Editor’s note: This is one in an series of profiles of candidates running for office in the April 3 primary election.
At a young age, Kristin B. Aleshire decided he wanted to be a part of the Hagerstown community for life.
Aleshire, who said he believes people should be actively involved in their community, was elected to two terms — in 2001 and 2005 — on the Hagerstown City Council before leaving the post in 2006 after winning a seat on the Washington County Board of Commissioners.
Aleshire, 36, who is the town manager for Myersville, Md., lost his re-election bid for county commissioner in 2010.
He is one of five Democrats running in the April 3 primary election for that party’s nomination. All five Democrats will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.
Six Republicans will face off in the April 3 primary, with the top five moving to the general election. Unaffiliated incumbent Ashley C. Haywood also is expected to be on the ballot.
Aleshire of 1217 Virginia Ave. said his work as a municipal planner and manager have given him a “good perspective on municipal government,” making him a viable candidate for the council.
Economic development is “hands down” the most important issue facing Hagerstown “because it resonates through every sector of the city’s ability to expand and remain sustainable,” Aleshire said.
“Whether you’re talking about investment in downtown development or the expansion of the city through new growth — residential, commercial and industrial — to the impact of the local education system, K through 12 and even college, you’re talking about economic development,” he said.
If elected, Aleshire said he would work to expand opportunities for residents and promote job growth.
“To me, that’s No. 1,” Aleshire said.
He said the issue of revitalizing Hagerstown’s downtown, which “looks worse than it ever has,” is more complex than simply bringing businesses and people back to the City Center.
“You cannot focus so heavily on downtown redevelopment that you forget that you got the ... neighborhoods that make up tons of residents and businesses that should garner equal attention,” Aleshire said, noting that downtown will not flourish without public and private investments.
A 1993 South Hagerstown High School graduate who earned a degree from Salisbury State University in 1998, Aleshire said the city needs to invest in its infrastructure because every city with a “successful downtown invests in its parking.”
On the topic of the Hagerstown Suns baseball team, Aleshire suggested: “Put it on the ballot.”
“I think it’s very simple. If you can debate the importance of putting something as simple, and less impacting, as party affiliations being part of the city process, you certainly have to see the level of importance of putting something like that on the ballot for the public to have some greater input in.”
With a general election on the horizon, there’s no better time to find out if the community really supports the city’s pledge to invest $5 million of public funds into a private venture, he said.
Other Democrats on the April 3 ballot include incumbent councilmen William M. Breichner, Martin E. Brubaker and Lewis C. Metzner, along with Penny M. Nigh, a former city council member.
City council members serve four-year terms, earn $8,000 annually and are eligible for city health benefits.
Kristin B. Aleshire at a glance
Date of Birth: Aug. 9, 1975
Address: 1217 Virginia Ave.
Education: Graduate of South Hagerstown High School, 1993; Bachelor of Science degree in urban planning from Salisbury State University, 1998.
Occupation: Myersville town manager
Party affiliation: Democrat
Political experience: Elected to two terms on Hagerstown City Council, serving from 2001-2006; elected to one term as Washington County commissioner, serving 2006-10.