Democrat commissioners hopefuls tout skills

October 18, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Most of the Democrats running for Washington County Commissioner say their prior government experience and community involvement makes them capable to manage the county over the next four years.

Five Republicans and five Democrats are challenging for five open seats on the Board of County Commissioners. The position pays $30,000 a year, and the president receives $3,000 more.

The Democratic candidates are Kristin B. Aleshire, Donna L. Brightman, J. Herbert Hardin, N. Linn Hendershot and Paul L. Swartz.

Hardin, 71, has two bachelor's degrees from Shepherd College and a master's of education from Penn State University.

He served on the Washington County Board of Education from 1998 to 2002 and was an educator in the public school system for 39 years. He worked in seven different schools over that period.

Hardin has served on the Mike Callas Stadium Committee for North Hagerstown High School, with the Lions Club and was the founder of the Washington County Retired Education Administrators.


Hardin lives in Hagerstown.

Aleshire, 31, has been a Hagerstown city councilman for six years. He works as a professional land-use planner for a local firm, he said.

He was brief in explaining his qualifications to serve as a commissioner, saying only that he "meets the election guidelines as determined by the Washington County Board of Elections."

Swartz, a County Commissioner from 1998 to 2002, said he has leadership skills and compassion to once again bring to the board.

"I think I've been there and done that, and I feel that I want to do it once more," Swartz said. "And I have a real deep desire to do this."

Swartz, 68, graduated from Shepherd College after receiving a full basketball scholarship.

He has a master's degree from West Virginia University and has taken classes toward his doctorate. He said he has deep respect for Washington County Public Schools.

Brightman's qualifications for the position include 30 years as a business owner and manager, she said.

She has been a mother for 19 years and a community advocate for 15 years, including serving as the legislative liaison to the Maryland Parent Teachers Association, chairing the Boonsboro High School Citizens Advisory Committee and serving as the local delegation's representative on the Washington County Home Rule Task Force.

Brightman, 54, of Knoxville, works as a landscape designer and project manager for Rivers Edge Landscapes, based in Virginia.

Hendershot said he's qualified "because of the intense interest I have in the community."

He is on several boards and committees, including those working with senior citizens and disabled residents. He served four years on the Hagerstown City Council.

Hendershot, 61, graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor of science degree in business and public administration. He spent 35 years in the business world, including working public relations and sports marketing for the Atlanta Falcons, NASCAR, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Bucknell University.

He is the director of communications for Western Maryland Hospital Center in Hagerstown.

Top three priorities

Kristin B. Aleshire

1. Water and sewer capacity
2. Economic development
3. Educational system

Donna L. Brightman

1. Growth
2. Taxes
3. Education

J. Herbert Hardin

1. Keeping the county secure/public safety
2. Growth and the local economy
3. Education

N. Linn Hendershot

1. Having five open-minded commissioners manage the county
2. Managing growth
3. Economic development

Paul L. Swartz

1. Education
2. Jobs
3. Growth

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