Jones seeks to lead county

Union Bridge mayor becomes a Republican

April 28, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

With 11 years of experience running the town of Union Bridge, Perry L. Jones Jr. says he is ready to run the county.

The 49-year-old mayor, one of the few African-Americans to hold elected office in Carroll County, announced Friday that he is running for county commissioner as a Republican. Jones, previously a lifelong Democrat, switched parties when he filed for commissioner last week.

"The Republican Party best matches my views and vision for leadership in Carroll County," said Jones, standing in front of the Union Bridge Town Hall, which he helped build.

Robert Wolfing, chairman of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee, said the party welcomes Jones.

"He is a fine gentleman with good ideas," said Wolfing. "He will be a contributing force to our party."

This is Jones' second try for a seat on the three-member board of commissioners. He came in fifth four years ago, behind the three Republican victors: Julia Walsh Gouge, Robin Bartlett Frazier and Donald I. Dell and independent candidate Carolyn Fairbank.

Jones said his 2002 campaign would be similar to his previous one.

"Basically, we have the same problems that we had four years ago," Jones said. "We have not addressed managed growth, education issues and state and county law enforcement."

Jones knows he faces a difficult battle in the Sept. 10 primary where he will probably be running against three incumbents and several other well-known Republican candidates. The Democrats have fielded three candidates so far. Filing deadline is July 1.

"It just makes everybody work harder," he said. "I will be out in the community more. The people will make the ultimate decision of who they put in office."

Thomas McCarron, chairman of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee, said, "We are sorry to see Perry go and we wish him well. But, at the same time, we are proud of the candidates we have running. We are looking to change the direction of this county, away from the Republican philosophy of growth at any cost, tax increases and government only for insiders."

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