Elections in Germany: why should I care?

Living and working in Germany? Paying German taxes? But not a German citizen?
Are you frustrated about being excluded from voting in national elections here? You might have missed out on September’s national elections, but if you are an EU citizen resident in Germany, you can vote in local elections. On 28 January 2018 you have a vote in the election of the District Administrator, or Landrat,  in the Hochtaunus region.

What does a “Landrat” do?
A good question which many Germans would struggle to answer. The Landrat is basically the elected head of a large administrative district and holds office for 6 years. It is not exactly like a town or city major, but it is pretty similar. The Landrat is responsible for administering local hospitals (like the Hochtaunuskliniken in Bad Homburg or the local hospital in Usingen), high school buildings,  refuse collection and disposal, and  many other less obvious things such as public transport, tourism and culture in the region.

What’s at stake?
The Landrat  sets the tone of policy for the whole of the Hochtaunus region, but the full council  takes the decisions. That means the result of this election will determine how our region develops over the next 6 years. There are many diverse challenges for our region from the effects of climate change and air pollution on our communities to supporting the evolution of a modern economy and our local businesses and dealing with the impact of Brexit on our region and its residents.  We want to take those challenges on and give our region a brighter future with  excellent schools and hospitals, a clean environment in our towns and countryside and a dynamic economy with the digital infrastructure to enable all our local businesses need to flourish.

I am passionate about improving our region’s infrastructure and its schools,  about creating the right conditions for our economy to prosper and about  looking after the environment and protecting our beautiful countryside.

Am I allowed to vote?
If you are a citizen of the European Union, you are allowed to vote in local elections.

If you are resident of the Hochtaunuskreis, you can vote in the Landrat (Head of the District) election on 28 January 2018.

Which areas are in the Hochtaunuskreis?
You can vote in the Landrat election if you live in  any of the municipalities of Bad Homburg, Oberursel, Kronberg, Königstein, Steinbach, Usingen, Neu-Anspach, Schmitten, Glashütten, Gräfenwiesbach, Wehrheim or Weilrod.

Who am I and why am I running?
I’m Holger Grupe, your FDP candidate for the Landrat-District Administrator for the Hochtaunuskreis. I’m 40 years old and married. We have two children and we live in Kronberg.

I’ve been passionate about politics for a number of years and am currently an elected town councillor in Kronberg and an elected district councillor of the Hochtaunuskreis: both are unsalaried roles.
So why am I investing my spare time in local politics and missing out on time with my family?

I am ambitious for our region. I believe the region needs fresh ideas and new drive.  I am ready to commit my energy, determination and experience to help shape our region’s future and develop solutions. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines and let things happen especially not in these uncertain times. I don’t want to leave our children’s future up to career politicians or the administration. It’s time for more ordinary citizens who understand everyday problems to take part in determining how our society works and to make things happen.

Let’s be part of the solution!