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Baker makes political run

April 18, 2006|by TARA REILLY

CLEAR SPRING

Terry Baker said he's been running all his life - in races or, most recently, for political office.

His rsum includes a seventh-place finish in the 1982 Boston Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 16 minutes.

He finished first in the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington, D.C., in 1985.

In 2003, he ran and was elected to the Clear Spring Town Council. He serves as vice mayor.

Now, the Republican has decided to run for Washington County Commissioner.

Baker, 50, of Clear Spring, said growth and rising property assessments and taxes are among the issues that prompted his run for county office.

Housing prices have made it hard for young people to achieve "the American dream" of owning a home, and rising assessments are making it difficult for existing homeowners to pay their taxes, he said.

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"I see nothing ... for the citizens who are working day and night just to keep what they worked for their whole lives," Baker said.

He questioned the County Commissioners' efforts to help with the affordable housing issue.

"Why did our state delegation have to strong-arm some of our County Commissioners about assessment caps?" Baker asked.

Residents shouldn't have to worry about how much their taxes will increase, he said.

"Many homeowners are working their tails off just to make ends meet," Baker said. "I think it's imperative our commissioners get the homeowners relief."

The assessment cap limits how much assessments may rise in a year, for tax purposes. The county's cap is 10 percent, the highest allowed by the state. The commissioners recently voted to lower the cap to 5 percent at the urging of local state legislators. The lower cap will take effect in fiscal year 2008.

Baker said the commissioners should find a balance between growth and development, and work with municipalities when making countywide decisions.

"When the county makes a decision, it affects the municipalities," he said.

Baker's term on the Clear Spring Town Council expires in November 2007, a post he would have to leave if elected commissioner.

Baker, a self-employed home-improvement contractor, lives with his wife, Katrina. He has twin daughters, Jessica and Jennifer Crawford.

There are five open seats in the coming election on the five-member board of commissioners.

Candidates have until July 3 to file for the race. The primary election is Sept. 12; the general election is Nov. 7.

Six other people have filed to run for County Commissioner: former Commissioner Paul L. Swartz, a Democrat; former county employee John Weller, a Democrat; Edward L. Knepper, a Republican; Mike Spinnler, a Democrat; Nathan A. Green, a Republican; and John F. Barr, a Republican.

The commissioners position pays $30,000 a year. The commissioners president receives $33,000 a year.

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