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Candidates discuss siding with the other party

Maryland's most populous districts lean liberal, while some smaller counties sway conservative. Thus, Democrats have a big advantage in the legislature and, for Republicans, reaching across the aisle is essential in Maryland politics in order to get laws passed.

Five Republicans are running for House of Delegates in District 4, and voters can select three candidates in the June 24 primary to move on to the November general election. One Democrat is running unopposed.

Five are vying to become a District 9A delegate with two remaining on the November ballot. The two Democrats will automatically move on to the general election.

Two Republicans are running for the state Senate District 4 seat. One will move on to the general election, and face the one Democrat running for the seat. One Republican is running unopposed for state Senate in District 9 and will face one of the two Democrats vying for the spot in the November election.

The Times asked candidates to name one issue they agree with that's mainly supported by legislators from another party.

House of Delegates District 4 Republicans

Kathy Afzali: We have many issues that we agree. You have to know when to stand your ground and when to compromise. Democrats have a super-majority, so rarely, if ever, do they need our votes in the house. If you will look at my sponsored bills, you will find that many of my co-sponsors are my Democrat colleagues. As a conservative, you can't get anything accomplished in Annapolis without building consensus. I think that I have proven that you can get things done in Annapolis without compromising your conservative values.

Barrie Ciliberti: Did not respond to calls and emails.

Wendi Peters: Comprehensive tax relief is one of my top priorities. I agree with the legislation passed this session to reduce the estate tax. I look forward to the opportunity to advocate for additional tax relief for all Marylanders as your Delegate.

Kelly Schulz: I was a co-sponsor of the Administration's estate tax bill this year. I had submitted the same bill over the past two years, and was pleased to support a unification of exemptions to the federal limits of $5.25 million. I have been fortunate to get over a dozen bills signed into law over the past four years as a freshman legislator. Every bill had numerous co-sponsors from both parties. It is a myth that legislators don't have the ability to agree on legislation. Typically, the media reports on the most contentious bills that draw from very different ideology. Those bills will always be contentious, but the majority of bills have widespread support from both sides of the aisle.

David Vogt III: I had a long discussion with a former Democratic legislator the other day, and despite our differences, we agreed that government must be smarter and it must be made more effective. A smart and effective government does not necessarily have to be Big Government either. I believe that legislators on both sides of the aisle would agree that effective government is the ultimate goal. Our legislators must display leadership and work toward that goal without being consumed by the politics of the situation.

House of Delegates District 4 Democrat

Gene Stanton: Opting out of the adopted Common Core system in education and going back to the state standards that have made Maryland schools among the best in the nation.

Senate District 4 Republicans

David Brinkley: I agree with a number of issues argued by my Democratic colleagues, particularly those that support initiatives in their local areas. My primary opponent seems incapable of understanding the fact that every Senator is working for his or her district and community. To the extent I can assist a colleague with a policy matter of local importance without selling out my principles, that same legislator will be there for me (and for the people of Carroll County) when I need them. It takes maturity and wisdom to be a statesman, not just a loud voice and a no vote. It takes 24 votes in the Senate and a good working relationship with the House leadership. I certainly have proved that both exist and will continue with my re-election.

Michael Hough: I have had great success working across the aisle on criminal justice reform. I have been able to pass reform bills that save taxpayers money and increase public safety. Another reform I passed would make it illegal to cover up child abuses, similar to the Penn State scandal. These reforms are in place and they are making our streets safer.

Senate District 4 Democrat

Dan Rupli: I will take liberties with the term "other side of the isle." Garrett County Maryland is the most Republican County in the state. Even the county's most prominent newspaper in Oakland is named "The Republican." The state of Tennessee is governed by a Republican governor and a Republican legislature. Both of these jurisdictions have elected to provide their residents with publicly funded tuition for the first two years of college or trade school, with Tennessee paying for it through the state lottery. As I said earlier, this is a wonderful initiative and an investment in the future, cutting college costs in half, and directly stimulating local employment training. The Republican lawmakers who initiated and passed these brilliant programs deserve our sincere praise. I can only hope that the idea will take hold and spread across our country like a prairie fire.

House of Delegates District 9A Republicans

Christopher Bouchat: I am a strong advocate of civil rights.

Trent Kittleman: Although it hasn't been an issue recently, there is one issue on which very liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans have often agreed: promoting charter and/or private schools for K-12 students, giving parents of low-income families the same choices that are open to wealthy parents. Many parents whose children attend the public schools in the City of Baltimore are strongly in favor of being given a choice as to where their kids go to school. Liberals often support charter schools and a system of vouchers because it gives poorer families an opportunity to get their child into a better school. Conservatives generally support charter schools and vouchers for very similar reasons: it gives public schools some competition, which almost always enhances the performance of each.

Frank Mirable: SB926, placing limits on drone surveillance. While not a perfect bill, it does at least put limits on the use of drones and what and how the information is handled. North Carolina and Virginia have moratoriums on the use of drones while they study what their proper role if any should be. Other states, like Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Montana and Oregon have limits on domestic drone use. The ACLU has reported SB926/HB847 to be a step in the right direction to protect the privacy of Marylanders. This bill also helps protect the farming community from possible abuses by the MDE or other environmental agencies.

Kyle Lorton: There is no specific issue that comes to mind. I do like the fact that the other side was interested in and improved upon the estate tax situation.

Warren Miller: I agree wholeheartedly with the attempt to eliminate the estate tax, you pay property taxes your whole life, state government should not profit from your death.

House of Delegates District 9A Democrats

Walter Carson: I believe the rain tax mandate was wrong-headed and should have been reversed.

James Morrow: I support the rights of those who like to hunt, fish and target shoot, likely more than most other Democrats might. I would support reasonable expansion of wear/carry permits for citizens, although I do agree we need to do more to remove access to guns by the mentally ill, criminals and those addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Senate District 9 Republican

Gail Bates: I was pleased that the Governor and legislative leadership introduced legislation (similar to what the GOP legislators have sponsored for several years) to re-couple the Maryland estate tax exclusion with the higher level in federal law. (From $1 million, phased to $5 million).

Senate District 9 Democrats

Ryan Frederic: Fiscal responsibility. Maryland's taxes are too high. Our business climate makes it very difficult for many industries, such as manufacturing, to create jobs here. We need to address these issues and create a climate more conducive to job creation.

Daniel Medinger: I am a fiscally responsible Democrat. Our state must get spending under control. As a Democrat who actually has influence in budget and spending decisions — rather than simply voting no — I will work hard to make sure that taxes are kept in check and that every dollar spent is spent wisely.

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