Congressional candidates for Districts 1 and 2 addressed issues, such as the economy, partisan voting and Social Security during a moderated forum at Harford Community College Thursday night.
Some candidates went so far as to take political jabs at the two incumbents, neither of whom was present.
About 70 people attended the Know Your Vote event sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Harford County, the Harford County Branch of the American Association of University Women and the Political Awareness Association of Harford Community College.
Attendees were able to write down questions for the panel of potential Congress members and were read for each candidate to respond to by moderator Dr. Deborah Cruise.
Present were candidates Muir Boda, a Libertarian, and John Laferla, a write-in Democrat, both running for District 1 and Ray Bly, a write-in Republican, Leo Dymowski, a Libertarian and Sen. Nancy Jacobs, a Republican, were candidates present for District 2.
District 1 candidate Michael Calpino and incumbent Republican Congressman Andy Harris were not present, nor was District 2 Democratic Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who was having surgery that night, Cruise said.
Bly, a Vietnam veteran, was the only candidate not wearing a suit. He wore a blue-collared shirt with his name on it and a cap.
His reason for running for office, Bly said, is "to right the injustices a lot of Americans, like me, have been done to them."
Bly continued to explain zoning laws "stopped" his business and felt that the "government is out of control with new laws, trying to run people out of their home and business."
Dymowski is also a part of the U.S. military as a former paratrooper and has worked as a trial attorney.
"Our foreign policy is out of control," he said as one of his reasons for campaigning. He also called Ruppersberger one of the most corrupt politicians in the state who is controlled by special interests.
"We're facing probably the most stagnant economy we've ever had since the Great Depression," Jacobs, a popular veteran Harford County state legislator, said. "We've got to address this economy head on."
Jacobs focused on employment, saying it is an "embarrassment that we have so many people out of work in this country."
Boda said he is "dissatisfied with the dysfunction coming out of Washington."
His main purpose for running, he continued, is because he feels "the greatest threat to national security is the national debt."
"We need to cut spending now, we need to reforms these programs to make them viable," he said. "If not, the government is going to collapse."
Laferla, a physician form Chestertown, said it was important that he attend, so the public could hear his opinions, unlike Harris who was absent.
"I believe that Andy Harris, as I do, loves America and wants to see us succeed, but we have very different definitions on how to get there," he said. "Compromise and cooperation," he continued, is the way to get the country to where it needs to be.
Laferla narrowly lost last winter's Democratic primary to Wendy Rosen, who withdrew from the race earlier this month, when it was revealed she had also voted in a local election in Florida.