Six vying for Jefferson Co. Commission

February 13, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

Six vying for Jefferson Co. Commission

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Six candidates filed to run for the Jefferson County Commission election.

Three Republicans will face each other in the May 12 primary election in the Charles Town District, while the incumbent Democrat for the district, R. Gregory Lance, is unopposed.

In the Shepherdstown District, one Democrat and the incumbent Republican, James Knode, filed for the commissioners' race.

Their names will be on the ballot despite running unopposed, said Jefferson County Clerk John E. Ott.

The winner of the three Republicans in the Charles Town District race will go on to face Lance in the Nov. 3 general election. Lance is the only Democrat on the five-member commission. The other four, including the three whose terms are staggered and not up in this election, are Republicans.

The three Republican candidates for the Charles Town District are all seeking their first elected office.


Albert Hooper Jr.

Albert Gordon Hooper Jr. is the developer of two of the county's largest subdivisions - Tuscawilla Hills and Locust Hills.

Hooper, 70, is a member of the Jefferson County Planning Commission, the Charles Town Water and Sanitation Board, the Charles Town Library Board and the South Jefferson County Recreational Council.

"I finally have time to do justice to the job," Hooper said. "I intend to make it a full-time job. It is a full-time job."

As an engineer, he helped design one of the county's parks and is currently at work designing another for the Summit Point area.

Hooper said he would work at attracting more businesses to the county and making sure the services are in place to support them.

"We've got good people on the County Commission, but with my background in engineering and development, I think I could be of good use," Hooper said.

George Quinn

George Franklin Quinn, 54, is the owner of the Iron Rail Inn in Charles Town.

"I've been asked many, many times since I've moved into the community to run," Quinn said. "It's time I get out and do my duty. Now is the time I can step into the political field."

Quinn said his work on the county's ambulance authority board has shown him the need to improve fire and rescue service.

"I can see us in this county eventually needing paid fire and ambulance service 24 hours a day," Quinn said.

Quinn said the county also should do more to attract tourists to the many historical sites in Jefferson County.

Charles Rowe III

Charles Edward Rowe III, 36, is counsel for the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Small Businesses.

Rowe said he knows from his work in Washington, D.C., that more needs to be done to attract manufacturers to Jefferson County.

He said too much of the work force leaves the county each day to travel to their jobs.

Rowe has lived in Jefferson County for six years.

He is a member of the Jefferson County GOP Executive Committee and past president of the Jefferson County Republican Club.

Rowe said he thinks that having a primary race could help whichever candidate wins among the Republicans because they will have to campaign more.

"It makes it harder for us in the sense you always want to keep your costs down in an election, but I think it's good for all three of us because we'll all be working hard to get our names out there," Rowe said.

R. Gregory Lance

Lance is currently president of the Jefferson County Commission and is seeking his third, six-year term as a commissioner. He previously had served four terms as mayor of Ranson, W.Va.

He is a pharmaceutical representative with Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. Lance is on the board of the West Virginia County Commissioners' Association and was the first elected president of the group. He is president of the West Virginia Association of Counties.

Lance said the county has been able to refinance the loan for the Bardane Industrial Park, nearly doubled the number of sheriff's deputies and is working on an enhanced 911 system.

"As this county grows, I believe we need leaders who are committed to serving the residents of Jefferson County, who have experience on a county and state level and attempt to put the needs of its residents first," Lance said. "I have been doing that all my political life and hope the people will give me the opportunity to continue to serve them."

John Snyder

In the Shepherdstown District, Democrat Joseph John "Jack" Snyder, 51, is seeking his first elected office.

"My very real concern is about all the change coming at us throughout the whole Panhandle," Snyder said. "We need to do some real planning to handle these needs."

Snyder is a freelance writer and editor who founded the Shepherdstown Station Project to restore the old train station in Shepherdstown. He also was one of the founders of the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum in 1988.

He is an advisor on the Maryland governor's Western Maryland Regional Transportation board and is president of the James Rumsey Torch Club.

James Knode

Knode is seeking his second term on the County Commission, having just served two years as its president.

He is a business management consultant. He said his first priority if re-elected would be to continue the effort to end annual hikes in county property taxes.

Knode said he looks forward to revising the Jefferson County comprehensive plan.

"The Eastern Panhandle is growing rapidly and facing more challenges than ever before," Knode said.

Experience, character and ability are more important than stances on specific issues because commissioners have to look at the long-term picture, he said.

"Many of the issues and opportunities that come before the Commission in the course of a six-year term aren't even on the horizon at election time," Knode said.

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