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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Maryland 6th District Democratic Candidates Debate

George Wenschhof

Rob Garagiola, Maryland state senate majority leader, who many believe is the front runner in the Democratic primary, enthusiastically discussed his 10 year voting record in creating jobs, increasing funding for education, promoting green energy, being supportive of women’s issues, voting for the Maryland DREAM Act, and voting in support of same-sex marriage – which recently passed in Maryland.

The candidate forum held Wednesday night by The Frederick County Democratic State Central Committee and Frederick County Young Democrats was conducted, in front of a packed house, at the Bernard Brown Community Center in Frederick.

Moderator Michael Kurtianyk, did a fine job of moving the discussion along while covering many of the important issues facing voters today.

Labeled by many, as the number two in the Democratic primary, businessman John Delaney confidently discussed his positions on the issues, pointing out by electing him voters would be getting a representative from outside the system whose successful work experience in helping small business would be a plus.

Dr. Milad Pooran received perhaps the loudest applause of the evening when discussing his unwavering support of a woman’s right to decide, which has come under recent Republican Party assault over health care contraception coverage.

Buoyed by the endorsement of Former Governor and chair of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean along with the co-chairs of the Congressional progressive Caucus, Pooran said if voters want to elect a true progressive, they should vote for him.

When talking about the time to end former president George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy, Pooran, who served in the military in Iraq, noticed many of the recruits were from the bottom 10% socioeconomically and said “if we can ask the bottom 10% to pay in red, we can certainly ask the top1% to pay in green.”

Although Bailey and Little are not considered serious threats to win the April 3 Maryland primary, both distinguished themselves well.

Charles Bailey, an attorney, stressed the importance of Congress moving forward and passing the American Jobs Act proposed by President Obama, noting the bill would provide employment for teachers, firefighters and police hit hard by the recession as well as jobs for blue collar workers building and repairing the nation’s infrastructure.

Ron Little talked about the importance of education, criticizing the “No Child Left Behind” policy initiated by the George W. Bush administration saying children “need to be taught to be creative”.

After numerous negative attacks exchanged in the media between the campaign managers of the Garagiola and Delaney campaigns, the two candidates, who sat side by side, during the debate, remained mostly civil toward each other.

However, Garagiola did note, that while he was going door-to-door in Frederick County during the 2010 campaign helping state senator Ron Young win his election (against Republican Alex Mooney), Delaney contributed $2,400.00 to Republican Andrew Harris, who defeated Democrat Frank Kratovil in the first district Congressional race.

Dr. Pooran, on the other hand, basically said Garagiola was the consummate political insider and criticized Delaney for his business practices adding Delaney was trying to buy the seat through use of his personal wealth. Pooran expressed his concern Republicans would exploit the weakness of both candidates in the General Election.

All in all a solid debate, that highlighted the overall strengths of the Democratic candidates.

Less than five weeks remain until the Democratic primary. Due to redistricting and a 42,000 Democratic voter registration advantage, the outcome could easily determine the winner in November.

Democratic voters, longing for a change in representation in the sixth district, finally have reason to be optimistic.

Stay Tuned.


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