Republicans Face Off For Commission Seat

Updated: 3 days ago

Pictured: Fred Fox, Bob Gatto, Commissioner Jim Hinebaugh

District 3 candidates Fred Fox, Bob Gatto, and incumbent Jim Hinebaugh, who are all Republicans, will be heading into an embattled primary on June 26. Whoever rises the victor will not be facing a Democratic challenger in the November General Election.

Fox's campaign slogan, "Think out of the box, vote for Fox,” is appearing around the county. His campaign is asking voters to think outside the box in terms of opportunities from a different person. He says he offers “A new vision, new ideas, new energy, and perhaps a new resourcefulness that we’ve not had in Garrett County before.”

He noted that things changed for him in 2012 when Friendsville Elementary was placed on the closure list and is where his mother was principal for about 26 years.

“That was really a punch in the gut in terms of a place that meant so much to my family,” he said.

His family testified to help save the school.

“What I learned was that the community I grew up in was not quite as strong as I knew it to be,” he said. “I decided to give back to the community that gave so much to me.”

Bob Gatto followed, stating that his campaign is basically focused on experience, since he was a previous commissioner for four years. His lighthearted campaign signs asks the question, "What about Bob?"

“We [the commission on which he served] took office in 2010 on the downturn in the country and the state, and we rose up and proved that we can work through these things, and that was a great plus for experience,” he said. “So I carry this experience with me going forward.”

Gatto also felt there was “unfinished business” that needed to be completed.

Gatto said he is a very approachable person who is down-to-earth and part of the communities.

“I take people seriously,” he said. “That approach has made me successful, and I continue to use that to my advantage.”

Jim Hinebaugh wrapped up the district candidates remarks by sharing his background as a Garrett County native, his military service, and his experience as the director of Garrett County Economic Development.

“I’m very proud of what we accomplished working together,” he said. “During that time... we created over 3,000 new jobs... we more than tripled the amount of space available in the business parks... we started a scholarship program that is still going on... we did a lot of good things.”

After a short break from Economic Development, he was elected as a commissioner.

“I have to say that I’m very, very proud of what this board has accomplished in a very short amount of time,” he said.

One of the things he mentioned involved changes to emergency services in the county.

“Identifying the problems is relatively easy,” he said. “Doing something about those problems is where the challenge is. This board has been very, very effective in doing that. We work well together.”

READ FULL ARTICLE in the Garrett County Republican

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