Council District 5: Angela Blake vs. Shawn Jester

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Angela Blake, who was appointed to the Salisbury City Council in February to replace R. Hardy Rudasill, will face opposition from Shawn Jester for the District 5 seat.

Angela Blake.

The city’s nonpartisan election will be held Nov. 5.

Originally from Galena in Kent County, Blake studied at Salisbury University and stayed in the city where she works as a clinical social worker. She is a Sandstone Court resident.

Shawn Jester.

District 5 includes numerous apartment complexes as well as areas of the city where development is slated along Beaglin Park Drive and at the former Salisbury Mall site. All of that will shape the way Salisbury looks and functions well into the future, she said.

The vacant mall property “doesn’t bring anything to the area,” and residents now seem to welcome the current plan that includes housing and commercial development, she said.

Blake said that while a lot of focus has been on downtown redevelopment, council members also have been concentrating on the neighborhoods where community centers have been established on Newton and Truitt streets.

“People want to live in a place that’s alive,” she said.

While some may see the current council as a rubber-stamp for the mayor, Blake said that’s just not so.

“We ask a lot of questions,” she said. “We don’t always agree, but we work it out.”

Jester is a lifelong Salisbury resident who graduated from Wicomico High School, Wor-Wic Community College and Salisbury University. Three years ago he bought a house on Centenary Drive.

“I love being a Salisbury resident,” he said.

Jester now works as a constituent liaison in U.S. Rep. Andy Harris’ Salisbury office, and said he hopes to use his government experience to help the city.

“This is an opportunity to take my experience and apply it on the city level,” he said.

Federal employees are generally prohibited from running for political office under the Hatch Act, but since the city election is nonpartisan, Jester is free to run.

Jester currently serves on the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals. If elected, he would like to take a look at the city’s zoning code with an eye to allowing construction of smaller houses on smaller lots to make them more affordable.

He is a strong supporter of the current City’s Council’s practice of working out differences in private and presenting a united front in public.

Jester believes small businesses are the driver of the local economy, and he would like to look at ways the city can help them prosper, particularly in the downtown area.

Growing up, there wasn’t anything to do in Downtown Salisbury, but now small businesses are sprouting up, including The Ugly Pie that is owned by a childhood friend. He held his campaign kickoff event at the shop on West Main Street opposite the Salisbury Marina.

“There’s really something happening Downtown,” he said.

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