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VanReenen says government happens 'in the people'

February 14, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Torrence "Tory" M. VanReenen has spent much of her life managing her own business, but now she wants to help run local government.

VanReenen, a Republican, is a candidate running for Hagerstown City Council.

VanReenen, 56, of 235 E. Irvin Ave., is single and has no children. She runs a private accounting and financial consulting firm out of her home, a business she has been involved in since 1986.

VanReenen was born and raised in Waynesboro, Pa., and moved to Hagerstown when she was 16. She graduated from North Hagerstown High School in 1967, and began taking classes at American University in the District of Columbia.

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She began working at the same time at Washingtonian Magazine, and became the assistant to the publisher, which gave her opportunities to meet and greet, and attend Washington social events.

VanReenen married and moved back to Hagerstown and in 1975 with her husband opened her first business, Harpers Ferry Peanut Gallery. After selling that business, the two opened a Mexican restaurant near Harpers Ferry, W.Va. That business also was sold at profit in 1986, the year VanReenen divorced her first husband.

VanReenen moved to Vermont, started her accounting business, and returned to Hagerstown in 1990. After a second divorce in 2000, VanReenen began trying to grow her business and involving herself in community events.

She joined the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and has since volunteered for several organizations, including the Greater Hagerstown Committee, the Women's Giving Circle and the Washington County Humane Society. Currently she sits on a state-commissioned water and sewer advisory board.

VanReenen said she believes she will be a good representative.

"Government is not something that happens in chambers. Government is something that happens in the people, and I'm the people," VanReenen said. "I will listen and do the very best to make the very best happen."

VanReenen's top priority is to avoid new taxes and fees while trying to find "resourceful revenue streams," which she likened to cost savings in business.

"If you can find them in business, you can find them in government," VanReenen said.

She also said she wants an increased level of higher-paying jobs, which she said would make homes more affordable and increase the city's tax base.

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

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

The primary election is March 8.

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