Joseph Smith has been a resident since moving to in 2006.
But Smith doesn’t want to be labeled “a Bulle Rock candidate” in the May 8 election.
Smith said he wants to represent the entire city—not just a neighborhood.
“I want to try to pull the city together,” he said.
With a passion for American history, Smith noted how “cool” it would be to serve as an elected representative in one of the oldest communities in one of the original 13 colonies.
“I just looked at the mayors all around the room, and I thought, ‘Wow, they go all the way back,’” Smith said of the photographs hanging in the council chambers at . “Being a part of that history would be really exciting for me.”
Quite simply, Smith doesn’t take his potential role as a City Council member lightly.
And in turn, Smith hopes the city and its residents don’t take him lightly.
“There seems to be discounting bringing in new ideas. There’s a little bit of that. There’s a resistance to that. I find that people that live elsewhere in Harford County that have moved to Bulle Rock, they still get pushback.”
Smith, who grew up in Bay City, MI, inherited an interest in local politics when helping his father run for a state position in Michigan.
Recently, he’s helped run campaigns at a number of levels, and he currently serves as the treasurer of the Harford County Democratic Central Committee. He’s also a member of the Bulle Rock Civic League.
Havre de Grace reminds him of the communities of his youth.
“I grew up in a river city and I like being close to the water. I like the environment. I like the scale of the city. I like the proximity to urban areas around us,” Smith said. “Within three hours, you can be in some huge cities. That’s a huge advantage. When I left Michigan, you had Detroit and that was about it.”
Smith works as a human resources consultant and considers working with city employees and helping to fine-tune the budget to be two of his strengths if elected.
He in the weeks leading up to the filing deadline—which fell the day after his 48th birthday.
He credits his neighbors with giving him the final burst of energy to take on the election process.
“What really pushed me over was, I’d been thinking about it, and I sort of announced it to my neighbors and they were so enthusiastic and so happy to hear. And at the time I was the only one we were aware of from Bulle Rock," he said. "It was really encouraging. They’ve been my strongest supporters.
Smith has seen a significant level of support east of Route 40, as well. His election signs hang in a number of businesses and in even more lawns in some of the city’s most deeply rooted neighborhoods.
That, he said, has energized him even further.
“They’re ready for that spark,” Smith said of downtown businesses and residents. “Again, nothing against the folks that are [currently serving on council], but sometimes you need a shot of new energy, new blood to take things to a different level.”
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