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Seniors and students need special attention

February 11, 2006|By Paul L. Swartz

I have been asked many times to consider seeking a return to politics, especially the office of county commissioner. I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure as a county commissioner from 1998-2002. I realize I made mistakes, but if mistakes were made, they were honest mistakes and ones I believe were in the best interest of the county and our citizens.

After many discussions with my family and friends and many prayers, I have made the decision to file for the office of County Commissioner. Serving the wonderful people of Washington County was and will be a pleasure.

It has been apparent to me that our senior citizens and our young citizens need a strong voice. I promise to be that strong voice.

There is not one citizen of Washington County who does not desire the very best for Washington County. I firmly believe that Washington County, with the right leadership, can become one of the top five counties in every category in the state of Maryland. In order for that to happen, I will outline two of my goals. More will be added as the campaign continues and these will be repeated over and over until they are accomplished.

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First we need to attract technological and manufacturing industries to Washington County that will help develop the tax base for our future and pay top wages. In order for these industries to locate here, we need to become the top county in education.

I propose that the commissioners develop an educational endowment fund of $2 million dollars annually that will offer the opportunity for all graduating seniors of Washington County (who desire) to attend Hagerstown Community College or University of Maryland (downtown) tuition free for the first two years. This is a start to becoming the best-educated county in the state of Maryland. This is not wasted money; this is an investment for our future. I predict that this will be a role model for other counties to imitate.

Secondly, we should be developing a plan for our senior citizens to enjoy their remaining years with dignity, pride and production.

I propose a property- tax relief program. First, reduce the property tax assessment cap from 10 percent to 5 percent. This helps all Washington County citizens. As one reaches the age of 65-69 they would pay 75 percent of their property tax bill. When one reaches 70-74 they would pay 50 percent of their property tax bill.

At the age of 75-79 they would pay only 25 percent of their property tax bill. When one reaches the age of 80 they would be exempt from any further property tax payments. I promise to exert every ounce of energy in my body to fight for these two proposals.

As a candidate for county commissioner, I ask for your support and, more important, your vote. I request this from both my Democratic and Republican friends. I promise to work hard for both parties. This no longer is us against them. It will be us working together for the betterment of our great county.

I realize the elections eight months (primary) and 10 months (general) from now, but I want to get an early start and prove that I deserve your support and vote.

May God bless each and every citizen of Washington County.

Paul L. Swartz is a former Washington County Commissioner.

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