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Oz Bengur -- U.S. House of Representatives, Maryland's 3rd District


Fourth in a series of snapshots of candidates in Maryland's 3rd Congressional District. The brief profiles of first Democratic and then Republican candidates will appear in this space leading up to the Sept. 12 primary.

Date of birth: Feb. 23, 1949

Party affiliation: Democrat

Professional background: Special assistant to governor of Maine with responsibilities for housing, corrections, business regulation and energy conservation; as investment banker, involved in almost $1 billion in financing for state and local governments and their agencies, and public and private companies; started small businesses that have created hundreds of jobs.

Educational background: Princeton University, A.B. in English; Cambridge University, England, Advanced Degree in Criminology

Personal: Father of 3 children; Noah, a captain in the United States Marine Corps; Dinah, a middle school teacher; and Nick a junior at Towson High School; treasurer of the Maryland Democratic Party; past board member of not-for-profit and community organizations, including: Baltimore Parks and People Foundation, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Trustee of the Baltimore County Public Library and President of the Children's Chorus of Maryland.

1. Why are you running?

This election is about bringing home our troops serving our nation in Iraq, like my son Noah; making homeland security a priority: helping working families who face higher costs of living while their incomes are flat; and tackling the tough issues of out of control health care costs for families and seniors. As the only candidate who has been a public servant, businessman, and community leader, I am the most qualified candidate to provide leadership on these issues.

2. What is your position on current US policy on Iraq?

My Marine son fought in Iraq; I understand the challenges our troops face. They've done their job. It's time to bring them home to a heroes' welcome. I am the only candidate with a detailed plan to withdraw our troops. George Bush has not made us safer - we must focus on al-Qaida-sponsored terror and threats posed by Iran and Hezbollah. I have provided real leadership by offering a plan to create a more peaceful and stable Middle East

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

The Medicare prescription drug plan is costly and confusing to participants. Co-pays are too high and the gap in coverage threatens to force our seniors to choose between medication they need and other necessities. Congress should enable Medicare's buying power to purchase drugs for participants at a lower cost. Congress also must make sure the Medicare program stays strong so that our seniors are not hit with unmanageable healthcare costs in the future.

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

The cost of the war in Iraq: more than 20,000 dead and wounded and over $300 billion. The war's cost prevents funding health care for all and education, and ensuring that Social Security and Medicare are financially sound. The economy is going in the wrong direction. Everyday costs are going up. Wages are stagnant, families are falling behind, not getting ahead. People have had enough. They want straight talk and strong leadership. That's what I will provide.

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