Date of birth: Jan. 30, 1946

Party affiliation: Democrat

Professional background: Reporter for WMAR-TV for 35 years. General assignment reporting covering all of Maryland and Washington, and including international coverage from Mexico, Israel and Russia. Shop steward of AFTRA union.

Educational background: Graduated from the Johns Hopkins University with a bachelor of arts degree in political science, 1968. Graduated from public high school in Washington.

Personal: Married for 35 years to Toba Dobkin Barth; father of two adult daughters, Ellen and Emily. Resident of Howard County from 1971 to the present. Runner, tennis and softball player, gardener. Active in Columbia civic and charitable groups, frequent speaker at graduations and neighborhood events, on the boards of public service organizations (such as NeighborRide and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism).

1.) Why are you running?

I'm not a politician, but after a 35-year "listening-and-learning" tour reporting on the people and issues of the 3rd District, I'm the most experienced candidate in the race. Now instead of just pointing out problems, I'd like to help solve them. People want an end to politics as usual and the partisan gridlock it brings; I want to bring decency and common sense to government so we end the war in Iraq, expand prekindergarten education and save pensions and Social Security.

2.) What is your position on the current U.S. policy in Iraq?

We should end our involvement in Iraq as quickly as possible with a planned, well-organized withdrawal of our military in no more than a year. I support our troops 100 percent, but there never was a good reason to enter this war, and there is not now a good reason to continue it. We have not made Iraq safer or the region more secure, and we have not advanced our vital war against terror. Far too many Americans have been killed or horribly wounded. We should direct our efforts at achieving true homeland security, and providing generous treatment of returning veterans.

3.) What is your view of the Medicare prescription drug plan and whether changes are needed to the program?

The Medicare Part D drug plan is an affront to the decency and common sense of Maryland citizens; anything so complicated and cumbersome, so user-hostile, shows exactly what needs to be changed in Washington, by electing a new kind of representative, the nonpolitician. I believe we need affordable health care coverage for all Americans, we need to control health care costs, and we must allow patients to chose their own doctors and health care.

4.) What is the most important issue facing the 3rd District?

The most important issue is ending the war in Iraq, because on it hinges all other progress. When the money and effort being wasted in Iraq are returned home, we could improve educational opportunity and performance by making prekindergarten classes available to all children; we could save Social Security and guarantee that promises of pension and health care benefits are kept. And we could reduce the cynicism and mistrust of government that undermine all we do; we need an end to politics as usual and a return to decency and common sense. Of course, there are other vital issues: Controlling the cost of electricity and gasoline is key; preserving the bay is crucial. It all comes to restoring trust in government, and the people we elect.

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