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HCC reception leaves unanswered questions

September 06, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College sophomore Durrell Blake attended Thursday's reception for Washington County Commissioners candidates hoping to figure out who to vote for.

When each of the candidates had finished giving brief speeches, Blake said his mind still wasn't made up.

"I want to talk to all of them one-on-one before I make up my mind," the 19-year-old general studies major said. "I still have a lot of unanswered questions."

HCC held the reception at the school's College Center. Sixteen of the 21 candidates running for a spot on the five-member board of commissioners attended.

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The candidates who attended were Jim Brown, Millard "Junior" Miller, Constance S. Cramer, J. Herbert Hardin, Ira P. Kauffman, Gregory I. Snook, Stephen C. Palmer, Doris J. Nipps, Vikki Nelson, William R. Russell Sr., Paul Henry Toothman, William Joseph Wivell, Paul L. Swartz, Harold "Hal" Phillips, J. Wallace McClure and Bert Iseminger.

Blake, of Hagerstown, said that while he was most impressed with the speech by Republican candidate Phillips, none spoke specifically on county issues.

"Everything was so general and (they were) avoiding taking a stand on everything," Blake said.

Blake said he thinks the county should focus on attracting more qualified educators to the area, lowering taxes and the water and sewer debt, improving the condition and safety of roads and increasing the availability of mass transit to county residents.

Jeremy Yost, 19, of Smithsburg, said he attended the reception because he's interested in the commissioners' race.

Yost, a liberal arts major who is in his second year at HCC, said he liked Iseminger.

"I liked what he was saying about getting business into the county," Yost said.

Yost said he'd like to have commissioners elected who favor bringing more businesses to the county to boost revenue and who take an interest in the future of HCC.

"I look for a platform," Yost said.

The candidates weren't only being critiqued on what they said. A group of about 23 public-speaking students were watching how they said it.

Joan Johnson said her public-speaking students were given an assignment to evaluate the public-speaking abilities of the candidates.

She said the assignment was meant to help students understand what makes a good speaker and what makes a not-so-good speaker.

She said the assignment might encourage some students to vote.

"I find that sometimes just seeing the candidates might get them voting," Johnson said.

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