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editorial - both - 3/11/01

March 11, 2002

A request for aid with UM campus

To: The Hon. Howard P. Rawlings

Chairman, House Appropriations Committee

Now that a state senate subcommittee has agreed not to cut $12.4 million needed to build a University Systems of Maryland campus in downtown Hagerstown, the proposal will face scrutiny by the House of Delegates. Even though the legislature is faced with the tremendous task of cutting $400 million from the governor's budget, we ask that you spare this item, for several reasons.

In the past 30 years, the Hagerstown area has lost many of the manufacturing jobs that once drove the local economy. Fairchild Aircraft is gone and Mack Trucks has downsized. While the addition of companies like Citicorp Credit Services and other local firms has helped, our median income in still below Frederick County, Md. to the east and Franklin County, Pa., to our north.

Given your advocacy of education for Baltimore City, we know that you realize its value in improving the lives of Maryland residents. This facility, like a similar one in Shady Grove, would allow people who are already in the work force to gain new skills and advanced degrees that will boost their incomes and enrich their lives.

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The project would also help revitalize downtown Hagerstown, not only by bringing students into the center city, but by creating jobs for faculty and other staff members who will eat, shop and - we hope - live in the city.

Great cities are part of what makes Maryland what is. We've watched as Baltimore has fought its way through some tough times to become the tourist attraction and the business center it is today. Now Hagerstown and Washington County citizens need a little of bit of help. We hope that despite the need to make some deep cuts, that the House can spare this important project.

(Editor's note: If you agree with this editorial, please send it to Del. Howard Rawlings, Lowe House Office Building, Room 131, 84 College Ave., Annapolis, Md., 21401-1991.)

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