During the decade of the 1980s, I served in former President Ronald Reagan's Cabinet as U.S. trade representative and as secretary of labor. My responsibilities included opening new markets for American products, stopping unfair trade practices that cost America jobs and improving education and training so we could create more and better jobs.
We did create jobs -- 18 million new jobs. The Canadian trade agreement I initiated, for example, created over 7,000 jobs in Maryland alone. In addition, we cut taxes, stopped inflation, reduced interest rates and helped start and sustain the longest peacetime expansion in American history.
I want to carry on the fight for Maryland. I bought my first home in Maryland in 1966, and my second in 1986. My wife Sandy comes from three generations of Marylanders. The presence of my daughter and her family, and my son, who has also moved here, has deepened our roots in this community.
Our present senator, Paul Sarbanes, seems to have given up the fight. Not once in the last 12 years has Mr. Sarbanes sponsored a successful bill to create a single new job in the private sector. He has raised our taxes time and again. He has consistently voted against spending cuts -- even though excessive spending has increased the federal deficit, pushed up interest rates, cut national savings in half and slowed our growth.
He has supported ever more intrusive federal regulation of our lives, our homes, our farms and our small business.
He has opposed trade agreements that would open huge new markets to American goods. He has tried to politicize America's independent Federal Reserve System. Mr. Sarbanes has even opposed the death penalty for major drug dealers. That is no way to try to halt the insanity of crime, drugs and violence.
We now have a a government that is unable to keep our schools safe or our borders secure. Yet it persists in becoming ever more intrusive into our lives and ever less competent in protecting the values that undergird our freedom.
Our government has all but ignored the essential components of a civil society: families, neighborhoods and religious, charitable and civic organizations.
We are rich in goods, poor in spirit. No longer do we attempt to inculcate timeless concepts such as integrity, personal responsibility, honor, duty and citizenship in our young. Half our 18-years-olds cannot read at the ninth-grade level or do an eighth-grade math problem. The result: the majority learn neither math nor morals.
We write off one half of America's children -- and Mr. Sarbanes utters not a peep. The toughest challenge I have in making this race is to convince people that they can make a difference, that I can make a difference.
I run because I am disgusted with a bitter, petty, excessively partisan Congress that is unwilling to live within its means, unable to control its spending, afraid to cut taxes, too dispirited to reform welfare and too weak to speak up for families, good neighborhoods, hard work and absolute values.
I fault Mr. Sarbanes not for seeking public service, but for the wasted opportunity his time in Congress represents.
This state deserves better. One fact is clear -- the people who got us into this mess sure aren't the ones to get us out of it.
I promise, if elected, to be an active supporter of Maryland on your behalf, and I will do the best I can to reflect this state's goodness, its strength and its character.
Bill Brock is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.