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Evaluating District 12 Democratic candidates who took part in forum [Letter]

11:42 AM EDT, March 12, 2014

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District 12 (Howard and Baltimore Counties) has three House of Delegate seats up for grabs. That's a healthy 2.1 percent of our state's total.

Here are my sanguine impressions from a Democratic candidate forum held March 6.

Nine of 10 candidates present agreed that the Cove Point pipeline should not be built, and similar concern was expressed about hydraulic fracking more generally. Adam Sachs boldly noted that jobs in this case might not be the highest priority.

All candidates support a $10.10 minimum wage with COLAs. Sachs was uniquely vivid in his support by stating that businesses with employees earning $7.25 were arguably not very successful ventures.

If forced by budget realities to increase taxes, five of the candidates (Nick Stewart, Sachs, Brian Bailey, Eric Ebersole, and Clarence Lam) would favor progressive income tax increases.

Lam further noted that revenues could be achieved by rolling back tax incentives for the coal industry. Michael Gisriel noted the potential of a "snack tax."

The nine unanimously support labels for genetically modified foods.

The nine unanimously support the "Common Core" education standards. Sachs added to his colorful remarks by saying much opposition to the new standards was a "bugaboo" of Republicans.

Overall, presented credentials and poise favored Lam over the other candidates. Dr. Lam is a preventative medicine doctor with credible governing experience, and a modest yet authoritative way of discourse. Gisriel boasts great experience as an Annapolis lobbyist and former delegate. Sachs demonstrated the most passion for liberal positions, including for campaign finance reform and single-payer health care (perhaps non-starters, but I do admire his audacity)

Michael Abrams

Catonsville