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Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce backs Bartlett, slots

October 24, 2008

The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce has endorsed U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in his bid for a ninth term and has come out in favor of legalizing slots.

Also, the Chamber is supporting four Washington County Board of Education candidates - Wayne D. Ridenour, W. Edward Forrest, Justin M. Hartings and Donna Brightman.

The Chamber released its endorsements on Thursday in an e-mail statement.

For Bartlett, the Chamber's statement says, "Our community's greatest short-term need from the federal government is help with infrastructure. Because of his seniority in Congress and his knowledge of our community, Congressman Bartlett is best positioned to deliver help with road, sewer, library, and other critical projects. We look forward to working with the Congressman to enhance our infrastructure, especially transportation needs around the new hospital, Hagerstown Community College, and the entire Eastern Avenue/Robinwood Drive corridor."

Bartlett, a Republican representing Maryland's 6th District in Congress, is running against Democrat Jennifer Dougherty and Libertarian Gary W. Hoover Sr.

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The election is Nov. 4.

Eight candidates are running for four school board seats.

The Chamber's statement says Ridenour, Forrest, Hartings and Brightman collectively "offer a strong mix of experience, perspective, and background in education policy. The business community looks to the Board of Education to prepare our children for a 21st century economy. The Board must focus on student achievement with new and creative programs while balancing severely limited resources."

On the slots referendum that will be on the ballot, the Chamber says it "has long held that, on balance, slot machines would benefit Maryland. Legalizing slot machines will provide an alternative source of State revenue without further burdening local businesses with taxes and fees. Marylanders currently spend millions of dollars on slot machines every year, and this referendum will channel some of that money back to State coffers.

"The Chamber would have preferred the legislature to decide the question rather than resorting to a cumbersome method that requires an amendment to the state constitution. However, this 'good government' argument does not negate the contribution that legalized slot machines will make to our State's economic health."

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