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Washington County Commissioners candidates Q&A Part 1

August 21, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

o Washington County Commissioners candidates Q&A Part 2

For 12 of the 14 candidates running for Washington County Commissioner, a crucial first round is just a few weeks away.

The Sept. 14 primary election will narrow the field of 12 Republican candidates for commissioner to just five.

The five GOP candidates who come out on top in the primary will face off against one Democrat and one Green Party candidate in the Nov. 2 general election to decide who will fill the five seats on the county's governing body for the next four years.

With unemployment hovering at around 10 percent and state funding cuts putting a squeeze on local budgets, job creation and efficient use of tax dollars are among the top issues in the campaign.

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The candidates running in the primary shared their ideas on those topics and others in response to eight questions from The Herald-Mail. Their reponses to the first four questions are in today's Herald-Mail. Their remaining four responses will run in Monday's newspaper.

The candidates were asked to keep their reponses to 100 words or less. Except for editing for length, and some tweaking for clarity's sake, the responses are running as they were written by the candidates.

Only three of the five incumbent commissioners, John F. Barr, Terry Baker and Kristin B. Aleshire, are running for re-election. Commissioner James F. Kercheval will become executive director of the Greater Hagerstown Committee and Commissioner William J. Wivell is running for state delegate. His wife, Robin Lynn Wivell, is running for a commissioner seat.

Aside from the three incumbents, only three of the 11 other commissioners candidates have held public office before: school board member Ruth Anne Callaham, former commissioner John Munson and former Williamsport Town Council member Jeff Cline.

Profiles of the candidates are available at http://www.herald-mail.com/elections.

Some candidates submitted written answers to a separate set of questions from Citizens for the Preservation of Pleasant Valley. Those responses can be downloaded from http://upshotmd.org/events/20100721/Commissioner-QA.pdf.

UNOPPOSED, NO PRIMARY RACE



Kristin Aleshire, 35

incumbent

1217 Virginia Ave., Hagerstown

Democrat

Joe Lane, 46

12030 Hippan Hill Road, Smithsburg

Green Party

REPUBLICANS



Question: Do you believe the county should balance its budget by cutting expenses or by raising taxes? Why?

Terry Baker, 54

Incumbent

12068 National Pike, Clear Spring

Republican

The County should balance its budget with revenues collected. With more and more fiscal responsibility being mandated from the state of Maryland back to the Counties, the Commissioners will have to be accountable more now than ever with the citizen's tax dollars. For me, these new mandates will have to be accomplished with no tax increase on real estate or income tax. The Commissioners need to help working citizens and families keep more of the money they earn. The average for the last 4 years is already a reduction in internal operating costs for the county.

John F. Barr, 56

Incumbent

12404 Rocky Fountain Lane,

Clear Spring

Republican

These economic times are challenging each and every entity of society both public and private individuals alike. It is extremely important for all public government entities including county to control spending, cut costs and to encourage volunteerism and public service in the line of concern for others. Increasing taxes and spending are not the answers under any circumstances to our economic woes. I am opposed to increases in any taxes and/or initiatives to disguise a tax increase. Increased taxes are an extreme detriment to economic development. However some increases in governmental services need to be evaluated.

Ruth Anne Callaham, 60

1317 Lindsay Lane, Hagerstown

Republican

Cutting Expenses. The balance in a budget requires a well focused plan to maximize revenue without raising taxes while minimizing expenses without reducing services. As a strong believer in "balanced budgets," I will work to prioritize all government expenditures and use existing revenues to pay for those expenses that are the top priority. Expansion of programs or new projects should not be planned unless a "bill payer" can be identified within existing revenue streams.

Jeff Cline, 53

13 S. Artizan St., Williamsport

Republican

The county should balance its budget by managing all county resources effectively, efficiently and by reducing expenses. The citizens of Washington County are already burdened with taxes, fees and government revenue programs at all levels. It's time for county government to lead the way and "to live within its means." Fiscal responsibility should be the norm not the exception.

Walter C. Frazee, 52

23506 Leathers Road, Smithsburg

Republican

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