Ed Priola, Candidate MD House of Delegates District 13
Office Sought: Maryland House of Delegates, District 13
Hometown: Columbia MD
1. Give our readers a little insight to your background, especially your work with the Victims of Communism Memorial?
I’m the proud son of a 27-year veteran. My father was an NCO drill instructor in the United States Air Force. My mother was a registered nurse. From them, I learned that freedom is worth fighting for and that caring for the least able among us is the noblest mission you could have in life.
For quite a few years, I worked as a volunteer and paid advocate promoting taxpayer rights and limiting the scope and size of government. I served as national field director for both the National Taxpayers Union and US Term Limits. During 2001-2006, I lived and worked in Romania, Albania and Afghanistan, and visited two dozen other countries educating people on how to become advocates for democracy and free-enterprise.
After returning to the United States, I became involved with the non-partisan Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. As the Foundation’s Public Affairs Director, I managed day to day operations, as well as the dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial located in Washington DC in June 2007.
The Foundation works with peoples and groups from around the world to remember the 100 million victims of communism. We actively worked with people who are still enslaved in the five remaining communist nations. During the past several years, I managed the development of an online museum that documents the brutal legacy, history and philosophy of communism. The museum now serves as the cornerstone of a program to educate American youth about the misery communism has brought the world.
2. Who is your political lodestar? What shapes your ideological background?
Ronald Wilson Reagan. I worked on his campaign for almost two years in 1979 -80, first as a field representative in Iowa and then as an advance man throughout New England. I can tell you from close up experience that he was every bit of the person we all saw in public. He was a well-grounded, practical politician who never forgot his working class roots or the reason he was elected to office. He showed us all that He made patriotism and conservatism cool conservative principles can inform politics without being dogmatic..
3. What prompted you to run for office?
I got in the race last year, when the prospects were not looking good for conservative Republicans. But, I realized that this is a pivotal period in our history and some of us had better step forward to change our Jurassic government in Annapolis. Now, with some help from conservatives everywhere, it looks like we will take back our country and state. Either way, I got in it because it had to be done.
4. Pension/retiree health care and Medicaid fuel Maryland’s chronic budget deficits; what measures would you propose to address them?
I will always remember that my hardworking parents served our government. We should be fair to our public service workers and their families. We should never again put them in the position of balancing the budget on their backs with furloughs and layoffs.
That being said, the answers to these problems can be found in sound management principles. The governor of New Jersey has the right approach. I would follow his lead. It is clear that we can no longer promise state benefits that outpace our ability to pay for them. Like New Jersey, we need to determine a reasonable scale for the state contribution toward benefits for all new employees (and not promise a pre-determined benefit amount as has been the practice).
For the record, I have been in the battle against government-run health care for some time. In the early 1990s, I travelled across the country rallying public opposition to Hillary Clinton’s dreadful government healthcare plan.
5. Many Republicans are concerned about the bloated size of Maryland government; what government programs or agencies (if any) would you cut, reduce, or eliminate?
We must reform Maryland’s government from the ground up. It is a dysfunctional disaster. The State Constitution was designed for an agrarian society that disappeared a century ago. We need zero based budgeting that requires every state agency to justify its existence and every line item in its budget every year.
I believe that term limits is an idea whose time has come. It seems reasonable to me that career politicians should be required to sit out one term after they serve two. Then, they can then spend some time living under the laws they pass for everyone else.
6. Many counties budgets are being crippled by Maintenance of Effort requirements; would you support eliminating or reducing those requirements?
Spending mandates are a primary cause of our state budget crisis. Going forward, we must have the flexibility to adjust our spending to fit economic realities.
Straight forward, we need to introduce a mechanism that eliminates or dramatically reduces maintenance of effort spending requirements.
7. What proposals would you champion to help Maryland businesses and entrepreneurs?
Cut the taxes, fees and administrative burdens on businesses, especially small businesses. I would introduce a flat tax for micro-businesses (fewer than twenty employees) that would enable them to eliminate or decrease the oppressive bookkeeping and compliance reporting government agencies currently demand.
8. Two of the most important issues facing Maryland are concerns with transportation and the environment; on which issue do you place a greater priority, and how would you address it?
It is time for out-of-the-box thinking that will address both. For example, many Nebraskan civil servants have had a four-day work week for more than a year. They work four ten-hour days and have a three-day weekend. This management plan generates less traffic congestion and road fatigue. It requires less gasoline for commuters and less heating fuel for buildings. It also gives public service employees more quality time with their families. Eighty percent of the workers like it, according to a survey. Too boot, Nebraskan taxpayers can now access the DMV on a weekday! Why shouldn’t Maryland consider a similar approach?
9. Following on that last question, Maryland passed cap and trade legislation in 2009 and the Maryland Department of the Environment is working with environmental special interests to write the regulations. If elected what would you do to mitigate or nullify what are sure to be economically ruinous dictates?
I would introduce legislation to rescind it. I would then introduce legislation to maintain our access to the oil our economy requires while we transition to other fuel sources under American control. There are a variety of these untapped energy sources, like natural gas and nuclear power, which would reduce pollution and enhance our national security position. These energy sources would also keep jobs in America.
10. If you had a choice of any Republican to be the nominee of our party for President in 2012, who would they be?
It is too early in the process to answer. I want to see a real conservative this time. I am not looking for another Ronald Reagan. I am looking for a man or woman who believes in the same principles that Ronald Reagan had and has the spine to fight for them.