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Tony O'Donnell, Republican



    • Party: Republican



    • Age: 51



    • City of residence: Lusby



    • Occupation: Minority Leader, Maryland House of Delegates, leading 43 Maryland legislators from across the state



    • Family: Married, three children, two grandchildren







    • Experience: Member, Maryland House of Delegates, 1995-present; Minority Leader, 2007-present; Minority Whip, 2003-2006; delegate, Republican National Convention, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012; various positions, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, 1988-2002; U.S. Navy, 1984-1987.






    • 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 existing federal income tax rates have been the existing rates for over 10 years and should not be increased. We now must focus on deleting 21-plus new taxes imposed on working class Americans under the Affordable Care Act passed by President Obama and Congress. We should not be raising taxes on American families and small businesses when everybody is struggling to make ends meet and our economy flounders badly in the worst situation since the 1930's. We need to create an environment to reduce unemployment by a confident private sector being willing to invest to hire more people onto their payrolls. The unemployment rate is understated and is particularly higher in minority communities than the national averages might indicate. Raising taxes will not help us create the environment for economic recovery and the subsequent creation of good paying private sector jobs.


// 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. //

If we make small sacrifices now we will be able to maintain a good and fair pay structure for federal employees. The current projections for national debt may put many federal workers and defense industry contractors at risk to even maintain their jobs unless we make some corrections to close our annual spending deficit and reduce our national debt. This is a particular danger here in Maryland. If this is my choice, reducing spending or have people lose their jobs, I would choose to keep people employed by reigning in the rate of growth in federal spending in many other areas, including entitlement program reform.


// 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? //

Our government can ensure the most access to optimal health care coverage by fully repealing the recently passed health care takeover. This will allow the quality of our care to not only remain first-class but it will prevent the government bureaucracies from having an invisible hold on more facets of our lives. America's future healthcare needs can be secured only if we reform and make solvent the long-term programs like Medicare and Social Security. We must deliver our health care in a system that is free-market based and sustainable. We must also enact commonsense reforms by enacting malpractice tort reform, the continuation of no bar for pre-existing conditions, the availability to purchase healthcare across state lines and overall improving the portability of coverage.

We also need to implement full cost recovery audits at the federal and state levels to allow recovery of fraud, waste and abuse which is rampant in these massive entitlement programs and cost taxpayers billions of $ annually.


// 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? //

The federal government must pass a budget before we can begin discussing increasing spending on anything. Congress just passed a transportation reauthorization which would stabilize our system for at least the immediate future. We need Congress to address our long term spending by passing a budget which gives us a roadmap to affordable national priorities. Recently, Steny Hoyer was quoted as saying we don't really need to pass a federal budget and that we could continue to get by on piecemeal appropriations. I disagree and believe Congress should actually do what we pay them to do, pass a national budget. Families have a budget, businesses have a budget, state and local governments pass a budget every year, but it has been over three years since Congress has passed a budget. It's time to pass a budget. Only then can we understand the role that transportation funding plays among many important and competing national budget priorities.


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

Yes, if our military leaders, the president, and a majority in Congress thought it was necessary to protect our vital national interests. The option should not be taken off the table. Iran must not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, at all costs. The leaders of Iran continue to call for the destruction of our ally, Israel. The future of Israel and the peace of the world could be jeopardized if Iran becomes a nuclear power.


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

An example is an authority that President Obama recently requested. A bill to allow for line item veto authority and the bill was co-authored in a bipartisan fashion by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md, and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. The bill passed the House on February 8, 2012 with bipartisan support, but Congressman Hoyer voted 'no.' I would have voted 'yes.' This type of partisanship by congressional leaders must stop. I will support ideas supported by the other party, and by President Obama, if they make sense for solving America's intractable problems.

We need to stop the strident political gamesmanship and start demanding statesmanship out of our congressman. Read the press releases put out regularly by Congressman Hoyer and he frequently slams the Republicans in Congress. It is tiring and this type of political vitriol in Congress must stop. Once a level of mutual desire to solve America's problems becomes more important than gaining political advantage at all cost by both sides will we be on the right track. It is then that this country will make progress on getting our country back on the path of bipartisan problem solving.




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Arvin Vohra, Libertarian


 

    • Party: Libertarian



    • Age: 32





    • Occupation: Educator, author, entrepreneur



    • Family: Single







    • Experience: Current representative at-large, Libertarian National Committee; current representative at-large, Libertarian Party of Maryland; I have run my own educational business, Arvin Vohra Education, since 2001.





    • 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 believe in far larger tax cuts, across the board. These should be financed by reducing the size and scope of government. That includes ending the wasteful and costly War on Drugs, ceasing to use the military for nation building and policing the world, ending agriculture subsidies, and ending the backwards incentives that drive up the cost of education and healthcare.


// 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 I also would end several federal agencies. As an educator, I have seen the large scale damage to education that the Department of Education has done. America is No. 2 in education spending, and No. 25 in math. I would put ending the Department of Education at the top of my list.

But the list certainly continues from there. I would work to end most federal agencies, as well as to audit and eventually phase out the Federal Reserve.


// 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? //

Healthcare in America is overpriced for one reason: There are no incentives to lower costs. Patients don't see the bill and doctors get no extra business by being more cost-competitive. When there are incentives to lower costs, like the ones created by HSAs [health savings accounts] and catastrophic care insurances, the costs go down.

Medicare is a disastrous boondoggle that needs to be phased out. I would repeal the prescription drug subsidy, and gradually phase out Medicare. In the first phase, I would have Medicare means tested. At the same time, I would make Medicare unavailable to recent immigrants. If you haven't paid into social security and Medicare, it seems a bit absurd that you can receive it.

To continue to lower costs, I would end the bans on pharmaceutical reimportation, and other protections and subsidies given to large pharmaceutical companies.


// 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 oppose all bailouts, subsidies, and corporate welfare. The only reason the government should undertake a task is if the people need the product. It should never undertake a task just to "create jobs." Any job "created" by the government has to be created with funds from the private sector. Those funds should be left with the private sector, so that they can create private sector jobs.

Thus, if we had an absolute national need for more roads, then we should build them. But we should never build roads just to subsidize an industry — no matter how many lobbyists they have.


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

No, and I would end sanctions against Iran. Creating enmity with foreign nations is not in our economic interests.

I believe that an unnecessary war with Iran is essentially a bailout for defense contractors. No one else profits form war.

In a larger sense, I believe our military policy should focus on missile defense, not on interfering with other nations.


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

I would repeal the Patriot Act. I believe a large number of Democrats and Republicans would support that.





[ 6th Congressional District ]



 

Maryland's marquee race in 2012, the 6th District is drawing national attention after its boundaries were redrawn to make it more attractive for Democrats. The incumbent is Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, a Frederick County Republican.



 

Roscoe G. Bartlett, Republican (incumbent)


 

    • Party: Republican



    • Age: 86



    • City of residence Buckeystown



    • Occupation: Public servant, small businessman, farmer



    • Family: Married, 10 children, 18 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren







    • Experience: Scientist, inventor, professor, small business owner and farmer.



    • Education: B.S., Columbia Union College, 1947; M.S., University of Maryland, 1948; Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1952



    • 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 do not support a massive tax increase next year on American individuals, families and businesses. With Americans' unemployment rate over 8 percent for more than 40 months, it's important to extend these lower rates for every American who pays income taxes.


// 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. //

Earlier this year I voted against both a pay freeze as well as a pension cut for federal workers because I oppose singling out government employees in the process of making needed spending cuts.


// 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? //

The mathematics of Medicare doom the program to bankruptcy for many current beneficiaries, those near retirement as well as younger workers unless it is reformed. Higher costs, reduced access to health care and a $500 billion cut to Medicare are among the reasons why I opposed Obamacare. I support providing current beneficiaries and younger workers with more choices and competition and greater oversight to reduce fraud as key reforms to preserve these vital health care programs for our seniors, those in need and younger generations.


// 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 voted for the new law that provides funding to pay for federal highway and transportation projects to maintain and modernize this critical infrastructure. This new law reduces red tape to speed construction and completion of transportation projects and provides states with greater flexibility to meet Maryland residents' needs. I commute to and from Washington, D.C., and understand that investments in the I-270 corridor and other roads improves workers' and businesses' productivity, reduces time wasted and pollution from traffic congestion and enhances our quality of life.


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

I support utilizing all elements of America's national power to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. I have voted for and strongly support tough new sanctions that limit sales of Iranian oil to deny the Iranian regime the resources to develop or acquire nuclear weapons capability and to compel it to cooperate with independent, international inspections.


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

As one of the only scientists and inventors in the Congress and a co-chairman of the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, I am well respected for my record of working with colleagues across the aisle for enacting policies to promote the development of domestic, renewable energy sources. I authored the successful House bill the president signed to extend many renewable energy tax credits for five years until 2016.