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Souders says sales background is a plus

March 01, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Donald L. Souders Jr. says his background in sales will make him a good representative for Hagerstown residents.

Souders, a Democrat, is a candidate running for City Council.

Souders, 31, of 1057 Georgia Ave., is not married and has no children. He is a 1991 graduate of South Hagerstown High School.

Souders studied liberal arts at Hagerstown Community College until 1993, but did not complete a degree program. He then began working retail, and went to work in 1996 as a territory sales representative for Lipton Tea.

In that job, he was responsible for product placement in grocery stores. He did similar work for another company, but for more product lines, until 2002, when the company filed for bankruptcy.

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That year, he took a job with Swedish Match North America, a company that distributes tobacco products including smokeless tobacco, cigars and lighters. He said he maintains 700 accounts between Garrett and Howard counties in Maryland.

Souders said he wants to be a councilman because of "a natural love of politics," as well as some things he'd like to see changed.

Souders said his current work gives him budget experience needed in government, as well as listening skills.

"I have to listen to the retail owner or manager and understand what their problems are to try to solve them," said Souders.

Souders said his top priority is the creation of more affordable housing. His suggestion of how to accomplish this is through an already-existing city program.

The city uses federal grants to purchase homes, refurbish them and sell them at a rebated price using a need-based criteria. Souders said this is a good program, but it should expand. He recommends borrowing money to expand the program.

Souders said controlling growth is another top priority.

Souders said that in speaking with people in Hagerstown, he feels there is a "disconnect" between residents and government. He hopes to be able to reconnect citizens by listening to more people.

"You're not going to please everyone all the time," Souders said, but "at least when you make a decision you have gathered everyone's opinion. ... No one can say, 'No one asked.' "

The other official City Council candidates are: Kristin B. Aleshire, Ruth Anne Callaham, the Rev. Haru Carter Jr.,

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