Julia Walsh Gouge told a crowd of about 50 gathered on the steps of the County Office Building yesterday that she wants to keep her job as county commissioner and will seek a fourth term.
Gouge, 61, was the first woman elected to the board in 1986 and was re-elected in 1990. After a four-year hiatus from politics, she ran again in 1998 and won by the largest majority. She has served as president of the three-member board this term.
With an American flag scarf pinned on her lapel and her sculpted red, white and blue elephant in the background, Gouge made pitches for growth control, improved communication with the state and the county's eight towns, strong economic development and farm preservation.
"We need to manage our growth so we can provide the services people need," Gouge said. "I would like to get back in office and make Carroll County a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family."
The county has not kept pace with growth so its schools and roads are crowded and its services burdened, she said.
The commissioners need to bolster the management practices if they are to continue providing quality education and adequate services to more than 150,000 residents, she said.
"We can offset the growth needs with business and industry," she said. "Economic development has to pay the way."
She urged residents to vote in the Sept. 10 primary and in the Nov. 5 general election.