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Former officeholders among candidates for Hagerstown council

Bruchey, two challengers file for mayoral election

January 11, 2012|By DAN DEARTH, HEATHER KEELS and DAVE McMILLION | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com, heather.keels@herald-mail.com, davem@herald-mail.com
  • Tammi Derr, Washington County Board of Elections lead election clerk, checks a list of people who filed Wednesday to run for public office.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Twelve candidates have filed to run for the five seats on the Hagerstown City Council, including former Republican State Sen. Donald F. Munson and former Washington County Board of Commissioners member Kristin B. Aleshire.

Republican Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II also will have competition in an April 3 primary election after Republican Brian D. Caron of 609 Sunset Ave., filed to run for the job, according to Kaye Robucci, director of the Washington County Board of Elections.

Caron, 39, operates a printing press at Tri-State Printing on Bester Street in Hagerstown.

Caron, who has never held public office before, said he is a lifelong resident of Hagerstown and would be interested in playing a role in the betterment of the city.

Caron said complaining about issues through Mail Call “doesn’t always make things happen.”

Although Caron said he does not have a platform, he vowed to “just see what I could do.”

Democrat David Gysberts, of 795 Hamilton Boulevard, Hagerstown, who ran for mayor in 2009, also filed to run for mayor, Robucci said.

As the 9 p.m. filing deadline passed Wednesday, all of the city council incumbents, a former councilwoman and three political newcomers had filed to run for the council.

With six Republican candidates running for the council, a GOP primary election will also have to be held on April 3.

Aleshire, who was also a former city council member, lost his re-election bid for his commissioners seat in the Nov. 2, 2010, general election.

Neither Aleshire, Gysberts nor council candidate Jonathan R. Burrs could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. Burrs was a write-in candidate for mayor in 2009.

The other nine council candidates are incumbents William Breichner, Martin E. Brubaker, Forrest W. Easton, Ashley C. Haywood, Lewis C. Metzner, former Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh, and newcomers Lauren “Larry” Bayer, Jeffrey Coney and Chris Kelly.

Earlier in the day, Bruchey said Munson “brings a wealth of knowledge” and would be a good advocate for the city.

Speaking outside the Maryland State House in Annapolis, where he attended the opening day of the Maryland General Assembly’s 2012 session, Bruchey said he had talked ahead of time with Munson about his plans to run.

Munson said he is running for the council and has no plans to run for statewide office in the future.

“I want to be a city councilman,” the 74-year-old Republican said.

He said his 16 years in the House of Delegates and 20 years in the Senate would be an asset for the city.

“I’ve had a lot of experience. I’ve had a lot of contacts, and I know the system inside and out,” said Munson, who was the senior member of the Senate Budget Committee when he lost the Republican nomination to Christopher B. Shank.

“Public life is in my blood .... I’ve missed public service since I’ve been out of it for the past year,” Munson said.

He said the city needs new businesses, particularly downtown, which would be a benefit to existing shops and restaurants.

Munson said he played a role in bringing the University System of Maryland to downtown and would like to see that expanded.

William Breichner

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Breichner, 80, said he wants to loosen restrictions to make it easier for property owners to develop buildings downtown.

He said one of those restrictions includes making developers follow unrealistic guidelines to maintain the historic integrity of buildings.

“We’re not bringing in new interests,” Breichner said. “I think there needs to be a change there.”

Breichner said he believes the next council needs to work to improve Municipal Stadium to ensure the Hagerstown Suns minor league baseball team has a reason to stay here.

“It’s an overall community asset that needs to be improved,” he said.

He said he believed the city also needs to work toward putting more parks and walkways along Antietam Creek.

Breichner said some of his most notable accomplishments while serving on the council include voting to reduce the budget and to initiate a recycling program.

Breichner has served four nonconsecutive terms on the council and as mayor from 2001-05. He is a Navy veteran.

Ashley C. Haywood

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