Cumberland Times-News

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April 16, 2014

Hinebaugh seeks Garrett County commissioner post

Jim Hinebaugh recently announced his candidacy for Garrett County commissioner. A Garrett County native and lifelong Republican, Hinebaugh graduated from Southern High School and attended Frostburg State University before entering the U.S. Army via the draft. After serving as an enlisted member, Hinebaugh completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He retired as a colonel/06 in 1995 with almost 29 years of service including eight years overseas.

During his military career, Hinebaugh served as company commander (Vietnam and Germany), battalion commander (Germany), commander of Red River Army Depot (Texarkana, Texas), commander of the Defense Industrial Supply Center (Philadelphia, Pa.) and commander of the Defense Distribution Center East (New Cumberland, Pa.).  His military schooling includes the Command & General Staff College, the Army War College, and the U.S. Army Airborne School. His military awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with “V” device, Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Valorous Unit Award and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

Hinebaugh is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi (BS in computer science/math) and Shippensburg University (MBA in public administration).

Less than five months after Hinebaugh returned to Garrett County to become director of economic development, the county’s largest private employer, Bausch & Lomb, announced it was closing its plant near Oakland. This decision resulted in the loss of almost 600 direct jobs and hundreds of additional indirect/support jobs and had a devastating impact on the county with average annual unemployment peaking at 13.7 percent in 1997.  Hinebaugh worked with local elected officials, state officials, state and federal agencies and business and community leaders to develop a plan to address the challenges presented by the Bausch & Lomb closure. Following this plan, the county reduced its annual average unemployment rate to less than 5 percent, tripled the acreage available in its business parks, expanded infrastructure to support business growth and improved educational attainment. From 2000 to 2010, county businesses added over 3,000 new jobs for a growth rate of over 17 percent, exceeding the state and national growth rates. Hinebaugh left his position as director of economic development in October 2012.

If elected, Hinebaugh plans to make education a top priority. “Studies show that lifelong learning is a function of educational attainment — what a person makes in his/her lifetime is a function of their level of education. Some experts predict up to 80 percent of new jobs will require education and/or training beyond high school. If we want Garrett County residents to enjoy a good standard of living, we have to make sure they have a sound education and marketable skills.”

He also plans to make restoring and strengthening relationships with state and federal agencies a high priority. “During my tenure with economic development, the county was very successful in building strong partnerships with state and federal funding sources and regulatory agencies. This allowed the county to leverage its limited resources to develop infrastructure and to grow the local economy. Garrett County represents about one half of 1 percent of the state’s population. We are predominately (more than 2 to 1) a Republican county in a state that is predominately Democratic (more than 2 to 1). This situation makes relationships with the state’s elected leadership and state agencies critical to the county’s success.”

Hinebaugh has served on a number of commissions and committees and currently serves on the Garrett County Development Corp. and Garrett College Foundation. He is a member of VFW Post 10077 in Deer Park, American Legion Post 0214 in Grantsville and Elks Lodge 2481 in Oakland.

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