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3rd Congressional District - Election Guide 2012


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The meandering 3rd District runs from the Washington suburbs of Montgomery County up to central Baltimore County. It has generally been considered a safe Democratic seat. The incumbent is Rep. John Sarbanes, a Towson Democrat.


Paul W. Drgos Jr., Libertarian

  • Party: Libertarian
  • Age: 37
  • City of residence: Pasadena
  • Occupation: Computer programmer
  • Family: Four children
  • Campaign website: www.pauld2012.com
  • Public campaign contact: pauldrgos2012@gmail.com
  • Experience: Chesterfield Homeowner's Association, computer programmer
  • Education: Attended UMBC
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime (not including minor traffic violations)? No.
As you know, the Bush-era income tax cuts will expire at the end of this year. Do you support extending the cuts for all income levels, only on individual income under $200,000 (under $250,000 for families), or not at all? If you support an extension of some kind, should it be paid for?

I support abolishing the income tax and replacing it with the fair tax, a national sales tax. This would include the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service and would require that the sole purpose of taxes, to finance necessary government activities, would be restored. The tax code is not the place for government to be dictating social policy.


Is there any circumstance in which you would support extending a pay freeze on federal employees and/or requiring current federal employees to contribute more to their retirement plans? Please explain.

A complete audit of all federal expenditures is necessary to determine the proper scope of government. I support a significant reduction in federal spending and propose to balance the federal budget in my first year in office. This will necessarily require that certain federal employees' pay will continue to be frozen and they will need to contribute more to their retirement plans. This will also require the elimination of federal jobs and the consolidation of federal departments.


The Congressional Budget Office projects spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs will more than double as a share of the nation's economy by 2037. What specific changes would you propose to reduce Medicare costs?

Rising Medicare costs, like rising insurance costs, are a reflection of rising overall health care costs. Deregulation of the medical profession is one way to lower costs. Further, increased immigration of qualified medical professionals from abroad will lower these costs. Further, the bureaucratic waste contained in the Medicare budget should also be examined. Additionally, money should be block granted to the states so that there can be 50 laboratories of innovation to learn best practices for the health care field that can then be spread throughout the country.


Would you support increased federal spending on highways and other infrastructure as a way to boost the construction industry? If so, how would you pay for it?

I would not support increased federal spending on highways and infrastructure as a "way to boost the construction" industry. An additional bailout of the construction industry is not in the best interests of the nation. Just as it would be absurd to support increased federal spending on web development and the computer industry to help me, a computer programmer, it is absurd to prioritize the construction industry over other industries. Additional federal spending on any project should be extremely limited. While spending on defense, social security, and Medicare accounts for most of the money spent by the federal government, limiting the amount spent on infrastructure projects, which may result in bridges to nowhere, will help reduce the deficit and the influence of the federal government.


Would you support U.S. military involvement in Iran if there were evidence that it was close to developing a nuclear weapon?

No. Preliminarily, what evidence could there be that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon? Is it the same evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction the necessitated war with that country? That, of course, was false. Second, even if Iran had a nuclear weapon it would not have the missile capacity to engineer a first strike on the United States. Iran would not launch a nuclear attack on Israel because of the immediate response of the United States and Israel, in addition to the heretical nature of destroying the Dome of the Rock. Any nuclear threat that is posed against the United States is not from an organized state such as Iran, but rather any number of fringe groups that have no deterrence from the possibility of assured destruction.


Describe a specific policy you would pursue in Congress that would have support from members of the opposite party.

Being a libertarian, most of the time one of the other two parties would support my policies. It would be very rare for both of the other parties to support any policy that I would support. The decriminalization of marijuana, the reduction of restrictions on immigration, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the reduction of civil liberties abuses would be supported by the Democratic Party. A repeal of FATCA [Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act], a reform of the PPACA [Affordable Care Act], and overall lower taxes would be supported by the Republican Party. The overall problem in Washington, however, is that both parties are too similar and are not open to genuinely creative problem solving approaches. The issue of taxes is one such arena. Should we raise the rates or lower the rates? Should we abolish the mortgage interest deduction? These are questions from "in the box." Abolish the income tax altogether and allow taxes to be for the sole purpose of raising revenue to fund necessary governmental functions. Then we can argue over what functions of government are "necessary."





Eric Delano Knowles, Republican

  • Party: Republican
  • Age: 34
  • City of residence: Annapolis
  • Occupation: Bartender at Chop House of Annapolis
  • Family: Single, one daughter
  • Campaign website: www.Knowlesfor
    Congress.com
  • Public campaign contact: Eric@Knowlesfor
    Congress.org
  • Experience: Air Force veteran, 1997-2001; 2010, gubernatorial candidate in Maryland; outdoor educator for environmental issues; camp counselor for all of my summers from age 12 until I left for the military, completing hundreds of hours of leadership training
  • Education: Community College of the Air Force, 1997; Frederick Community College, 2005; Anne Arundel Community College, 1996, 2008-2010
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime (not including minor traffic violations)? No.
As you know, the Bush-era income tax cuts will expire at the end of this year. Do you support extending the cuts for all income levels, only on individual income under $200,000 (under $250,000 for families), or not at all? If you support an extension of some kind, should it be paid for?

I support maximum tax cuts for all. I want more people to have the money to be able to spend much better than any politician or government official knows how to spend for them. These extensions should be paid for by limiting the federal government to its constitutional role and reserving any other functions sought by the people to the state they live in.


Is there any circumstance in which you would support extending a pay freeze on federal employees and/or requiring current federal employees to contribute more to their retirement plans? Please explain.

No one should ever be forced to work for free, ever. That's slavery. Just using the money we would save by ending the unconstitutional wars we are currently involved in would provide us with enough money to pay for the people who are currently employed by the federal government. That's where I'd start.


The Congressional Budget Office projects spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs will more than double as a share of the nation's economy by 2037. What specific changes would you propose to reduce Medicare costs?

First, programs such as these aren't authorized by the Constitution for the federal government. These functions should, over time and incrementally, be turned over to the individual states to manage with more accountability to the taxpayer.

Would you support increased federal spending on highways and other infrastructure as a way to boost the construction industry? If so, how would you pay for it?

No. The government shouldn't be involved in the game of "boosting" industries and corporations with taxpayer money. The federal government shouldn't spend money that it doesn't have, causing a further drain on the economy and leading to less growth.


Would you support U.S. military involvement in Iran if there were evidence that it was close to developing a nuclear weapon?

I would only support military involvement in any country after Congress votes on a Declaration of War. I would only vote for war if there was a clear and imminent threat to our nation.


Describe a specific policy you would pursue in Congress that would have support from members of the opposite party.

I would pursue the transparency and auditing of the Federal Reserve and the current monetary policy which is the driving force of the destruction of our economy. Economic freedom and congressional autonomy over the monetary policy is the key to restoring our nation.





John P. Sarbanes, Democrat (incumbent)

  • Party: Democrat
  • Age: 50
  • City of residence: Towson
  • Occupation: Congressman for Maryland's 3rd District
  • Family: Married, three children
  • Campaign website: www.johnsarbanes.com
  • Public campaign contact: press@johnsarbanes.com
  • Experience: Three terms as congressman from Maryland's 3rd District
  • Education: B.A., Princeton University, 1984; J.D., Harvard, 1988
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime (not including minor traffic violations)? No.
As you know, the Bush-era income tax cuts will expire at the end of this year. Do you support extending the cuts for all income levels, only on individual income under $200,000 (under $250,000 for families), or not at all? If you support an extension of some kind, should it be paid for?

The Bush-era tax cuts added more than $2.4 trillion to the national debt and left our nation on precarious fiscal footing as we slid into the worst recession in a generation. That is why I support allowing tax cuts for taxpayers with the highest incomes (individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and families earning more than $250,000 per year) to expire at the end of 2012. I believe this is one important step, among several, that we can take to balance our budget and share in the cost of rebuilding our country.


Is there any circumstance in which you would support extending a pay freeze on federal employees and/or requiring current federal employees to contribute more to their retirement plans? Please explain.

Federal workers have already seen their pay and benefits cut by over $83 billion in the name of deficit reduction. No other group has sacrificed more to help balance the budget. Over the past few months, I have opposed Republican efforts to make additional cuts and I will continue to fight against proposals that undermine our federal workforce. It is critical that we continue to support those who have dedicated their careers to public service and that we strive to inspire the next generation of Americans to serve.

As a co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Public Service Caucus, I believe we need to support our federal workforce to ensure that government functions effectively and efficiently. I am the author of the Telework Enhancement Act which was signed into law in 2010. Telework shores up the federal government's continuity of operations in the case of an emergency, reduces traffic in the Baltimore-Washington region, improves quality of life for federal employees, and protects our environment by reducing air pollution associated with commuting. I have also introduced the Federal Hiring Process Improvement Act which would streamline the hiring process for the federal government and incorporate some best practices of the private sector so it is easier to recruit the best and brightest to public service.


The Congressional Budget Office projects spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs will more than double as a share of the nation's economy by 2037. What specific changes would you propose to reduce Medicare costs?

By improving the efficiency and quality of the Medicare program, we can reduce costs while maintaining or enhancing current services to Medicare beneficiaries. Efforts are underway to enact payment reforms that reorient our system away from traditional volume-based and fee-for-service payments to those that align with quality care and positive medical outcomes. We also must pursue new models of care including accountable care organizations (ACOs), primary care medical home models and other coordinated approaches, particularly for those individuals with chronic conditions and high-risk or high-need populations.

We can also strengthen the solvency of the Medicare program by cracking down on fraud, waste and abuse. I support efforts by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to conduct background checks and site visits to catch fraudulent providers and suppliers before they start billing the Medicare program. We also need to rein in overpayments that are creating a windfall for certain private plans that serve Medicare beneficiaries. The savings generated will then be reinvested in the Medicare program. The Affordable Care Act has already implemented several of these initiatives, saving approximately $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars in 2011 due to fraud and abuse prevention and enforcement efforts.


Would you support increased federal spending on highways and other infrastructure as a way to boost the construction industry? If so, how would you pay for it?

Americans are ready to go to work rebuilding our nation's critical infrastructure — roads and bridges, public transportation, water and sewer systems, our broadband network and public schools. I travel home every evening, an opportunity many members of Congress do not have, so I see firsthand how our infrastructure is in desperate need of repair. Investing in our nation's infrastructure is the best way to reduce unemployment in the near term. In the long term, neglecting our nation's critical infrastructure will stunt economic growth and impair American businesses' ability to compete internationally.

There are numerous options to finance these investments, including savings from reduced operations in Iraq and Afghanistan; creation of a National Infrastructure Bank that would make loans, loan guarantees and issue federal bonds for infrastructure projects; allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the highest earners to expire; and repealing unnecessary tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and other corporate interests that have been able to game our tax code.


Would you support U.S. military involvement in Iran if there were evidence that it was close to developing a nuclear weapon?

I have consistently advocated for the use of all economic, political and diplomatic sanctions and other non-military options available to the United States to press Iran to curb its nuclear proliferation activities. It is my hope that this approach can and will lead to a reversal of Iran's proliferation activities and substantially erode any threats posed by its current government. Of course, the U.S. must always reserve the right to employ any and all options for protecting its interests, including military options.

Describe a specific policy you would pursue in Congress that would have support from members of the opposite party.

I am introducing the Grassroots Democracy Act which seeks to create a new paradigm for the financing of Congressional campaigns — one that puts the public interest ahead of special interests. The legislation would empower ordinary Americans by multiplying grassroots political contributions ($100 or less) through a public fund; create a $50 refundable tax credit for Americans who become a grassroots donor to congressional campaigns; and establish a "citizen-owned" People's Fund to fight back against Super PACs that are trying to buy our elections. Candidates would qualify for participation in this system by demonstrating grassroots donor support, agreeing not to take PAC contributions, and meeting various disclosure requirements. By making more candidates for public office dependent on the people for the financing of their campaign, the Grassroots Democracy Act will diminish special interest and corporate influence on policy making, combat political corruption and ensure that our political system works for the American people again.



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