Winifred "Wini" Roche

Winifred "Wini" Roche
  • Democrat
  • Residence: Havre de Grace

About Winifred "Wini" Roche

Education

Towson University Grad- B.S. Mass Comm - 1994 Cambridge South-Dorchester High Grad- 1987

Background

I have worked for 24 years as a tourism professional and business promoter. Most of this time I worked for local or county Government. For the past 3 years I have owned my own consulting firm and have consulted for the Maryland Tourism Coalition. Dorchester County Tourism 9 years * Founder of Sailwinds Park & Heritage Tourism effort in County Havre de Grace Office of Tourism 3 years*Creator of First Fridays Harford County Office of Economic Development 9 years *Advocated for hotel tax and creation of Visit Harford, Inc. , LPGA Liaison, Coordinated successful County promotions such as Love it Campaign, Restaurant Week and Taste of Harford Roche & Associates /MTC 3 years *Increased MTC membership, raised profile of Maryland’s tourism industry and successfully lobbied for 1 million increase in state tourism Funding along with other state-wide tourism issues.

Questionnaire

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1
Glassman record
What do you consider the greatest accomplishments and failings of the Glassman administration?
Roche: I would consider the greatest accomplishments of the Glassman administration the funding of the community schools for Havre de Grace which were desperately needed, finally enabling and implementing a hotel tax (after stalling it for years in Annapolis prior), and taking a first step forward to fund school resource officers in middle and high schools. The greatest failing would be the 2015 reorganization of the Office of Economic Development (not including the privatization of tourism which I support) which included a “ modern day approach” to economic development by moving to rented co-working space on Route 40 under the auspices of providing low cost space to business start ups and County economic development professionals in a shared collaborative setting. The approximate 12,000 square foot of space has been largely under utilized since this time and the office has just reorganized for a second time in 4 years.
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2
Taxes
Does Harford County have adequate resources to meet its needs, particularly in the funding of public schools and law enforcement?
Roche: There are currently not enough resources being allocated since MSDE reports an approximate 2 million shortfall annually in funding in recent years. Most importantly instructional salaries still lag behind comparable counties and we must bring those salaries up to a competitive level. There remains a critical need for improvement in closing education gaps, expanding programs and services. I would also like to see more support in schools for guidance counselors and the responsible use of technology and social media. The new program A Peaceful Alternative and peer to peer support groups are a great step forward here. I am an advocate for restorative programs to promote more community responsibility in our students. There is also a need for more vocational training and I would support measures to build another technical school since there is a growing need for trade skills in our society. More before and after care offered through the schools is a need in throughout the school system but particularly in District F. I will also be a strong advocate for maintaining funding for music and drama programs. The move to fund school resource officers is a positive first step forward but additional funds will need to be identified to adequately safe-guard ALL of our schools. This is a costly but necessary measure.
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3
Land use
Have the county’s land use policies adequately balanced growth and the preservation of existing communities and agricultural land?
Roche: We need to continue to strive toward smart growth. There is a planned area in the County for development with public water and sewerage called the Development Envelope. This is a good concept and works to keep more intense housing and commercial zoning in designated areas while also helping to keep the rural character of the county intact. The 2016 Annual Growth Report shows Harford’s current Development Envelope has enough empty land to build 16,953 new dwelling units (houses, apartments, etc.). Up-zoning properties outside the Development Envelope hurts restoration and possible revitalization of existing, older areas as it is cheaper to build “new” on farmland rather than to renovate or replace existing buildings. In the 2017 CZR there is a combined potential loss of 168 acres of agricultural zoned property outside the Development Envelope. We need to be mindful of the delicate balance between growth and quality of life remains an ongoing effort.
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4
Opioids
How do you rate the county’s efforts to fight opioid addiction overdoses? What else, if anything, should the county be doing to combat the epidemic?
Roche: I am pleased with measures taken in the FY 19 budget to increase funding to the Mobile Crisis Team but we have a long way to go on this issue. We need to look at more intervention and support programs being available for people before they turn to opioids. The County suffers from a lack of mental health providers for children. Many of the issues that cause people to turn to drugs could have been addressed through counseling or better coping abilities that can be taught when issues are identified in time. Every effort should be made to retain or attract more resources, especially physician providers to this area since teen depression, addiction, and suicide continues to be on the rise.
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5
Sherrif's office
How would you characterize the relationship between the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and the communities it serves? Are any reforms necessary?
Roche: I would characterize this relationship as a work in progress like most communities across the country. Policing in this country has changed dramatically on a national scale over recent years and the narrative of abuse and racial intolerance vs. a growing disrespect for law enforcement has and will definitely impact suburban communities like Harford County that serve such diverse populations. The police -community relationship should begin early in the school system so that a trust between one another can be established and built on upon a neutral common ground. Like mutual respect in any relationship it (Respect) has to be earned over time. Adding trained school resource officers in all schools at the elementary level will go along way to improve this relationship. Sensitivity training should be taught to law enforcement officers in regards to their communities. In turn, children should be taught that police officers and other people of authority should receive respect and to respond otherwise can be perceived as an act of aggression and can unnecessarily escalate situations. As a daughter of a career law enforcement professional, I would like to foster this greater understanding so that all communities in Harford County can move forward together.
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6
Fire/EMS
The Glassman administration is trying to lead Harford County’s formerly all-volunteer fire and emergency medical services to more a professional organization with more paid personnel. How do you rate the county’s effort and what should have or could have done differently in this controversial transformation?
Roche: It is my understanding that the program currently in place is to supplement the volunteer efforts of our local fire companies and emergency medical services. Due to the increasing population call volume has increased which is requiring more services from volunteer personnel. I support this measure in its intent to “test an idea” and plan for the future sustainability of emergency response/care for County citizens. The administration should strive for open lines of communication between these volunteer service providers to ensure that efforts are complimentary to what is being provided and not redundant as they test the effectiveness of this pilot program. Hopefully the new Emergency Medical Services Standards Advisory board can establish performance measurements and evaluate the cost effectiveness through data collection program while building upon the proud heritage and hard work of our volunteer fire fighter and EMS community.
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