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‘New set of eyes’ or ‘firsthand experience’? Here are the candidates for Mount Airy’s contested mayor, council races

Mount Airy citizens will get the chance to exercise their civic duty in contested elections this spring. Two Town Council seats and the office of mayor will be on the ballot May 3.

The town held nominating meetings the past two Mondays to announce the candidates.

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The four who are running for the two Mount Airy Town Council seats are incumbent Patricia Washabaugh and challengers Stephen Domotor, Heather Hobbs and Lynne Keady Galleti.

Mayor Patrick Rockinberg, who has served in the position since 2010, will be seeking reelection and going up against Town Council President Larry Hushour.

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“I believe it is time for a fresh set of eyes to look at our current town issues and prioritize them appropriately as we hopefully leave this pandemic behind us,” Hushour told the Times via email.

Mount Airy Town Councilman Larry Hushour, left, shown with Kiwanis Club President Paul Clay, is running for mayor against incumbent Patrick Rockinberg.
Mount Airy Town Councilman Larry Hushour, left, shown with Kiwanis Club President Paul Clay, is running for mayor against incumbent Patrick Rockinberg. (HANDOUT)

The naval officer said he believes his “20 years of experience in managing people” will “translate well into managing the town staff and overseeing our budget.”

Hushour said with the end of the pandemic in sight, the town of Mount Airy could benefit from new leadership that “will responsibly get the staff back into town hall, evaluate what we have learned over the last year and get everyone back to work on any projects that got delayed.”

“My intent to serve as mayor is based on protecting our town and enhancing Mount Airy’s small-town feel by making it more walkable and showcasing our Main Street shops and businesses to keep us prosperous and charming,” Hushour said. “I believe we need a change in the leadership at Town Hall so that I can oversee well over $1 million in grants that will be used to purchase the abandoned CSX rail bed and turn it into a pedestrian artery into downtown from several of our town’s housing developments.”

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Rockinberg said he would like to continue the service he has done during his past three terms, including helping seniors, and return to manage the end of the pandemic.

Mount Airy Mayor Patrick Rockinberg
Mount Airy Mayor Patrick Rockinberg

“We need to continue closing this epidemic wisely and safely. We went through the hardest part. Given my firsthand experience and all of the success we achieved together we will need this success and experience as we to return to a better normal and incorporate some of the changes as noted,” Rockingberg said via email. “In my role as mayor, I would like to continue to empower our community, set the direction of where we need to go to “win”, and build a inspiring vision while promoting our quality of life.”

Rockinberg highlighted some of his actions during the pandemic.

“As mayor, utilizing citizen and volunteer input and hands on from many, I was able to institute several unique programs such as turning derelict properties like our huge empty Main Street Bank, into the greatest outdoor and safe venue for our citizens, businesses, local artist and events to all use and take place,” he said.

Elections will be held Monday, May 3 at the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Department Reception Hall, 1008 Twin Arch Road. Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Absentee ballots will be available to all voters and those uncomfortable with voting in person due to COVID-19. To request an absentee ballot, a form must be completed and returned to Town Hall at 100 S. Main Street in the night dropbox or via email to Colleen Reilly at creilly@mountairymd.gov.

Ballots received in the night box by 5 p.m. on the day of the election will be counted. Absentee ballots will be available as of April 12. For more information, visit the Town of Mount Airy website.

An election official hands an "I VOTED" sticker to a voter that just cast their ballot during the Town of Mount Airy's first special election, in 2018.
An election official hands an "I VOTED" sticker to a voter that just cast their ballot during the Town of Mount Airy's first special election, in 2018. (Alex Mann)

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