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'Advocate' files for seat on county commission

June 20, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

Donna Brightman, 54, who describes herself as a Washington County advocate, filed Monday for a seat on the Washington County Commissioners.

Brightman, a Democrat, was the 12th person to file for five open seats on the board. She has 30 years of experience in business, and currently works with landscape design and project management for River's Edge Landscapes in Northern Virginia, she said.

Brightman said she lives on Garretts Mill Road in southern Washington County.

For the past 13 years, Brightman has had several roles, including chairwoman of the Citizens Advisory Committee and school improvement teams at schools attended by her sons, now 16 and 19, she said.

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In the past five years, Brightman said she has been active in the county's task force for home rule, a legislative advocate for the Board of Education task force, a Council of Governments advocate, a Washington County Board of Education second-generation participant, member of the Board of Education's facilities and enrollment advisory committee, Washington County Council of PTAs legislative liaison to the Maryland PTA and ombudsman for facility issues in Washington County for the Washington County Council of PTAs.

"I recently decided it was time to get inside the process and plant some seeds of change inside the government," Brightman said.

She chose a position on the County Commissioners - which would be her first elected office - as a platform to move ahead with issues that are important to her and other Washington County residents, she said. These include managing growth, education, roads and taxes.

"The Washington County government needs to reconnect with the 'kitchen table' concerns of all our citizens," she said. "How our county harnesses growth is the No. 1 issue facing residents. What we do today will impact our quality of life for years to come."

Brightman said she would not prevent growth if elected to the board, but attempt to harness it. Improving communication between the towns, the City of Hagerstown and the county also is a goal, she said.

In the time before the election, Brightman said she plans to visit many of the county's residents to talk with them about her goals and also listen to what they need from their elected representatives.

"I plan to reach out to them," she said. "We need to make it easy, and not more difficult, (for the citizens) to be part of the process."

Brightman said she lives with her husband of 20 years, Courtney Hirsh; two sons, Reid Hirsh and Turner Hirsh; her father, Donald Brightman, 85; and her aunt, Doris Pearsall, 93.

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