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Glassman, Werner compete for county executive in Harford

Republican Barry Glassman is running for Harford county executive in Tuesday's general election. A state senator, he has also served in the House of Delegates and on the Harford County Council.
Republican Barry Glassman is running for Harford county executive in Tuesday's general election. A state senator, he has also served in the House of Delegates and on the Harford County Council. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

In the race for the next Harford County Executive, Barry Glassman and his campaign are far more visible than his opponent, Joseph Werner. Both spent the last few weeks before Tuesday's general election trying to get the most out of their campaigns.

Werner, a Democrat, is a Washington, D.C., lawyer and Bel Air High School graduate, said he's gotten a lot of response from voters, despite many of them seeming apathetic.

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Glassman, a Republican, is a former County Councilman and State Delegate who has been a state senator since 2007 and is hoping to cash in on his political experience.

"From being in the House and Senate and stuff, I have worked the county the last 16 years, so I feel I have laid a pretty good groundwork," Glassman, 52, said Wednesday.

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He had 2,000 of his sheep signs up as of Wednesday, which urge residents to vote for "Baaa...rry Glassman."

Glassman said his goal is to build a "smartphone" version of Harford County.

"The younger generation, with the smartphone technology, they can understand that every version of a smartphone is getting more efficient, quicker and so forth," he said. "We still have a lot of fiscal pressure pushing down on the county, so the only way we are going to be able to sustain ourselves and get our employees back on their pay plans, which I think is important, is we are going to have to look at efficiencies."

Glassman said he is working on audit teams made up of five to six residents who will look into each county department or agency.

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Besides smartphone-like efficiency, Glassman said he wants better technology for the county, such as upgrades to the county's phone app that allows citizen input, so all services are available online.

"You should never have to go to [county headquarters at ] 220 [South Main Street] and talk to anyone for any type of minor permit," he said.

Glassman added that with the HMAN fiber-optic network in the northern part of the county, more residents have access to technology and online services.

Glassman said he also hopes to bring the knowledge base from Aberdeen Proving Ground to the rest of the county, perhaps with job incubators and start-ups, and consolidate county agricultural services in a building that would hopefully include bio-research to serve residents involved in agriculture.

"That one is my, kind of, long-term dream," he said.

Werner, 54, said he is optimistic about his campaign, but thinks people are apathetic or pessimistic about local government.

"For someone who doesn't have any money, I seem to be getting a decent response from people," Werner said about feedback from residents.

"It's just so hard to get people not to be apathetic," he said.

Werner said he thinks the County Council should be increased from seven to at least 10 members, since the county has become larger and more diverse over the years.

Werner does not think Glassman's name recognition and better-financed campaign are everything.

"Money's important, but when people go in to vote, it's going to be my name and his name," Werner said.

He added he "definitely wants" to see county employees get a raise, proposes public-private partnerships for agencies like the library system or transit system and wants to consider encouraging older residents to move to the county.

"Can we be like the Florida of Maryland?" Werner suggested, with regard to getting retired people to move to Harford.

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