Democrats responses at candidates forum

October 19, 2006

Kristin Aleshire, 31, Hagerstown

How to address affordable housing in the county: He has analyzed the county's affordable housing report and offered three or four pages of comments and suggestions, but received no response. He then took the recommendations to the city, which was able to implement programs aimed at helping residents own homes.

On transportation needs in the county: Must ensure major roads are able to handle current and future traffic volumes and wants to improve major intersections.

How to help senior citizens with health care and taxes: He said he isn't too old, so it's not a subject in which he has the most expertise, but he said the county as a whole should take its "collective voice" to state legislators and tell them that the issues need to be addressed at the state level.

Donna L. Brightman, 54, Knoxville

On the county's property tax rate: Washington County should be careful about the tax rate and the constant yield rate and look at tax relief as an "entire package." The county should make choices about quality of life issues and infrastructure needs as part of a managed growth plan.


Keeping taxes affordable: County governments run on taxes and fees. The county is in the position to have a tax relief package in place to "help senior citizens and others stay in the area." The county needs to balance its services and growth with "what we're willing to pay."

On her qualifications: She said she brings a balanced perspective to the board and would reconnect residents with good government.

J. Herbert Hardin, 71, Hagerstown

On funding for education: "The (Capital Improvement Program) has been severely underfunded for the last several years ..." The public school system operates 47 schools, with many being more than 50 years old.

On managing growth: There's currently a decline in growth in the county, but he thinks the numbers will begin to climb in several months. Realtors are saying there are a number of homes in the county that are not being sold.

Protecting the Antietam Creek Watershed/Chesapeake Bay by regulating runoff from farms: The county should provide incentives to farmers to protect the environment before restrictions are placed on them. Mandatory solutions should be a last resort.

On his qualifications: A thorough educational background, and he'll meet the expectations of voters.

N. Linn Hendershot, 61, Hagerstown

Rating the success of the county's state lawmakers: It's important for the county to become more "stately" when dealing with state lawmakers. The county needs to build bridges and have five common sense commissioners who will be responsible for the county and serve residents better.

On keeping tuition down at Hagerstown Community College: Supports giving more money to HCC to keep tuition from increasing. He said the college is growing and he is impressed by the educational and vocational training the college offers.

On the county's approximately $162 million total debt: Thinks senior citizens are "taking it on the chin" regarding taxes. Seniors need tax relief, he said. The county should be proactive when it comes to financial matters, rather than reactive.

Paul L. Swartz, 68, Maugansville

Providing tax relief to residents: He thinks the County Commissioners should be looking out for the taxpayer, but opposed the way the commissioners chose to offer tax refunds and called it a waste of money. Rather than mail out refunds, which came days before tax bills, he said the county should have reduced the tax bills.

Views on economic development in the county: Swartz thinks the key to economic development is an educated work force. He supports providing free tuition to Hagerstown Community College for two years for county students.

How to preserve agricultural land when some residents don't accept government money (for easements): "We must value our farmers" and continue to seek state funding for preservation.

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