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Iseminger to seek re-election to County Commission seat

June 24, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Washington County Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger Jr. filed for re-election Friday, and will run as a Democrat.

Iseminger, 53, was elected commissioner in November 1998 as an Independent. To qualify for the ballot he had to get signatures from 3 percent of eligible registered voters in the county.

He has switched his affiliation to Democrat because he decided he could have more influence aligned with one of the two major political parties, he said. Party affiliation will also help him get more attention from some state lawmakers, he said.

Iseminger switched his affiliation from Republican to Independent before the 1998 election because he had never been involved in party politics and did not think party affiliation had anything to do with the job of a County Commissioner, he said.

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He registered as a Republican as a young man on the mistaken belief that his father was Republican, he said. His beliefs more accurately match those of the Democratic Party, he said.

The 1998 election was Iseminger's third try at public office. He lost bids for a House of Delegates seat in 1990 and 1994.

"None of the party affiliations changes who I am, my philosophy or how I approach the issues. I am still the same man," he said.

Iseminger is an insurance agent for J. Edward Cochran & Co.

Iseminger said he is proud to have served as County Commissioner and would like to continue.

"There are a lot of issues that need the commissioners' attention as they go forward," he said.

One of those issues will be finding a way to increase funding to the Washington County Board of Education as it tries to fulfill Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan's goal of turning the district into a "world-class school system," he said.

The county must also continue working with the Hagerstown City Council on urban revitalization in the areas where infrastructure is already in place, Iseminger said.

He also plans to continue to monitor land use in the county and work on policies that will result in controlled development.

Commissioner Paul L. Swartz, a Democrat, and Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook, a Republican, are seeking re-election. Commissioner John L. Schnebly is not running again.

Commissioner William J. Wivell filed to run as a state delegate before the Maryland Court of Appeals earlier this month threw out a proposed redistricting plan under which Wivell would not have run against an incumbent.

Wivell said he would drop out of the race and file for re-election if new district lines place him in the same district as an incumbent. Under a revised plan released Friday, Wivell would run against an incumbent.

The deadline to file for the commissioners' race is July 1.

Also running in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary is Millard "Junior" Miller Jr.

The general election is Nov. 5.

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