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Mayor, seeking re-election, says downtown most important issue facing Hagerstown

Robert E. Bruchey II: Elected officials need to collaborate to either improve Municipal Stadium or build a new facility

March 01, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of occasional profiles about candidates running for mayor of Hagerstown.

Robert E. Bruchey II, who has twice been elected Hagerstown’s mayor and was appointed to that post once, is running for another term.

He will face challenger Brian D. Caron on April 3 in the Republican primary. The general election is Nov. 6.

“I believe that there’s still much to be done,” Bruchey said. “And with the current direction of our economy, I believe that we need a leader who can have the people’s best interests at heart and still move forward in these economic times.”

Bruchey, 53, of 905 Woodland Way, said he believes the most important issue facing the city is the downtown area, which has seen numerous businesses relocate outside the city limits, leaving dozens of vacant buildings and storefronts.

“You see it every day you walk around downtown,” he said. “The most important issue right now for the city of Hagerstown is creating opportunities for our citizens.”

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On the topic of the Hagerstown Suns minor league baseball team, Bruchey said he hopes the issue is settled by the time the general election rolls around, but said he fully supports the Single A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Keeping them in Hagerstown is important for a number of reasons, he said.

“The Hagerstown Suns are a big economic driver for the city of Hagerstown,” Bruchey said. “It currently brings in over $3 million a year in direct spending in the city and Washington County.

“It’s just too important to let them go and not even be able to offer a stadium that is up to (Minor) League Baseball standards.”

The Suns keep more than 100 jobs in the city, benefit tourism and should be important to every elected official, he said.

With the Suns considering a move to Winchester, Va., Bruchey said “there’s no doubt in my mind” that elected officials in the city, county and state need to collaborate to either improve Municipal Stadium or build a new facility.

“I have a great working relationship with the county commissioners and our (legislative) delegation,” he said. “There’s a long history there of being able to get projects that succeed. It’s important that we collaborate on this one, too.”

Bruchey first was elected mayor in 1997, then lost a re-election bid in 2001. Another try for the office fell short in 2005, when he lost to Richard F. Trump. He was appointed to the post in 2006 after Trump resigned.

Bruchey, who works as a manager at Valley Auto Center in Middletown, Md., defeated Democrat David S. Gysberts in the 2009 election, the same year the city council voted to move municipal elections to align with the presidential elections.

Gysberts is running on the Democratic ticket again this year and will face the winner of the Bruchey-Caron primary race in the Nov. 6 general election.

Bruchey is a 1976 graduate of Smithsburg High School. He also attended Hagerstown Community College.

The mayor of Hagerstown’s annual salary is $28,000.

Bio

Name: Robert E. Bruchey II (incumbent)

Date of birth: Sept. 16, 1958

Address: 905 Woodland Way, Hagerstown

Education: 1976 graduate of Smithsburg High School; took courses at Hagerstown Community College

Occupation: Manager at Valley Auto Center in Middletown, Md.

Party affiliation: Republican

Political experience: Served as elected mayor of Hagerstown, 1997-2001; appointed mayor of Hagerstown, 2006-09; re-elected mayor of Hagerstown, 2009-present

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