By Amanda Yeager, firstname.lastname@example.org
2:52 PM EST, December 20, 2013
The second Republican to file in Howard and Baltimore counties' District 12 says he's the candidate for voters interested in small government and individual freedoms.
"People should be able to do what they want, as long as they're not hurting anyone else," Gordon Bull said of his political stance. "I'm not into trying to control people, their lives or their decisions."
Bull, 32, called himself "a liberty-minded Republican" interested in bringing government "a lot closer to the people."
The Baltimore County resident, who lives on the Arbutus/Halethorpe line, joins a field of nine Democratic candidates and one other Republican vying for three available seats in a district that stretches from Catonsville to Columbia.
Incumbent Dels. Liz Bobo, a Democrat from Columbia, and Steven DeBoy and Jimmy Malone, Democrats from Arbutus, have announced that they will not be running for re-election in 2014.
The district is now split, with two seats assigned to Baltimore County in District 12A and one to Howard, in 12B. It was redistricted in 2012 to merge into one larger jurisdiction for 2014.
Bull, who serves on the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee, operates a small business with his father, Bull's Plumbing and Heating. He said he saw the wide-open race with no incumbents in the field as "the right time to run and bring some change to the state."
He said he hoped to rein in spending if elected — starting with the salaries of elected officials, which he wants to cut by 20 percent, according to his campaign website.
A state compensation commission recently recommended a 16 percent pay raise over four years for legislators to $50,330 by 2018. Another state compensation commission recommended a 20 percent increase for the governor, to $180,000 by 2018.
"If you're going into public service for the paycheck, you're in it for the wrong reasons," Bull said. "I am not running for personal financial gain … or a career change."
He said he believes legislators should be limited to a maximum of three or four terms to prevent what he called "Annapolis lifers" — legislators who serve for several decades.
Both Malone and Bobo have served in the House of Delegates since 1995. DeBoy has served in the House since 2003.
Bull said he also wanted to reduce taxes for Maryland residents, "I'm just absolutely sick of the encroachment on our pocketbooks."
He said he would propose a reduction of the state sales tax, currently at 6 percent, to 5 percent or lower.
And he would like to see a "toll holiday" at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge after average annual maintenance expenses, plus 10 percent, are met from toll collections, according to his website.
Other issues on Bull's platform include support of gun rights, requiring drug screenings for those receiving state benefits, increasing restrictions on illegal immigrants and getting rid of the speed camera program.
Bull said he wanted to focus on "what is best for the average citizen.
"I'm hoping that people are fed up enough with the status quo that they're willing to actually take a look at what they're voting for and vote for someone who actually understands where these problems are coming from," he said.
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