Businesswoman running for commission seat

April 20, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Patricia E. "Patt" Crowther is running for Washington County Commissioner.

Crowther, 61, of Hagerstown, said the commissioners have forgotten that they represent the people.

Crowther, a Democrat, is the mother-in-law of Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II, a Republican. She said she has often considered running for mayor.

"I almost did it, but Bob beat me to it," she said.

Crowther owned and operated the Burlap Sack restaurant on Jonathan Street, which closed in 1990, and ran vending machine and catering businesses for 20 years.

On Friday, the day she announced her candidacy, she criticized the commissioners' handling of the county's water and sewer systems, which are $53 million in debt.


"I just think that they didn't do their homework," she said.

Crowther said she didn't know how to deal with the sewer debt. A panel of local citizens should be convened to look at what other communities have done, she said.

She said another issue that the commissioners bungled was their attempt to decertify the union that represents its landfill, roads and bus workers. She said she would support unions organizing additional county workers.

Crowther also said she doesn't think the county's education system is working well.

"When you have children graduate from high school who don't know how to read, or the basics, that's sad," she said.

Crowther said she didn't know who should be blamed for poor performance - administration officials, teachers or parents.

Crowther said she didn't think that more money would necessarily solve the problems.

"I really think that teachers are fairly paid," she said.

Crowther also said the county needs to develop long-term plans to handle growth.

"I don't mind growth but I think there is a limit to what we can take," she said.

"We seem to attract a lot of minimum-wage jobs and give them a lot of freebies."

She said she would support impact fees.

She also said supporting the Sheriff's Department would be a priority for her.

Crowther, a longtime club member, said she has "very mixed feelings" about the county's tip jar law, which has raised millions of dollars for fire companies and nonprofit organizations.

She said she also has mixed emotions about building a new minor league baseball stadium, and said it wouldn't be a priority for her.

Crowther is a member of Dixon Troxell Unit 211 of the American Legion of Maryland. She served as its president for two years. She also was a past secretary of the Hagerstown Jayceettes, and volunteers at the American Red Cross and with Ladies of Elks Lodge 378.

She lives with her husband, Dick, at 817 Dewey Ave. She has three daughters and five grandchildren.

The primary election is Sept. 15 and the general election is Nov. 3.

The job pays $20,000 a year.

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