10 candidates face off for GOP primary

Board of Commissioners ballot includes 3 incumbents and 4 South Carroll challengers

Maryland Votes 2006

September 03, 2006|By Laura McCandlish | Laura McCandlish,Sun Reporter

Carroll County Republicans will be voting for three of 10 candidates for Board of Commissioners in a contested primary election Sept. 12.

The three GOP victors will run against three Democratic candidates in the general election.

Although a 2004 voter referendum called for electing five commissioners by district, a decision by the state's highest court rendered that measure moot.

Instead, commissioners will again be elected at-large in November. South Carroll residents were especially disappointed to not gain more representation in their district.

Four of the seven GOP challengers battling the three incumbent Republican commissioners hail from South Carroll.

Two challengers - Michael D. Zimmer and Douglas E. Myers - have publicly called for a sweep of the current board.

Mary Kowalski, a late-filing candidate from Westminster, has complained, "This is the most closed government in Carroll County we've ever had."

Other challengers, like GOP candidate Dave Greenwalt, have lambasted the board for excessively increasing county salaries and for legal fees the board has incurred.

Total salaries have increased by 17.6 percent under the current board, according to county data, but staff is still lower paid than their counterparts in surrounding counties.

Pay increases and a new salary step system has improved morale and retention and brought old cabinet staff back, the incumbent commissioners have said.

Though the current board has drawn criticism over inadequate conditions at South Carroll High School, the Carroll County Education Association has endorsed all three incumbents.

"They have brought a common-sense approach to administering this county, with all their efforts to try to curb the growth so that services can keep up," said Barry Potts, the association president.

The board also seems unfazed by their detractors.

"I haven't heard an original idea or single solution from any of the challengers that we haven't thought of, done or rejected in some cases," said Commissioner Dean L. Minnich after a meeting with the Union Bridge Town Council last week.

Campaign funds listed below were raised through the first pre-primary period, which ended Aug. 15. The following candidates are running for county commissioner:

Dennis E. Beard

Age: 60

Party: Democrat

Residence: Sykesville

Family: Wife, Kathy; two adult children

Occupation: retired lieutenant, Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services, 30 years; Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department, 1971-present

Education: graduate, Waynesboro Area Senior High School; coursework, Catonsville Community College.

Issues: "Taxpayers have the right to demand that the county commissioners treat the county's budget just as you treat your family's budget ... Our schools need to be well-maintained, safe and environmentally sound. We need to retain teachers and provide equal access to technology ... Our population growth, along with the `graying' of Carroll County, is taxing local government and stretching our resources - particularly those of fire, EMS and police. I will provide an entire career-worth of knowledge, the ability and the passion to plan for the safety and well-being of Carroll County residents.

Web site: www.votedennis beard.com

Funds: $1,495 (self-reported)

Christopher Eric Bouchat

Age: 38

Party: Republican

Residence: Woodbine

Family: Divorced; two daughters

Occupation: aircraft welder and owner, Bouchat Industries, 12 years; Baltimore County Republican Central Committee, 2002-2004

Education: graduate, Howard High School; welding certificate, Howard Vo-Tech; coursework, Catonsville Community College and University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Issues: "Adequate funding & professional management of emergency services. Build and maintain water and sewage systems that address expanding demand ... Attract more business into our boundaries. Support the zoning and construction of regional industrial parks ... Support a referendum for independent county government."

Web site: none.

Funds: $7,360

Vincent F. DiPietro

Age: 67

Party: Democrat

Residence: Sykesville

Family: Wife, Grace; one adult daughter.

Occupation: retired engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 25 years; nuclear fusion hardware designer, Research Support Instruments, five years

Education: engineering coursework, University of Maryland, College Park, Johns Hopkins University

Issues: "Build additions to existing schools instead of building new schools. Teachers' pay must be comparable to other counties in Maryland ... Tax incentives for businesses and homeowners who install solar panels or windmills ... Control rampant growth; raise impact fees. State funding to widen Route 32 to four lanes and to fix the intersection with Route 26."

Web site: www.vdipietro.home stead.com

Funds: $700 (self-reported)

Julia Walsh Gouge(Incumbent)

Age: 66

Party: Republican

Residence: Hampstead

Family: Husband, Jesse; three adult children

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