Bowers to run for sixth term

March 17, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Bowers to run for sixth term

Washington County Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers will file for re-election to an unprecedented sixth consecutive four-year term in that office this morning.

Bowers said Monday he wants to continue being a "people's commissioner" and "solving problems with common sense."

Bowers, 54, a receiving clerk at Mack Trucks, said providing jobs with higher wages is his top priority. The county has worked for years to help the unemployed, and now, with unemployment at record lows, must help the underemployed, he said.

Bowers said the county can attract companies that pay higher wages through new job training programs at Hagerstown Junior College and a renewed emphasis on education.


"Education has to be put on the very front burner," Bowers said.

Teacher's salaries should be increased over a two- or three-year period to be competitive with surrounding counties, he said.

Bowers said three areas of the county poised for growth - Fort Ritchie, Hopewell Valley and a West End Business Campus - could yield higher-paying jobs.

The West End campus, where Bowers originally proposed including a baseball stadium for the Hagerstown Suns, could work without a stadium, Bowers said.

The commissioners should increase support for the Washington County Commission on Aging Inc., instead of cutting or freezing funding as they have over the past several years, he said.

Bowers also said he doesn't want to spend time criticizing other commissioners. Voters should elect people who are focused on solving problems in the future, not those intent on criticizing the past, he said.

Bowers also said the commissioners need to build more sewer lines to get more flow into the Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"We can't just talk about it for another four years," he said.

The plant has a capacity of 2.5 million gallons per day and a flow of 800,000 gallons per day. If plant usage increases substantially, the county could phase out its subsidy of water and sewer, currently $2.7 million a year, Bowers said.

Bowers said the administration of county government was "out of touch with the people."

"I see a government that thinks if you don't have a college education and a lot of degrees that you're really not welcome," Bowers said.

Bowers also said he'd like to see:

- lower landfill fees to bring in more waste, and more revenue.

- development fees that are uniform instead of negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

- funding for a retirement program for fire and rescue volunteers.

- all county billing consolidated into the Treasurer's Office, with a reduction in jobs at the county Finance Department.

- increased funding for the Sheriff's Department and the State's Attorney's Office to fight crime.

Bowers also said he won't ask for campaign contributions this year.

Bowers has two children. He lives with his wife Barbara in Maugansville.

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