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Walker running for mayor

January 30, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Republican Joseph H. Walker said he'd like to see a member of Hagerstown's younger generation run for public office. Until that happens, he said he would like to represent their interests as mayor.

"I want to see young people involved in our government. I don't think it's fair for my generation or my children's generation to build up debt for you poor people to pay," said Walker, 76, of 208 W. Irvin Ave.

Walker said he is running for mayor of Hagerstown on a platform of fiscal responsibility, whether it concerns utilities, downtown revitalization, recreational facilities or the city's $9.96 million debt to the Maryland State Retirement Agency.

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"We've got $9 million that we suddenly seem to have lost or found," said Walker. "What other surprises do we have?"

Walker said he believes city utility customers are stockholders who should receive dividends if the utilities are running at a profit.

The city should stay out of the real estate business, he said.

"I do not think the city should be buying and selling buildings. If the buildings are in that bad a shape, they should be torn down," he said.

Walker said he doesn't think the city should be buying the Hagerstown Fairgrounds or putting money into the 68-acre green space. The operator of the ice rink that might be built at the fairgrounds should pay property taxes, he said.

City taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for another minor league baseball stadium for the Hagerstown Suns either, said Walker.

If elected, Walker said, he would treat the mayoral post as a part-time job. He said he would require city staff to do their jobs or be fired.

The mayor elected in the general election will receive a $28,000 annual salary. A primary election for the mayoral post will be held on March 11.

Walker is a 1938 graduate of Hagerstown High School. He said he studied chemical engineering at Illinois University and George Washington University.

A Hagerstown native, he served three years in a U.S. Army artillery unit during World War II.

After the war, he spent 30 years in the aerospace industry, including working for Fairchild Aircraft.

He returned to Hagerstown in the early 1970s, working for several years as purchasing agent for the city.

For three years, he has had his own company, Walker Associates, which uses satellite technology to do jobs such as identifying the movement of a shoreline over time, he said.

Walker said he and his wife, Mary June Kuhn Walker, have three grown children - Kathryn E. Hawbaker, Joseph H. Walker Jr. and Bethany J. Phillips.

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