Bly brought up the issue of fair trade again and said it would force wholesale distributors to sell goods to mom and pop stores at the same price as they do to bigger companies.

"The government is out of control with spending," Dymowski said. "There's no escaping it. Until you cut the size of government the people at the bottom are going to suffer the most."

The last question of the night asked if the candidates would vote along party lines or according to their own person choice, regardless of party.

Jacobs said she would do "what is right regardless of party lines." She added that Ruppersberger said he would vote against the affordable healthcare act, also known as Obamacare, but wound up voting in line with his party.


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"He didn't vote his conscience," she said. "That's not right."

Dymowski also went after the absent congressman and insinuated that he wasn't actually getting surgery, but was most likely at that night's Ravens game.

"Until these people wake up," Dymowski said of the incumbents in Congress, "don't expect any changes."

Bly said until voters say enough is enough "we [will] keep getting the same legislators we don't like [in office.]"

Boda said he would vote "based on principle" and he "would not compromise my principles for personal expediency."

Before answering, Laferla said he found Dymowski's comment about Ruppersberger offensive and was told last week by his office when trying to set up a meeting that the congressman would be in surgery that day.

"I'm not waiting for somebody to tell me how to vote," Laferla finally answered. "I hope I would be responsive to my constituents."

A volunteer campaign spokesperson with Ruppersberger's office wrote in an e-mail after the forum that the congressman was indeed recovering from surgery, which was scheduled prior to the event, and there are "at least two other debates on the calendar ... he is looking forward to."

"Congressman Ruppersberger believes that elections should be run on record - not rhetoric," the e-mail continued. "He ran for office because he wants to help people and constituent service has always been his top priority. He has helped hundreds of residents avoid foreclosure, seniors get their Social Security checks on time and veterans receive the benefits they deserve."

The spokesperson went on to write that Ruppersberger "frequently hosts foreclosure workshops, small business seminars and outreach events in local communities. Any claim that Congressman Ruppersberger is not concerned first and foremost with his constituents is absolutely outrageous."