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Nipps says loss won't reduce interest in community affairs

September 14, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY - When her term expires later this year, Washington County Commissioner Doris J. Nipps will no longer have the all-day commissioner meetings that mark most Tuesdays.

No more casting votes on controversial subjects such as rural rezoning and county spending. Phone calls from concerned taxpayers are likely to slow.

But that doesn't mean Nipps won't stay busy with community affairs.

She plans to keep going. She just won't be doing it as an elected official.

"I've been active for too long to sit back and not do anything," Nipps, 54, said Wednesday, a day after losing her bid for a second term in the Republican primary.

Nipps, who has spent the last 12 years as an elected official - eight years on the Board of Education and four years as a County Commissioner - said she hopes to work on committees that play a role in helping others.

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Her interests including education and helping senior citizens and low-income families. She works for Habitat for Humanity.

She said she's proud that as a commissioner she's been able to increase funding for school construction and improvements, and that the Washington County Commission on Aging was able to move from an inadequate location in downtown Hagerstown to the new Aspiring to Serve building on West Franklin Street.

The former location didn't accommodate many disabled seniors, and the move helped make the Commission on Aging's services more accessible, she said.

While not everyone might agree, she said she's proud that she supported the county's decision to rezone more than 250,000 rural acres and approve the approximately $61 million runway extension project at Hagerstown Regional Airport.

The project has started to boost economic development in the county through business expansions and job creations, county officials have said.

Nipps views the airport as a business park. She said one of the businesses there, Sierra Nevada, works on international planes and planes used by the U.S. military. A longer runway will allow the company to bring in larger aircraft to be worked on and lead to more jobs.

She said she hopes the commissioners will continue to preserve farmland and keep in place the lower housing densities on rural land that she helped approve.

"It's important to me as a taxpayer that we use the land wisely," Nipps said.

Nipps said she'll miss working with county staff members and hopes the friendships she made will continue.

She's not sure whether she'll run again for elected office. But never say never she said.

"I'm not moving out of the county," Nipps said. "I hope to certainly remain active."

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