for a variety of organizations, as well as a community advocate around education issues in particular, but then also around village issues because I served as a member of the Wilde Lake Village Board.
"I bring a real depth of knowledge about significant portions of this community. That, I think is alsothe important aspect of this, that I am actually a Columbian. I say that because I came to Howard County many years ago to come to Columbia, not to come to Howard County. Granted, my district has more than Columbia in it, but Columbia is a huge portion of it, and understanding its idiosyncrasies, its way of governance. And how that fits into representing the district is extremely important.
"Not only do I have Columbia, but I also have working farms in my district, and my understanding of agriculture as a business and a way of life. There's farming in my background as well. I have several cousins who are farmers in other parts of the country. Understanding that element in our community in Howard County, not just the district, is important.
"And my commitment to working hard for my constituents, as well as anybody in the county, I think, are all assets for why somebody should choose me."
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