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County Commissioners sworn in

Four Republicans and a Democrat take oath

Four Republicans and a Democrat take oath

December 06, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN - The first time Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III presided over the swearing-in of a new board of County Commissioners was in 1986.

The board consisted of four Democrats and one Republican, he recalled.

The tables were reversed Tuesday - Wright's final time officiating the ceremony - as four Republicans and a Democrat took an oath to serve the county's residents "diligently and faithfully."

Wright, an administrative judge, said he plans to step down by the next election.

Later in the day, the new board held its first meeting to elect a president and vice president. The meeting lasted 14 minutes.

The commissioners unanimously selected John F. Barr as president and Terry L. Baker as vice president. Barr received the highest number of votes in the primary and general elections, and Baker was the second-highest vote-getter in the general election.

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Despite the lopsided representation of political parties, lone Democrat Kristin B. Aleshire said at the swearing-in ceremony that the new board would work together and move the county forward in the best interests of its residents.

Wright urged Aleshire and Republicans Baker, Barr, James F. Kercheval and William J. Wivell to take their oaths to heart.

"There is so much to do," Wright said.

He encouraged the commissioners to take a page from Winston Churchill and work with optimism.

"He was always looking forward, always acting," Wright said. "That is what we hope ... will be your response."

Wright reminded the commissioners that they represent all of Washington County, not just certain groups.

"I hope that many of you here (in the audience) didn't vote for any of these individuals, because that group is also to be represented in the public service that the commissioners are about to enter," Wright said.

The commissioners thanked their family, friends and voters for the support.

"It's extremely humbling ... when you see that more than 18,000 people feel that you are able to lead ..." Aleshire said.

Aleshire received 18,557 votes in November's general election.

Baker, who said he grew up poor, credited his teachers, coaches and administrators with helping him through life. That spurred his desire to give back to the community by running for public office, he said.

"Washington County is a great place," he said. "It has been tremendous to me. The people have been tremendous to me."

Kercheval said he was excited and surprised when elected to his first term four years ago.

"I think the second time it meant a little more," Kercheval said. "It means a lot more, because it says you were trying to go in the right direction and the people supported that."

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