Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.

7th Congressional District - Election Guide 2012


< back to election guide

The Seventh includes a large portion of Baltimore City as well as portions of Baltimore and Howard counties. It has a been a reliably Democratic seat for years. The incumbent is Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat.


Elijah Cummings, Democrat (incumbent)

  • Party: Democrat
  • Age: 61
  • City of residence: Baltimore
  • Occupation: Member of Congress, attorney
  • Family: Married, children
  • Campaign website: http://elijahcummings.com
  • Public campaign contact: (410) 669-8400, mchristianson1@gmail.com
  • Experience: Maryland General Assembly (14 years Speaker Pro Tem); U.S. House of Representatives, 1996 - present; Ranking Democrat, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; member, Joint Economic Committee and Joint Transportation Committee; member, Health Care Reform Task Force; member and past chair, Congressional Black Caucus.
  • Education: B.A., Howard University, 1973; J.D., University of Maryland Law School, 1976.
  • 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?

While our economy recovers from the errors of the Bush era, I support extending the Bush-era tax cuts for individual income under $200,000 (under $250,000 for families). Once the additional revenue from returning to Clinton-era rates for more wealthy Americans is better known, we will be better able to assess how we should approach deficit reduction.


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. I would not support extending the pay freeze or require greater contributions from our federal employees. They have already been saddled with a disproportionate burden.


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?

As a first step, I would support modification of Medicare Part D drug coverage to permit and require the federal government to negotiate a lower price for the very expensive prescription drugs that our Seniors need (just as we currently do with the [Department of Veterans Affairs] health plans.)


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?

As a senior member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, I am well aware of the importance of our transportation network to Maryland and the rest of our country — as well as the substantial repair work needed to protect the public.

In recent years, $30 billion in general revenues have been used to supplement the federal highway trust fund. While I have supported those expenditures, clearly the trust fund's funding mechanism must be adjusted.


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

President Obama has declared that the United States will take no options off the bargaining table regarding Iran's nuclear program. However, in light of our experience in Iraq, the Congress should examine any evidence of Iranian nuclear developments very thoroughly before authorizing military action.


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

One area in which there may well be more bipartisan support after the November elections is the re-authorization of our multi-year federal surface transportation legislation - work in which I will be personally involved.




Ronald M. Owens-Bey, Libertarian

Did not return a questionnaire




Frank C. Mirabile, Republican

  • Party: Republican
  • Age: 48
  • City of residence: Woodbine
  • Occupation: President, Architectural Landscape, Inc.
  • Family: Married, four children
  • Campaign website: FrankMirabile
    ForCongress.com
  • Public campaign contact: 410-977-6898, info@FrankMirabile.com
  • Experience: President and owner, Architectural Landscape, Inc., current; vice president, Hemlock Acres Home Owners Association, 2006; past president Hemlock Acres Home Owners Association, 2007-2008; member, Howard County Public Engagement in Land Use Taskforce, 2008; past steering member, Concerned Citizens for Howard County, 2007; past member, Landscape Contractors Association.
  • Education: B.S., West Virginia University, 1990; A.A., Catonsville Community College, 1986
  • 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?

Make all cuts permanent and streamline the tax codes.

It's simple really: Reduced taxes equals more discretionary income equals more jobs equals opportunity for you equalsless social dependency equals the American Dream!

Reduce or eliminate capital gains taxes, personal property taxes, inventory taxes, and the death tax.

Reduce discretionary spending and reform entitlement spending and eligibility.

The goal is to shift from public dependency to personal economic viability by rekindling personal income levels and discretionary income by not taxing families and businesses into government programs.

People only do two things with income: spend it or invest it. Both add to economic activity and economic growth which will increase product and service consumption which will generate new jobs and tax revenues.

We don't have a tax revenue problem, we have public sector spending problem.


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.

Yes and yes.

Federal employees need to understand the private sector is in decline and is being overly burdened by massive tax increases levied by the present administration, a result of explosive federal spending and expansion. Even with recent pay limitations on federal employees, wages still outpace private sector employees according to CBO's reports. Federal employees receive on average total compensation 16 percent higher than private sector jobs based on similar levels of education attained. They also earn 2 percent more in cash wages and a significant 48 percent more in benefits.

There is no additional money to be squeezed from the private sector, small business owners and private sector employees. If the small business sector fails, who will the administration tax to pay the bills? If the private sector retracts further, even less tax revenues will be collected to pay federal wages and benefits. So a freeze is necessary until the economy rebounds.

Ultimately federal retirement plans need to be reviewed and modernized to reflect current sustainability and funding levels that can be sustained by the private sector. Congress should pare back federal benefits for new employees and review how present retirement plans can be brought in line with what private sector workers earn. This seems only fair, since it's private workers who pay the taxes that fund government jobs.

Congress and all public elected officials should be the first to reduce.


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?

Create a market-driven health care system that empowers enrollees to choose their own health care insurance based on personal needs and individual preferences: Transition to a defined contribution premium support plan; free Medicare participants to choose to remain in the existing fee for service plan or transition to new premium support program; government contribution will be based on weighted average premium of regional bids of competing health plans; cap total Medicare spending at CPI plus 1 percent and Medicare population growth; enact a permanent "doc fix" and physician payments are adjusted for inflation measured by CPI.

By making these changes and others, seniors at all income levels will have access to and can afford health insurance, financial burdens on future taxpayers will be reduced, reduces and or eliminates payments to wealthy individuals, protects seniors who truly need help, and reduces government involvement in personal health care decisions.


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. I would support present spending or a reduction but not an increase. We simply do not have the funds to expand now. Where we have critical infrastructure issues we should prioritize, shift and efficiently utilize the resources we have. Most Americans utilize private forms of transportation so I would prioritize federal efforts to focus on such.

To better manage costs to the tax payer, streamline work flows and to get Americans working on projects faster I would push to reduce excessive burdens of permitting processes and eliminate redundant federal regulations and studies that overlap state and local agencies which consume revenues that would otherwise be used for the actual project.

I would also encourage private sector participation where applicable.


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

I would support certain levels of involvement, but not an all out military strike, unless Iran directly engages our allies. Further I would only support an operation which does not encumber our military with rules of engagement which risk our best's lives. Fifty-one percent of Americans would support U.S. military action in Iran for purposes of stopping the country from developing a nuclear weapon. Thirty-six percent say they would oppose such action and 13 percent say they are unsure.


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

Audit the Federal Reserve. Enforce true Paygo. Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment, and eliminate base line budgeting for zero-based budgeting.


Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Comments
Loading