If you ask Kyle Lorton, politics shouldn't be a career ambition. The 55-year-old Republican from Highland works as a sales director for W.R. Grace & Co. in Columbia, and says he has no plans of retiring anytime soon.
But he recently announced his intention to run for a delegate seat in District 9A, which represents western Howard County and parts of southern Carroll County. He said he looks at the position as a short-term opportunity to make some change.
To keep that focus in mind, Lorton supports a limit of two to three terms for state delegates. Term limits, he said, ensure "better ideas," and "minimize the tendencies to think about what I can do to make this a lifelong seat, and the financial implications relative to that," he said. "It takes a lot of that out of that equation."
This isn't Lorton's first time campaigning for public office – he ran against Democrat Jim Robey for a District 13 state Senate seat in 2010. But, he said, he hoped his message would resonate with more voters this election cycle.
On the issues, Lorton said his big concern is the business climate in the state.
"We're taxing too much and regulating too much," he said. "We need to make Maryland a more business-friendly state."
He pinpointed income tax as one of the biggest burden for the voters he's talked to so far.
"I can't tell you how many people I meet, when you start talking to them a little bit, one of the first things they want to say is we're thinking about leaving the state" because of taxes, he said. "And it's just not one, it's multiple people."
He said Maryland should follow the lead of states like Louisiana, Ohio, New Mexico and South Carolina, where Republican governors have cut taxes since coming to office.
"I think conservative principles work," he said. "If you explain the issue from an economic basis, most people, I think, can understand that. They may not like it, but they understand it."
Lorton said his business background would help him at the negotiating table in a State House dominated by Democrats.
"I would hope that I could use my commercial background in the corporate world to take people to the table, talk about the issues in an open, transparent way," he said. "At the end of the day, we're supposed to make the best use of the Maryland taxpayers' money."
Other important issues for Lorton are preserving gun rights and opposing abortion. "I think, fundamentally, that's where a lot of people are," he said.
He said he would fight for those conservative principles in the State House. A former University of Maryland football player, he said he still had a competitive spirit.
"I want to hold that alternative way of thinking, that more left way of thinking, I want to hold those people accountable to those principles that they're trying to implement," he said. "And I'm going to fight every day to the extent that I would hope at some point in time after doing it on a repetitive basis, people would say 'Okay, what's Kyle saying today?'"