Frederick County has been Justin’s home since he was five years old and his family moved to Maryland from Northwestern Pennsylvania. Growing up in Walkersville, he graduated from Walkersville High School in 1997 then attended The George Washington University where he earned a degree in Communications and studied Political Science.
While still in college, Justin joined the Presidential Campaign of Former Transportation and Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole, starting as a volunteer and working his way up to joining the Campaign Finance staff. Following the campaign, he went to work for Jack Kemp and Bill Bennett as a Policy Intern at Empower America. He returned to Elizabeth Dole’s office in 2000, where he served as Secretary Dole’s Special Assistant and Scheduler for the next two years.
Having “grown up” at the feet of such luminaries and true public servants as Jack Kemp, Bill Bennett, and Bob and Elizabeth Dole, he learned how service and doing what is right is far more important than politics. While it may sound idealistic, Justin believes serving one’s community, at any level, is a serious responsibility and a true honor.
Always interested in business and government, Justin was also very involved with the area’s theatre community starting when he was at Walkersville High School. In 2002, he returned to Frederick when he and his family purchased and took over operations of The Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, where he is currently the company’s President and Managing Director.
Sixteen years as a business executive, in an industry that was hit particularly hard during the economic downturn, taught Justin the importance of adaptability, creative problem solving, and how to make the tough decisions that sometimes have to be made for the overall good of the organization. Theatres across the country, and right here in the National Capital Region, were forced to close their doors – but because of strong, pragmatic leadership and fiscal prudence, Way Off Broadway weathered the economic crisis and emerged stronger for it.
Active in the community, Justin was appointed to the Board of Directors of what would become The Golden Mile Alliance in 2012 by Frederick City Mayor Randy McClement. The organization was originally created as an ad hoc committee of the city with the purpose of helping to revitalize the Golden Mile Corridor. Upon the group’s incorporation into an independent 501(c)3, Justin was elected to the Executive Committee where he became the Secretary of the Board. In 2014, he was elected President of The Golden Mile Alliance – a position he held for three terms until 2017.
Justin and his wife, Jessica, live in the WestWinds neighborhood of Lake Linganore in New Market.
Justin’s campaign for the Frederick County Council has been endorsed by former Burgess of Walkersville Ralph Whitmore, former Frederick City Mayor Randy McClement, former State Delegates Rick Weldon and J. Anita Stup, and the Frederick County Teachers Association.
“When people ask me why I’m running for the County Council, my answer is simple. Because there’s work to be done. As a business owner for the last 16 years and a former President of The Golden Mile Alliance, the idea of accomplishing things has become more and more important to me. I’m not interested in fighting political and ideological battles at Winchester Hall. I want to work on finding ways to encourage the county and its residents to thrive as we continue into the 21st Century.
“As hard as it may be to believe, there was a time when “politics” wasn’t a dirty word. Our elected officials could strongly disagree while debating an issue, yet remain civil – even friendly. Unfortunately, we don’t see that much anymore. I was fortunate enough to have grown up at the feet of such giants as Jack Kemp, Bill Bennett, and Bob and Elizabeth Dole. Working for these luminaries while I was in Washington and getting to see them in action on a daily basis taught me what public service really means and that it’s more important to show up and do something than to get bogged down in petty personal battles.”