1. Give our readers a little insight to your background?
I am a father of three children, husband & small businessman. My values are rooted in blue collar Baltimore, where my parents taught me that we live in an “Opportunity Society”. In an Opportunity Society, you can and will have a better life than your parents if you work hard, become a lifelong learner, pursue innovation and take-on risks. Indeed, my parents didn’t have a college education – yet all four of their children went to college and have had a better life. Looking ahead, I am deeply concerned for all of our children and grandchildren because of the out-of-control federal and state spending and fiscal irresponsibility. How can our children and grandchildren inherit the Opportunity Society if they’re paying 70-75% of their income to governments (local, state & federal) in the form of taxes? This is precisely why I am running for the Maryland House of Delegates. I want to renew Maryland’s Opportunity Society so that our children and our grandchildren can have a better life than us, just as we have had a better life than our parents.
2. Who is your political lodestar? What shapes your ideological background?
While I was a student at George Washington University, I had the pleasure of meeting Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s optimism and conservative values challenged the status-quo in Washington and beyond, so that America could be renewed as an Opportunity Society. His faith and belief in people, not government, still resonates today.
3. What prompted you to run for office?
Out of control federal and state spending caused me to run for this office. This spending is ruining our country and our state because it’s mortgaging our children’s and grandchildren’s future. If left unchecked, government will control and regulate every aspect of human life — from the kind of energy that you purchase, to the kind of healthcare that you can receive.
4. Pension/retiree health care and Medicaid fuel Maryland’s chronic budget deficits; what measures would you propose to address them?
Benefits must be brought into balance with affordability. Namely, that government cannot afford cradle-to-grave benefits at current levels. Personal responsibility must be a concept that is reintroduced to the body politic. This is why I support a campaign to educate Marylanders about the taxes they’ll be paying if we do not address this problem. To that end, I support term limits, so that politicians in Annapolis do not have incentives to “promise anything to everyone” in order to keep their jobs. Careerism in public office is ruining this state and this country. Likewise, I support re-balancing benefits of public employees so that they’re more inline with the private sector.
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?
I would propose that we reduce overall government spending in Annapolis by 6%. Also, I favor selling-off Rocky Gap and other government properties, as they do not fit the mission statement of government. Government should not own resorts like Rocky Gap, which has lost over $120 million taxpayer dollars.
6. Many counties’ budgets are being crippled by Maintenance of Effort requirements; would you support eliminating or reducing those requirements?
Calvert County has done a good job with the MOE requirement, as Calvert has exceeded the state-mandated requirement. The problem is that MOE’s do not recognize that each county is different and has different needs. Moreover, the MOE requirement does not take into account that “spending per pupil” is not the only method to measure success. If spending per pupil were the driving factor in a school system’s success, then Baltimore City would have the most educated children in the State. Baltimore City spends more per pupil, yet has the worst educational system in Maryland. I should know, because I grew up in Baltimore in the 1970’s, and it was substandard then! Not all counties and jurisdictions are the same and there are many factors that contribute to success and failure. Therefore, I support giving every Maryland county and city the right to decide what does and does not work — given their unique circumstances and needs.
7. What proposals would you champion to help Maryland businesses and entrepreneurs?
I propose that we bring Maryland’s corporate taxes into line with her neighbors, specifically Virginia. Likewise, I support the elimination of the personal property tax, as it penalizes investment in capital equipment. The private sector will lead Maryland into prosperity, if and only if, we make Maryland friendly for small businesses.
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?
Maryland has limited resources with which to deal with both of these very important issues. The structural deficit has made funding even more acute. It is for this reason that I support “Truth in Spending Measures”, namely, to put fees and revenues into “lock boxes” for both transportation and the environment. Too often, we’re taxed and charged fees for transportation and the environment, but the money is transferred to another pet project. Truth in spending measures will make it easier and more transparent for Marylanders to understand what’s affordable and reasonable.
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 am opposed to Maryland’s cap & trade regime. This regime increases utility bills on those people who can least afford higher electricity bills. Likewise, it enriches special interests at the expense of the middle class and the poor. Marylanders will adopt renewable energy when it makes economic sense to do so. Subsidies are interrupting the free marketplace of ideas and innovation. Mandating that renewable energy be purchased by utilities is hurting Maryland’s economy. The best example is BP Solar, which closed their plant in Frederick, Maryland in spite of the subsidies. Let’s let consumers decide and drive decisions as to what works best for them.
10. If you had a choice of any Republican to be the nominee of our party for President in 2012, who would they be?
Congressman Paul Ryan because he is Reaganesque in his resolve!
Speical Follow-Up Question:You and your opponent, Bob Schaefer, were involved in an incident at a Southern Maryland Young Republicans event where a punch was thrown. Please give our readers your version of events.
Character matters. This is why I have always taken the “high road” during this unfortunate incident. I’ve taught my children to lead by example, and this is exactly what I’ve done during this campaign. The press reports speak for themselves, as does the Central Committee’s report on the matter to the media. It’s now time to focus and beat the Incumbent in November!!!