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Swartz running for county commission

July 05, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

Paul Swartz, who ran unsuccessfully for the Washington County Commissioners in 1994, said he wants to make another try.

Swartz, 60, said he will campaign on promoting more unity in the community to address the $53 million water and sewer debt and other issues facing the county.

"There's a lot that we can be bringing together instead of going our separate ways," the Democrat said.

For example, he said the county could be working more closely with city officials to address the water and sewer problem. The county could also seek federal assistance and improve its economic development efforts to lower the debt, Swartz said.

"I think we need to tap every resource available before we go to the tax structure," he said.

Swartz, a West Virginia native and Maugansville resident, taught, coached and was a pupil personnel worker in the county's public schools for 35 years until his retirement in 1995.

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He currently works as athletic booster coordinator and assistant basketball coach at Hagerstown Community College.

In 1994 Swartz decided to put a lifelong interest in politics to practical use and ran for County Commissioner. He finished first in the Democratic primary but finished sixth in the general election, in which the top five vote-getters are elected.

Swartz said he was victimized by the strong Republican showing that year, but that didn't make defeat any easier to take.

"It was very disappointing," he said.

In fact, for a long time he considered not running again. But recently he decided to make another effort after seeing the current commissioners fail to work together and with other groups.

"I think the public confidence in our officials right now is not where it should be," Swartz said.

So far, 23 candidates have filed for election to one of the five County Commissioner seats. Today is the deadline for candidates to file for office.

The primary election will be Sept. 15 and the general election will be Nov. 3.

The job pays $20,000 a year, but Swartz said he would contribute $5,000 of his annual salary to charity if he is elected.

Swartz is also proposing that the five commissioner seats serve in staggered terms, removing the possibility of a complete turnover on the panel every four years.

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