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Lt. Gov. Brown focuses on economy, jobs in Hagerstown visit

Democrat gubernatorial candidate speaks at Chamber of Commerce luncheon

June 05, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com
  • Maryland gubernatorial candidate and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown speaks Wednesday at a luncheon organized by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Addressing a lunch gathering Wednesday organized by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown stressed the value of partnerships between the state and private businesses to create more opportunities and jobs.

Brown, a Democrat who is running for governor in the 2014 elections, earlier this week picked Howard County Executive Ken Ulman to be his running mate.

Brown’s address was focused on the economy and jobs, and how the state can better help local entities.

Referring to downtown redevelopment in Hagerstown, he said that the state would follow the direction of local leaders.

“I know you have a big challenge locally to figure out what direction that you want to go ... ,” Brown said.

The governor’s budget for fiscal 2014 set aside $100,000 to fund a redevelopment study of downtown Hagerstown.

“I believe that there are strategic decisions and partnerships and investments that we can make with public resources to enable the redevelopment of downtown Hagerstown .... ,” he said.

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But Brown said what he did not want was for the state to come in and say, “This is what redevelopment looks like in Hagerstown.”

Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, said he was impressed that Brown had taken the time to come to Hagerstown.

“We often times, you know, wonder if Annapolis knows we are here or cares,” he said.

Brown, who spoke to the media later, said leaders at the state level have the responsibility of working with local officials and the business community “to build new layers of opportunity.”

“People want the same things for their families and for themselves ... they want opportunities made available by good education, they want safe neighborhoods, security in their home, clean environment, access to quality medical care, and that’s what I’ve been fighting for my entire life in public service,” Brown said.

Keith R. Bryan, president and chief executive officer of Fahrney Keedy Home & Village, a continuing care retirement community in Boonsboro, said he was looking to double the size of the campus and asked Brown how the state could help.

“We would like to find ways we can partner with you in bringing more of these housing options ... particularly to our senior residents,” Brown said, asking Bryan to get in touch with one of his staff members.

Brien Poffenberger, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, said there was great value in having one of the state’s top executive leaders address the chamber, especially at a time when the county and state are gradually coming out of the recession.

“We are still hurting economically, but we are not at the depth of the recession, so what role is the private sector playing? What role is the public sector playing?, Poffenberger asked.  “ ... It is great to have the No. 2 guy in the state government come here and help us understand Annapolis’ perspective on that.”

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