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Humphreys seeking county office

April 23, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Washington County Board of Education member Andrew R. Humphreys, saying he's launching a crusade for effective and responsive government, has filed as a candidate for Washington County commissioner.

Humphreys, a Democrat, said education needs a stronger voice in county government and said he's been frustrated by the County Commissioners' decisions to cut budgets requested by the school board.

Humphreys, 43, said the percentage of the county budget going to education has shrunk in the past 10 years at the same time that the federal and state governments are cutting back on education spending.

"The quality of education is the cornerstone of economic development," he said.

"How many times do you have to hear this before you get it straight?"

Humphreys said the commissioners and the school board need to better coordinate their efforts and develop a long range plan for education.

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In addition to education and economic development, Humphreys said he will focus on improving the accessibility of county government to the public and on improving public relations.

"There seems to be a disconnect between the people of the county and their county government," Humphreys said.

People tell him that they don't feel comfortable talking to the County Commissioners, he said.

"The people want more than anything else for their elected officials to listen to them. Not just to hear, but to listen. If it goes in one ear and out the other, you're just hearing."

One example of the inaccessibility of county government is the limited parking at the Washington County Administration Building on West Washington Street.

"That's intimidating to the average person, and it sends a signal to them that we don't want you here unless you have a major problem," he said.

Humphreys also said the community needs to come together and develop a common vision for the future of the county.

"Where are we going to wind up 30, 40, 50 years from now?" he asked.

Humphreys said he's doing his homework on major county issues, such as taxes, impact fees, water and sewer, and funding for a new baseball stadium, and doesn't have enough information yet to take positions.

Humphreys will have four children in county schools this fall. He lives in Hagerstown with his wife Bonnie.

Humphreys moved to the county in 1991, and is the president of ARH Diversified, which provides business development, management and administrative support services to small companies.

Humphreys' term on the Board of Education ends in 2000.

County commissioner candidates have until July 6 to file. The primary election is Sept. 15 and the general election is Nov. 3.

The job pays $20,000 a year.

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