Poffenberger seeks delegate seat

July 20, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Although not an elected official, Brien J. Poffenberger said he's helped bring about progress for Washington County in Annapolis in recent years.

As president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Poffenberger has been a central figure in a community lobbying coalition.

Poffenberger, a state delegate candidate for Subdistrict 2B, said he has long considered running for office, an interest solidified while advocating for the county in the state capital.

"I have a proven track record in building coalitions and getting things done," he said. "Annapolis needs that."

Since 2006, the coalition of local government and business interests has broadened and taken up more issues, with success.

It has lobbied for money for an agricultural loan and grant program, a state police barrack and a downtown library expansion. It has fought to retain University System of Maryland at Hagerstown funding and to protect the county's tip-jar gaming system.

Each year, the coalition sets a new agenda.


Poffenberger said it's unusual for a city, a county, a school system and community groups to speak with one voice in Annapolis.

"My accomplishment was to get everybody at the table," he said.

Poffenberger, who lives in Sharpsburg, is on unpaid leave from the Chamber while he runs for office.

He's the only Democratic candidate in Subdistrict 2B, which starts east of Hagerstown and runs south through Boonsboro.

On the Republican side, Neil Parrott and Ted Brennan are competing in a Sept. 14 primary. The general election will be Nov. 2.

Delegates serve four-year terms and are paid $43,000 a year.

The current Subdistrict 2B delegate, Christopher B. Shank, is challenging Sen. Donald F. Munson in a GOP primary instead of running for re-election to the seat he holds.

Subdistrict 2B leans Republican in enrollment, but Poffenberger said he avoids looking at issues in political terms and focuses on how to get the most for Washington County.

Poffenberger said voters in both major parties have been open-minded as he campaigns, but there's an anti-incumbent "throw the bums out" sentiment, he said.

Quick facts

Name: Brien J. Poffenberger

Age: 45

Address: 107 E. Main St., Sharpsburg

Education: Bachelor's degree in government from the College of William and Mary in 1987; master's degree in architectural history from the University of Virginia in 1992; MBA in business from Georgetown University in 1997

Occupation: On unpaid leave from job as president of Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce

Party affiliation: Democrat

Political experience: First run for office

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