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School board candidates react to primary results

September 14, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - If he had lost by just a few votes, he might wonder if one more meeting or one more bicycle ride would have helped.

Finding himself about 400 votes shy of running for a spot on the Washington County Board of Education after Tuesday's primary election, Russell F. Williams turned his attention Wednesday from campaigning to serving out the next two months of his term.

Williams has served one four-year term on the board.

"I enjoy it," he said. "I had fun. I have fun."

On Wednesday afternoon, Williams ruled out a write-in campaign for elected office, but hinted that campaigning might be in his future.

"I'm collecting my signs and storing them, not throwing them away," he said.

Williams made a bid for a seat on the board twice before being elected in 2002. Williams taught elementary students in the county for about 30 years before retiring a few years ago.

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"I always try to ensure that children from poor families have the same equal educational opportunities that children from well-off families have," he said. "I'm more concerned about those who have not been given the opportunities in life I have been given."

Paul W. Bailey, Ruth Anne Callaham, Jacqueline B. Fischer, Wayne Kretzer, Virginia Powers and William H. Staley were the six candidates selected to move on to the general election, according to complete but unofficial results. They will compete for three open seats in the general election.

Bailey, who is serving his second term on the board, said he was pleased by the primary results.

"I think I have a long record of experience in education, now 47 years," he said. "Having that amount of experience, I think the folks have grown to know that, and I only hope that is an indication that they trust me to do the best for the students of Washington County."

Callaham, 56, of Hagerstown, said she was exhilarated by the results of the primary, and also exhausted. She was the top vote-getter Tuesday.

"It's been a fabulous day," Callaham said. "I've had many calls from supporters and people who believe in what I'm trying to do."

Fischer, in her first term on the board, said she was looking to debates and candidate forums before the general election.

"I really hope that the voters will study the issues and weigh the solutions that are offered and really sift out those who are sincerely dedicated to making the best decisions for all students from the one-issue candidates," said Fischer, 60, of Clear Spring.

Kretzer, 38, of Hagerstown, said he did not do as well as he thought he would. He was hoping to be among the top three vote-getters, he said. He finished sixth.

"It's kind of like being 30 points down at halftime in a basketball game," he said of his chances for a win in the November election. "It's possible, but not probable."

Powers, 46, of Hagerstown, was more enthusiastic about her victory.

"I'm ecstatic," she said. "I think I need to regroup and set up a strategy for the next portion."

Attempts to reach Staley Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Tom Janus, 64, of Hagerstown, lost in Tuesday's primary. He said Wednesday that he would not be running as a write-in candidate as he did in the 2004 Board of Education election.

Like all other candidates interviewed the day after the primary, Janus said he wanted to thank his supporters.

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