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Walker files for commissioner

July 14, 1998|By MATTHEW BIENIEK

Washington County Commissioner candidate Joseph H. Walker said limiting the size of county government will be his top priority if he's elected.

"I don't want my government to give me an ice skating rink, or ballparks, or swimming pools," he said.

Walker, who is running in the Republican primary, has suggested in the long-term the abolition of small municipalities throughout the county. The move would end competition and disputes involving the county and municipalities over water and sewer service.

Police, fire, ambulance and other essential services ought to be funded but the frills need to go, he said.

Walker said he opposes the use of county funds to create and provide water and sewer services to industrial parks because "the county shouldn't be in the real estate business."

Walker, 77, said he plans to be a one-term commissioner, saying he would point the way and let others carry through his ideas after the next election in 2002.

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Calling for common sense in government, Walker says the county must live within its means. His platform is one of general goals including respect for the general welfare and fiscal responsibility.

To ensure fiscal responsibility, Walker would bring a full-time certified public accountant into county government to review the books and find out exactly where money is going.

Walker said he is a strong believer in the private sector, but doesn't believe in big tax breaks to attract businesses to the county. There is too much untaxed property in the county and too much money being spent to attract businesses without proven benefits, he said.

Walker is a 1938 graduate of Hagerstown High School. He studied chemical engineering at Illinois University and George Washington University.

An U.S. Army veteran of World War II, Walker served in the 748th Field Artillery Battalion in the European Theater.

After the war, he spent 30 years in the aerospace industry, including working for Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown.

His sole previous run for public office was for mayor of Hagerstown in 1997, Walker lost in the primary to eventual winner Robert E. Bruchey II.

Walker said he and his wife, Mary June Kuhn Walker, have three grown children, Kathryn E. Hawbaker, Joseph H. Walker, Jr., and Bethany J. Phillips.

Walker lives at 208 W. Irvin St., Hagerstown.

There are 29 candidates vying for the five Washington County Commissioner seats, including 14 Democrats, 14 Republicans and one Independent. The top five Democrats and Republicans in the Sept. 15 primary election and the Independent candidate will go on to the general election on Nov. 3.

The salary for commissioner is $20,000 a year.

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