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Three-way battle for Cecil County House seat

Democratic Del. David Rudolph, a 20-year veteran representative of Cecil County in the Maryland General Assembly, is facing two challengers going into next week's general election as he seeks a sixth term in Annapolis.

Rudolph's GOP challenger is Kevin Hornberger, 33, of North East. Mary Catherine Podlesak, 61, of the Elkton area, is a Republican, who is running as a write-in candidate.

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"I'm running for re-election because of my commitment to Cecil County and my efforts to make sure Cecil County gets its fair share of state resources," Rudolph, 65, said.

Rudolph, a Rising Sun resident, who grew up in North East, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1994.

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He is a retired educator who spent 30 years with the Cecil County Public Schools, and he is the director of teacher education at Cecil College.

Rudolph was drawn into Subdistrict 35A as a result of the state's 2012 redistricting process. His district covers northeastern Cecil around Elkton, Rising Sun and North East, along with Perryville and a stretch of the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River.

He said his main goal is to continue to promote economic development and job growth in Cecil County, as well as Cecil's neighbors across the Susquehanna in Harford County.

"I've always believed that we're in partnership," Rudolph said.

He has sponsored legislation to bring regional higher education resources to Aberdeen, and he co-sponsored legislation with Harford County Democratic Del. Mary-Dulany James in early 2014 to create the Northeast Maryland Additive Manufacturing Innovation Authority, whose mission is bringing additive manufacturing jobs to Cecil and Harford.

"As a state delegate, you do more than just the 90 days in Annapolis," Rudolph said of the annual legislative session. "You represent your citizens 365 days a year, and trying to improve Cecil County is not just a 90-day experience; it's 365 days of trying to do whatever you can to improve the quality of life for the citizens of this great county."

Hornberger's goal is a bit different. "The biggest reason I'm running is, I felt I had a moral obligation to turn around what's going on in Annapolis," he said.

Hornberger is the president and owner of Blue Collar Engineering Inc., and he is the facility manager for the Library of Congress.

"The biggest issues are the taxes, of course, and lumped in there is the fines, fees, toll increases that we've had over the last eight years," he said.

Hornberger also referred to the Annapolis "infringements on our personal liberties," such as gun control legislation and speed cameras.

He cited his experience as a business owner, as well as a government employee, and his ability to "get results in both of those environments" as qualifications for being a delegate and making changes at the state level.

"Basically, you have a spend followed by additional taxes, so every year there's a bloated budget, and then we turn around and pay for that with tax increases, long story short, Annapolis has a spending problem," Hornberger said.

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Podlesak, a homemaker, was one of three Republican candidates seeking their party's nomination in the June primary for the 35A seat. Hornberger was the primary winner.

"I am a Republican, but my convictions are that I'm a Whig," she said.

The Whigs were a popular political party in the U.S. during the 1800s. Four presidents, including William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore, who served during the 1840s and 50s, were Whigs, according to the party's website.

The Modern Whig Party became a national party in 2007, and veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were among its founding members.

Party tenets include a limited central government, fiscal discipline and domestic economic growth.

Podlesak said she is in favor of citizen militias because people "need to be more involved in law enforcement, and against gun control policies.

"People should be able to buy the guns they choose to buy without the state standing over them," she said.

She also wants state leaders to "try to pare down the budget and try to figure out how to create more jobs, so small businesses could be started and continually funded so jobs can be created."

Podlesak also wants an examination of policies that require children to be vaccinated, and that anyone should have the right to refuse vaccines.

"When I got married I had children, and those children all had vaccine damage, and that's why I'm in favor of freedom of choice regarding vaccinations, it's as simple as that," she said.

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