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Pastor hopes to close city's culture gap

February 11, 2005

gregs@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The Rev. Haru Carter Jr. prefers to be called "pastor" over "the reverend." He also hopes to soon be able use the title "councilman."

Carter, a Republican, is a candidate running for the Hagerstown City Council.

Carter, 58, of 1202 Hamilton Blvd., is married to Celestine and they have a son, Haru Carter III. Carter is the pastor of Zion Baptist Church on West Bethel Street in Hagers- town.

Carter was born in North Carolina, but moved to Washington, D.C., when he was 6. He went to Dunbar High School there, and earned his high school equivalency while he was in the Army, which he joined in 1964.

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When he returned from his two years of service, he worked in Washington in construction trades and in the mid-1970s began working for District of Columbia Public Schools as a boiler plant operator and later as a supervisor.

Before he retired from the school system, Carter studied for the ministry at Washington Baptist Seminary, completing his studies in 1985. His father also was a pastor.

He has been pastoring in Hagerstown since 1985. In 1997 he retired from the school system, and in 1998 he moved to Hagerstown. Last year he received his master's in divinity from Faith Christian University and Schools in the metropolitan Washington area.

Carter said that while he works in the Jonathan Street corridor, the center of Hagerstown's African-American community, he has a multiracial congregation of between 250 and 300.

He said he believes his time spent in the city has prepared him for a run at elected office.

"I've seen a lot of changes in this area, and I see there's still room for improvement," Carter said.

One thing he said he hopes he can do as a city official is to help close the city's culture gap.

Carter said he wants to try to erase the stigma of "badness" in the Jonathan Street community by focusing anti-crime and property redevelopment efforts there and promoting local ownership.

Carter said he also thinks there should be more culturally diverse events in the city.

Carter said he believes there should be more communication between city and county elected officials, and that the city should continue to develop jobs in downtown Hagerstown through more business.

The other official candidates for City Council are: Kristin B. Aleshire, Ruth Anne Callaham, Walter E. "Nick" Carter, Kelly S. Cromer, N. Linn Hendershot, Scott D. Hesse, Ira P. Kauffman Jr., Dan G. Kennedy, Lewis C. Metzner, Alesia D. Parson, Henry R. Renner Jr., Donald L. Souders Jr. and Torrence "Tory" M. VanReenen.

The primary election is March 8. The general election is May 17.

Council members are paid $8,000 a year and are eligible for city health benefits.

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