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Knowledge-based campaign won out

June 04, 2005|by Kristin Aleshire

Now that the Hagerstown election is complete and the current administration has made its last motions, I would like to pause and thank everyone from voters to friends and family who believed in me enough to allow me to continue to serve the citizens of our city.

It has been an honor to represent the city for the past four years and an even greater honor when the public recognizes the integrity of that representation.

There are several points that I made on election night that I also made throughout the campaign process, both in public setting and editorials, which I feel deserve clarification, but certainly not retraction.

The first is my statement that "this city is not for sale." As stated in the thousands of flyers that I delivered door to door, "It is my belief that government should be in the hands of the people that elect their leaders, not in the pockets of any group that may hold sway over the decisions that you elect us to make." The intent of money spent on this election was no secret to the public, and rightly so.

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The second is my statement that "money is a poor substitute for intelligence." A better word to use might have been "knowledge," but the intent of this statement remains.

In turning down contributions from individuals, unions, businesses and other groups during the campaign process, it was my belief and hope that the citizens would recognize my sincere efforts by the thousands of hours spent developing a knowledgeable understanding of the issues rather than spending thousands of dollars on a campaign asking you to elect me first, so I could seek knowledge of those issues later.

The third is my statement in response to how this new administration will "get along". I merely pointed out the simple fact that in the makeup of this city government, the will of the majority decision of the voting council, rather than that of any individual member including the mayor, determines the direction in which the city must proceed.

It appears from numerous editorials, articles, polls and even a recent editorial cartoon in the Sunday Herald-Mail that an assumed message is being sent to the public about our inability to "get along" before we even begin. I would argue that it would be difficult to accuse us later of something you are already leading the public to expect.

I am certain there will be difficult issues ahead and serious matters to address, which is why we as leaders of this city must remain focused on making decisions on behalf of our citizens first.

However, as I stated four years ago upon entering my first term, the ability for us to overcome such difficulties and achieve our goal of making this a successful city is only as great as the interest and participation of the community that we serve.

Kristin Aleshire is a member of the Hagerstown City Council.

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