Congressional Candidates Discuss Jobs, Energy in Community
Though the incumbent was missing from activities, candidates met with the public to share their platforms and vie for more votes.
Nine candidates running for the sixth congressional district seat in Maryland had a chance to appeal to the public Thursday night in attempt to garner local votes in Darnestown, although incumbent Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) was not present.
“One of the big things we have to accomplish [in Congress] is to be available,” David Brinkley said. “You have to be available to meet people, you have to be here tonight. The incumbent is not here tonight, but all of us are here asking for your vote.”
Darnestown Civic Association President Lisa Patterson-Troike said she received an email from Bartlett’s camp Wednesday night cancelling his appearance at the event, although no reason was provided. The candidates running against Bartlett are looking to advocate more for Maryland, specifically for more funding to protect jobs and infrastructure. Some accused the incumbent of not advocating for funds in 20 years.
“The congresswoman needs to be a barracuda to bring that funding back,” candidate Kathy Afzali said in regards to funding for infrastructure. “That’s the job of the congressmen; for 20 years the congressman has not advocated for that money.”
With primary elections nearing, the candidates sat down with the public to answer pressing questions about both local and state issues. The bipartisan hearing allowed for each candidate to speak on the economy and energy consumption, and all displayed a general dismay with the current role of the government.
“It’s surprising, everyone said something I agreed with!” Patterson-Troike said.
One of the four inquires questioned how the candidates felt about the government’s power—whether it needs to be constrained more or less. The questions, sent from local residents and chosen by a bipartisan panel, were particular to bridging the gap between people and the nation.
Candidates like Afzali and Joseph Krysztoforski believed there was too much regulation, leading to the current state of the economy. Afzali said the banking crisis was because of increased oversight and requirements aimed at banks to provide more loans for people who weren’t creditworthy.
“We do need some kind of regulation,” Krysztoforski said, “But we don’t need overregulation.
Democratic candidate John Delaney, who comes from corporate background and supports infrastructure investment, agreed with the president’s position on what the government needed in terms of streamlining agencies and making them more efficient.
“The government needs to be easier to work with,” Delaney said.
The candidates lined up in agreement once again when discussing a potential bridge to Virginia. Though for a varying set of reasons, all candidates opposed the plan despite desiring more infrastructure.
“You can’t build way out of traffic,” Democratic candidate Milad Pooran said.
The bridge would impact rural neighborhoods of western Maryland the most, bringing jobs likely into Virginia, not Maryland, Pooran said.
As the area is already complete with infrastructure, some at substandard levels, candidates believed that another project would only provide temporary employment and no long-term fruition.
In order to inject growth into the economy, the nation needs to relay focus on technology and energy and Krysztoforski stressed the need to drill domestically and invest in the fossil fuels already available.
But energy and the environment go hand in hand, according to State Sen. Rob Garagiola (D-MD, adding that protecting both need to continue beyond a local level. The energy field is key to creating jobs in all sectors of the economy.
“There are many green jobs in Maryland, but they’re not implemented at the federal level,” Garagiola said. “These are jobs that you can’t export.”
The primary election will be held on April 3.
Patch contacted Barlett's office, but did not get a response in time for this post. If there is a response, we'll update the story.