James Rada, Jr.
The Thurmont Board of Commissioners will have at least one new face after the town election at the end of this month.
Thurmont held its nominating convention on September 26. Six people were nominated to fill the seats currently held by Bill Buehrer and Wes Hamrick. Buehrer chose to run for re-election, but Hamrick did not.
Among the candidates running for commissioner seats are a former mayor and commissioner. The nominated candidates are Robert Lookingbill, Grant Johnson, Marty Burns, Ed Schildt, Christopher Stouter, and Bill Buehrer.
The town office was full for the convention, as people showed up to nominate and/or support their candidates.
After the nominations were closed, each candidate was given the opportunity to speak. Every candidate but Johnson did so.
Perhaps the most recognizable name in this year’s race is former mayor and commissioner, Marty Burns, who retired from politics two years ago.
“I did not imagine just two years ago that I would ever seek political office again; however, over the last year or so, I have been very disappointed with the decisions the current board has made and believe those decisions have been detrimental to our town,” he said in a statement.
He said the Simmers property annexation and development, which failed in a referendum vote, showed him the current board was out of touch with what residents want.
He also noted that the town is spending its revenues “on things I didn’t think were appropriate” and “spending money like nobody’s business.”
He and Lookingbill are running as a ticket for this election.
Lookingbill said in a statement that he wanted controlled growth in the town, but that is not what he is seeing.
“Our town officials have made decisions in which they are choosing the big bucks from developers over prioritizing the quality of life for Thurmont’s citizens,” Lookingbill noted.
Ed Schildt told the audience that he wanted to maintain the town’s beauty with sustainable growth.
He also said that even as commissioner, he intended to stay active with various community organizations in town because they allowed him to interact with residents and hear what their concerns are. He called the position of commissioner “a position of service, not a position of power.”
Stouter said he was running to help the community. He also feels his work experience will make him particularly helpful with improvements to the town’s electric department that need to be made.
Buehrer took issue with how Lookingbill and Burns portrayed the board. Buehrer praised what the town staff and board of commissioners had done for the town. He said many projects were funded not through tax dollars but grants the town received, saving residents money. He said the town had wonderful parks, no crime, and no dilapidated homes.
“Where’s everybody else,” he said referring to how few people come to town meetings to express their concerns, “if everybody’s so unhappy?”
The town election will be held on October 31 at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building at 123 East Main Street. Polls will be open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information, contact the town office at 301-271-7313.
The last day to register to vote is the close of business on October 3. The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is the close of business on October 24.
For more information about the candidates and their positions, the Thurmont Lions Club will host a candidates’ forum on October 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Thurmont Town Office. All candidates will be invited to attend. The forum will also be broadcast on Channel 99 and available on the town’s website.
Grant Johnson – No Photo Available