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Question 2: Democrat responses

August 24, 1998

PRIMARY '98: FORUMS

How should county attract higher-paying jobs?

Democrat response




Editor's note: We asked all of the candidates to answer five questions from Herald-Mail editors. Answers were limited to 60 words. Responses that exceeded that were edited.

Julianna M. Albowicz: We must educate and train our students and residents. By creating "qualified" workers, businesses will have a reason to locate in Washington County. Currently, computer companies cannot find qualified workers and are importing immigrants from all over the world to fill these positions. Plus we need to market the good, clean quality of life in Washington County.

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William C. Blair: Our county should be very easy to sell to industry. We need to reach out, outside of Washington County, and advertise the accessibility of our location and what we have to offer, such as major Interstate Rail Service and Air. We have a highly skilled work force that commutes outside of our county each day for better paying jobs.

Ronald L. Bowers: A. Revitalize Friendship Technology Park upon completion of the (Md.) 632 Interchange. B. Continue a major international campaign touting Lakeside Corporate Center at Fort Ritchie.C. Strengthening education from kindergarten through college will lead to a better educated work force that will attract the caliber employer who will provide higher paying jobs. Our median income will escalate.

William M. Breichner: Encourage the development of technology and industrial parks along the Interstate 70 corridor between U.S. 40 and Interstate 81. The initial phase of this effort would be to promote the Allegany Power Technology Park. Our long term goal should be to improve our educational curriculum so to better prepare our youth to enter future job markets.

Patricia Crowther: Hire a economic development expert and pay him a base salary and a substantial bonus for each company which relocates here with jobs that pay above average wages. The better the company the bigger the bonus. It's better to pay one expert up front then to give away the farm.

Ronnie Hines: Any town that has an interstate through it grows rapidly. We are fortunate enough to have two interstates. Why haven't we had more businesses in the county? I would try to lure a brewery to the county that would bring good paying jobs, hopefully be unionized, and would use a lot of water and sewer to help with the debt.

Andrew R. Humphreys: Through relocating businesses, let's explore (1) coordinated efforts with education providers for remediation and upgrades of working skills as needed for current workforce; (2) comprehensive promotional packages describing the attractive living and market conditions of our county; (3) tying incentives to the number of decent wage jobs.

Through new and existing businesses, focus on providing development and growth assistance programs.

Linda C. Irvin-Craig: Market to catch the attention of companies looking for a new location. Tout quality of life, work ethic and trained personnel as part of that effort. Have competent professionals on staff and within the business community to work with potential clients. Keep the development process on schedule and reserve financial perks for companies paying higher wages.

Delmas Knight: To draw companies into the area, the county should offer a tax incentive to new companies to the area. This incentive should be applied to the start-up years of the company. A second option could be to donate the land to the company as a draw to the area.

Eugene Buddie Morris: A. The City Council gave our light plant away to secure industry, but we won't operate that way.

B. Attract high technology firms to our county, the real estate tax rate brought in line with the constant yield rate, according to the state of Maryland.

C. The county inventory tax rate apply to new merchandise the first year only.

John L. Schnebly: Promoting our public education system (including HCC and Frostburg State), and refining its goals are the key to attracting higher paying employers. If our students begin achieving higher SAT scores, if more of our students begin to attend select colleges, and if our system works hard to produce technologically literate graduates, we will attract more sophisticated employers.

Paul L. Swartz: Washington County has been the best kept secret. Promotion through marketing and advertisement. The current Board of County Commissioners has allocated $217,404 out of a $99 million budget towards economic development - not enough. If elected, I plan to establish a steering committee composed of community leaders to assist me once a month to discuss issues and brainstorm for solutions.

Joseph D. Swope Jr.: Investigate other counties, that have been successful, focus on any areas of weakness, then implement both short and long term strategic plans. Improving education, is the key, especially higher education and vocational and technical training, with retraining for all ages. More diversity, of quality of life issues - arts and humanity/historical and cultural/public transportation/parks and open space/libraries/and a clean, safe environment.

Sue Tuckwell: As early as elementary school, greater emphasis must be placed on the county's educational opportunities, including Hagerstown Community College's Advanced Technology Center and the completion of a four-year degree through Frostburg State University. In addition, technology training via HCC should be promoted through the workplace locally and marketed nationally to high-tech firms seeking to do business in the Mid-Atlantic region.




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