The race for three seats on the Havre de Grace city council this year will see a big contingent of candidates from the Bulle Rock community.
As the filing deadline closed Tuesday, seven candidates had signed up to be on the ballot May 8. Three of the four newcomers are from Bulle Rock.
All three incumbents – council members Bill Martin, Jim Miller and Fred Cullum – will also be in the race again.
Among the challengers, Barry Scarborough and David Glenn, who filed earlier this month, have been joined by Robert Sawyer and Joseph Smith who filed in the final days before the deadline.
Sawyer filed last Friday and Smith filed on Monday, city spokesman Jim Newby confirmed Wednesday morning.
"Everyone is excited now that there's three candidates from Bulle Rock," Smith said. "Part of the feeling is it would be good to have some representation from all areas of the city... By having three candidates, we have certainly gotten people's attention."
He said he was not acquainted with the other two Bulle Rock candidates, Scarborough and Sawyer.
Smith, 48, who was active in the Bulle Rock Civic League, said he hopes the presence of candidates from the large, new community will shake up the race and the established network, or incumbency, in the city.
"A lot of residents in Bulle Rock are new to Harford County, new to Havre de Grace. One of the goals of Civic League was to bridge the gap and get the vote out," Smith said. "There's been a history of incumbency, I guess, and people have decided that sometimes it's good to shake things up a little bit, add new blood."
Martin, the council president, recognized the large number of candidates during Monday's council meeting, saying it is good to see many new faces in the election.
While other jurisdictions might call Havre de Grace vulnerable or unstable for having elections essentially every year, Martin said he believes the opposite to be true.
"It validates our democracy," he said.
Business, political perspectives
Smith, who grew up in Michigan but has lived on the East Coast for 25 years, moved to Havre de Grace in 2006 with his partner of 24 years. They do not have children.
He does human resources consulting for a global executive search firm and is also a certified project manager for information technology systems.
"I have a pretty broad understanding of business, but also of government, because I have worked with a large number of federal clients," he said. "I understand the business perspective and what can we do in government to support that, how we can support our school system."
Also, he said, his father ran for the equivalent of a state delegate in Michigan.
"I have been sort of politically active in different ways for most of my adult life," Smith said. "I got the bug early... I think the beauty of our system is that anyone is able to participate and at times people have to step up and take a leadership role."
Involved with vets, community
Scarborough, 47, also is a newcomer both to the election and to Havre de Grace.