Havre de Grace city councilman files for Harford council seat

Havre de Grace City Councilman Joseph Smith announced he filed this week for the Democratic nomination for the Harford County Council's District F seat representing the Havre de Grace and Riverside areas.

A human resource consultant and small business owner, Smith, 49, said in a news release that he intends to bring an independent voice to Harford County politics.

"As a County Councilman, I will challenge the status quo while working diligently to represent the diverse interests of an important district." he said in statement. "District F fuels much of the economy of Harford County. Aberdeen, APG, Belcamp, and Havre de Grace – each are home to some of our major employers."

"The district is also home to some of our greatest challenges – namely traffic, public safety, and outdated schools," his statement continued. "We can't do that by maintaining the status quo. We need our elected officials to tackle these issues head on, and not just shrug their shoulders and say that's the way it is. We can do better. We must do better. That's why I'm running for Harford County Council District F."

The District F seat has been held for the past eight years by Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti, who like Smith is a Democrat and a Havre de Grace area resident.

Lisanti has not said if she is running again or if she plans to run for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, which many leaders of her party believe she will do.

Smith said in his statement that county government is charged with finding a balance between economic demands and quality of life issues.

"I believe my background in business, information technology, government, human resources, education, and, yes, politics, makes me uniquely qualified to serve at the County level," he said.

Smith was elected to the Havre de Grace City Council in May 2012. His two year-term ends this May.

He chairs the city council's Budget and Finance Committee and is a member of the Planning Committee and council liaison to the Economic Development Advisory board.

Smith said he also is actively engaged on the council in issues related to tourism, education and environmental protection.

Smith works as an independent human resource consultant, specializing in talent management systems. He has worked for a number of well-known companies including Booz Allen Hamilton, Wells Fargo Bank, EDS and Nortel.

He said he also has had extensive experience advising federal agencies on human capital management strategies, in particular, on the implementation and use of complex talent management systems. Smith is also co-owner of Glyph Art & Design Studio, a graphic design firm and retail store in Havre de Grace.

Smith holds a master's degree in human resource development from Marymount University in Arlington, Va., and bachelor's degree in international studies from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vt. He is a certified project manager and senior human resource professional.

Originally from Bay City, Mich., Smith lived in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Virginia before moving to Maryland in 2004. Smith has been a resident of Havre de Grace since 2006, living in the Bulle Rock development. He is a member of the Bulle Rock Civic League, the Harford County and Havre de Grace chambers of commerce and the Route 40 Business Association.

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