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Friday, January 11, 2008

MD 6th District Congressional Forum

George Wenschhof

The Carroll County League of Women Voters sponsored a candidate forum last Wednesday night (January 9, 2008) for the Maryland 6th District congressional candidates. Both Republican and Democratic candidates were in attendance. The Debate started after an earlier Board of Education Debate concluded.

Although attended by under 100, the forum was taped will be re-broadcast on channel 19 in Carroll County for the public to view. Rick Lank emailed me that for those of you who receive this channel, it will be rebroadcast Saturday the 12th at 8:30 PM and Sunday the 13th at 9:00 PM. Then, at various time slots until the day of the election.

I was unable to attend but was curious as to what our Democratic Party candidates said in the Debate. I thought many of you would like to know as well. So I asked all of the Democratic candidates to email me a short two paragraph statement pertaining to the Debate and informed them I would post today. If any of you attended the forum you can post your thoughts by clicking on "Comments" at the end of this post.

I have also posted on my site the links to the web sites of the Democrats running in the 6th District so please take the time to visit their sites to learn more about them and their positions on the issues. After eight Terms of ineffective representation in western Maryland by incumbent Republican Roscoe Bartlett, it is time for a change!

I received the following from Walter Ludwig, campaign manager for Andrew Duck: I will add responses from the other candidates as and if I receive.

"The forum was pretty well attended (though some of the people there may have been there for the school board forum, as well). Five Democrats, four Republicans and an independent trying to get on the ballot.

The lowlight was perennial Republican candidate John Kimble, who blamed everything from the economy to the weather on illegal immigration, and said that he didn't think Barack Obama should be a citizen. (And a hat tip to Larry Smith for calling him on it.)

Highlight was when incumbent Bartlett (who showed up late) said that the energy situation needed leadership in the Congress, and Andrew Duck agreed with him, saying that's why we need a new Congressman".

I received a very long response early this morning Saturday, January 12th. from Rick Lank. The first half of his email pertained to the format and this section pertained to his positions. Although I asked that the candidates keep to 2 paragraphs, I will post this and allow the other candidates to send in longer responses should they choose to do so.

I believe that I gave some of the most concrete examples of what I am proposing for the Sixth District and how these proposals will benefit the people of the Sixth. I am the only candidate that is doing something right now to facilitate bringing "town-sized" renewable energy projects into the Sixth – specifically with the proposal for a "renewable energy campus" at Windy Ridge Park in Mount Airy. We have held a large public hearing on this subject in November and the next hearing (held at the Town Hall) will be on January 17th. (Just Google '"rick lank" mount airy' or '"rick lank" energy' to see many articles on the subject.)

I have initiated several Heritage Education and Heritage Tourism events in the Sixth, specifically in Washington County and with the Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) in 2004 and 2005. I pledge to do much more in this arena if elected, bringing more Heri tage Tourism dollars into the area.

I was the only candidate to bring attention to the plight of East Alco in Frederick County, where the cost of electricity (a $78 million hike in one year) shut down the aluminum plant, destroying 600 manufacturing jobs – and all of those jobs went overseas to Brazil, Iceland and Trinidad. That is a concrete example of people losing jobs in the Sixth and America losing precious industry because of the "Energy Crisis."

I am the only candidate to make a specific reference to the huge private Wind Farms being proposed right now in Garrett County, which will be on public land controlled by the State's Department of Natural Resources (DNR). And I have some very specific recommendations for that situation, including adding a "Public Benefit Allowance" formula to any State land lease for such immense, environmentally sensitive projects.

I am the only person who even uttered the words preserving "collective bargaining " as a means of protecting local and U.S. jobs. I am the only candidate who proposed a specific plan for bringing new "green" jobs training into the Sixth and I proposed a specific site and town ---- the Integrative Energy Learning Center in Sykesville at the Warfield Complex. I am an adherent of the Apollo Alliance, which is a large coalition of groups that advocate a real and coherent federal commitment to not only renewable energy, but also to the creation of new "green collar" jobs through good training programs. I am a strong advocate of the work of Democratic Representative Jay Inslee of Washington State, sponsor of several key pieces of energy legislation and author of "Apollo's Fire."

Finally, if elected, I will introduce legislation to create and to fund "The Athena Jobs Training Act," designed specifically to help train young women in the trades that relate to renewable energy design and installation. Finally, I was the only Democrat to say that a loss to Bartlett of 60% to 40% the "last time around" was not a "Win" but only "Spin" --- and that we've got to elect a Democrat in February who can also "Bring Back the Blue" to the Sixth in November. It will be hard to "Bring Back the Blue," but it can be done! With the right Democratic Leadership and Vision!

I received this response from Robin Deibert on Thursday January 17th:

I was pleased to attend the forum and its format provided for a unique opportunity to hear both the republican and democratic candidates on one stage. Of course, the high number of candidates limited the number of questions that could be addressed within the hour time limit, but it was enlightening nonetheless.

The economy/jobs, social security/Medicare, energy independence and immigration were some of the topics discussed. As I understand that forum will be available to watch at a later time, I will only highlight my thoughts here, and of course, I am happy to further discuss these and any topics if anyone has a specific question. You may contact me via 1-888-ROBIN08 or through email at:

Most people agreed that we need to stop outsourcing jobs and are concerned about the economy. During the immigration discussion, I felt compelled to remind everyone that we have four borders, not just a southern on. We need comprehensive immigration reform across all borders.

In regards to social security and Medicare, we need to shore up social security by raising the payroll tax cap slowly over the next decade. I am the only candidate willing to fight the health insurance industry in support of HR 676, single payer health care, which will fix the Medicare debacle we have now.

Our seniors are spending what little they receive from social security to pay for their prescriptions and other health care costs. This has to stop!

In the area of energy independence, we need to start incorporating what other countries have successfully done. Brazil achieved energy independence in 2006 after only 30 years. We have to stop talking about this and start taking action. It is time for new leadership in the 6th district, and it is time for every voice to have a voice in Washington.

Thank you again for this opportunity to share my thoughts with you and your readers. Feel free to contact me again should questions arise.

Robin Deibert


Anonymous said...

I actually attended the forum event at the Community College and I thought it was pretty good. The event was too short but Roscoe and John Kimble seem to be the most prepared. Neither one of these intelligent men needed notes at all. I differ with the manager of Andy Duck in that I don't see Kimble as a "Perennial" candidate. He has never run in the Sixth District as a candidate. He came in second place out of ten in the 2006 US Senate Elections. Mr. Kimble also did talk about illegal immigration destroying our economy and culture and he is correct. John Kimble was also the only candidate who made us laugh and that is good. He has an honest quality and seems very intelligent. John Kimble was also the only one mentioned in the news media so I would say that he may be the one to be our next congressman. I also reviewed the Constitution and it does seem that John Kimble has a valid point about Obama's not meeting the requisite standards to be President. Obama's father was not a US citizen. I am sure CNN will tell us more about this in the next months. Everyone should watch the forum as it was pretty entertaining.

Julie Weiler

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Lank seems to be using the political forum for the sole purpose of promoting his own business interests. Sounds like he wants the taxpayers money to flow directly into his own personal bank account. From what I've heard, he doesn't do a very good job managing that.

Unknown said...

I am a long time progressive who believes in alternative energy sources and universal healthcare, women's rights, slow growth....but I would vote for Bartlett before I would vote Rick Lank in the 6th. Lank seems to move from one failed project to the next...though all are the same song with a different name. He has no record of business success or leadership ability and his entire platform is very self-serving.