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Anthony J. “Tony” O’Donnell

Name: Anthony J. “Tony” O’Donnell
Address: P.O. Box 2146, Prince Frederick, MD 20678
Neighborhood of residence: Lusby, MD
Date of birth: March 7, 1961
Occupation: Minority Leader, Maryland House of Delegates, leading 43 Maryland Legislators
Education: Naval Nuclear Propulsion School, 1980
Excelsior (Regents) College, State University of New York, B.S. (liberal studies), 1985
Marital status, children: Married, 3 Children and 2 grandchildren
Number of years you have been a city resident: I have lived in Lusby for 23 years
Previous elected/campaign experience: Member of House of Delegates since January 11, 1995
Committee/board memberships:

Minority Leader, 2007-present
Member, Environmental Matters Committee, 2007-present (agriculture, agriculture preservation & open space subcommittee, 2007-08; environment subcommittee, 2007-10; natural resources subcommittee, 2007-present; local government & bi-county agencies subcommittee, 2008-09; land use & ethics subcommittee, 2011-present )
Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, 2007-present
Legislative Policy Committee, 2007-present (management subcommittee, 2007-present)
Joint Legislative Work Group to Study State, County and Municipal Fiscal Relationships, 2009-2011
Member, Judiciary Committee, 1995-2004 (family & juvenile law subcommittee, 1995-2003 juvenile law subcommittee, 2003-04)
Special Committee on Higher Education Affordability and Accessibility, 2003-04
Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, 2003-04
Republican Minority Whip, 2003-06
Member, Appropriations Committee, 2004-06 (health & human resources subcommittee, 2005-06; oversight committee on pensions, 2005-06)
Joint Committee on the Selection of the State Treasurer, 2007, 2011
House Chair, Calvert County Delegation, 2004-06, 2011
Member, Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, 2001-present
Maryland Rural Caucus, 2002-present
Taxpayers Protection Caucus, 2003-present
Maryland Veterans Caucus, 2011-present
Member, National Conference of State Legislatures (legislative effectiveness & state government committee, 2005-07; legislative effectiveness committee, 2007-present)
Member, Election Redistricting Committee, Calvert County, 1992
Compensation Board, Calvert County, 1993
Member, Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, 1995-present
Task Force to Study the Economic Development of the Maryland Seafood and Aquaculture Industries, 2002-04
Task Force to Study Alternative Living Arrangements for Children in Out-of-Home Placement, 2003-04
Governor's Task Force on Medical Malpractice and Health Care Access, 2004
Task Force on Traffic Capacity Across the Chesapeake Bay, 2005-06
Commission to Study Southern Maryland Transportation Needs, 2006-08
Aquaculture Coordinating Council, 2006-present
Oyster Advisory Commission, 2007-present

Website: www.odonnellforcongress.com/
Email address: info@odonnellforcongress.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/#!/ODonnellForCongress
Twitter: @odonnellforcongress

Q: What are your top three priorities if elected?

1) Spending and the National Debt

a. Balance the Federal budget

-- Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to force Washington to live within its means.

b. Tax code and entitlement reform

-- Keep our promises by keeping Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare solvent, by reforming them and at the same time generate the revenue required by flattening and simplifying the tax code.

c. Ending Fraud, waste and abuse

-- Performance Audits that match funding to metrics, like business.

2) Jobs and the Economy

a. American Energy Policy

-- Energy Policy that lowers the cost of energy by creating it here.

b. Regulatory Reform

-- Cut regulations that strangle jobs, and enforce current laws that keep us safe, and prove new regulations are not redundant and will grow jobs.

c. Healthcare Reform

-- Repeal unconstitutional Obamacare, and pass health care reforms that will actually reduce costs and increase access.

3) American Exceptionalism

a. Pro-Legal immigration

-- Secure the border first.

b. Pro- Traditional marriage

-- Preserve the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

c. Education Reform

-- Allow parents to take their children and taxes to schools they choose

Q: Discuss your views on the role of the federal government in stimulating the economy. How would you seek to change this if elected?

The federal government has a role in stimulating the economy per the US Constitution in that it has delegated authority over interstate commerce. The federal government also has the responsibility, through control of our foreign policy, to ensure our economic interests are protected in our dealings with foreign nations. In my opinion the federal government should regulate only to the extent necessary to protect the public interest and take great care not to over-regulate. Over-regulation drives jobs overseas. Excessive taxation can also prevent job creation and drive jobs to other countries. We need to create an economic climate and business environment that encourages investment by the private sector in creating commerce and jobs right here at home. We need to get our federal budget under control and change the way businesses in this country are currently being treated and stifled by excessive regulation and taxes. These actions would have a measurable role in stimulating the economy of America.

Q: Assess the performance of the incumbent who now holds the seat you're seeking. Discuss a decision he made that you disagree with. (For sitting members, assess your performance over the most recent term. Is there a decision you regret after having time to reflect on its result?)

Our incumbent Congressman has not solved the significant problems facing America today. He has been in Congress 31 years. He contributes to a philosophy that runs our national debt to dangerous and unsustainable levels. He threatens our national security and our related facilities like NAS Patuxent River, NSWC Indian Head and NASA Goddard by running our national debt to historically high levels. He has done little to nothing in 31 years to secure our national borders. He has done very little to help make America energy independent and to utilize the vast resources of energy that exist right here in North America. Congressman Hoyer apparently supports the decision not to build the North American oil pipeline, at least not until after the election in November. He has also been silent on the controversial incursions on the free exercise of religion inherent in the issues surrounding mandated coverage of health benefits by religious institutions who find such coverage at odds with their religious teachings.

Q. The Pentagon plans to reduce projected spending by $487 billion in the next decade and close some military bases. Is this a threat to the military bases in Maryland’s 5th District? If so, what role should the congressman play in influencing those decisions?

Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last year that the national debt is the number one threat to national security. That national debt is indeed threatening our national security and our nation’s entire defense system unless we get it under control as we will not be able to afford our world class military and all the bases, facilities, forces, programs, and systems that support that military. I believe the current administration and Congress, by failing to reign in the rate of growth in spending and debt, have indeed placed our military bases in Maryland in some jeopardy. Unbelievably, Congressman Hoyer recently stated that he feels Congress does not even need to pass a federal budget. This mentality has contributed the threat to all of America’s priorities, including a strong national defense. The congressman should ensure America’s fiscal health and national debt are maintained at sustainable levels so we don’t further threaten our military facilities and weapons program development and acquisition.

Q: Do you believe No Child Left Behind should be reauthorized? If so, what needs to be changed? Assess the law's effectiveness.

Whether or not it is called by its current name or not, we need a system of accountability and measurement of effectiveness in our educational system. We also should reform No Child Left Behind, or any similar successor program, so that teachers are not forced to teach only to the test and that the mandated bureaucracy and paperwork is minimized for the teachers in the class room.

Q: National politics have become more divisive over the past several years. In what way can you work to bring more a more collaborative approach to federal government?

We need to stop the strident political gamesmanship and start demanding statesmanship out of our Congressman. Read the press releases put out regularly by Congressman Hoyer and he frequently slams the Republicans in Congress. It is tiring and this type of political vitriol in Congress must stop. Once a level of mutual desire to solve America’s problems becomes more important than gaining political advantage at all cost by both sides will we be on the right track. It is then that this country will make progress on getting our country back on the path of bipartisan problem solving. An example is that President Obama recently requested a bill to allow for line item veto authority and the bill was co-authored in a bipartisan fashion by Rep. Chris VanHollen (D-MD) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The bill passed the House on February 8, 2012 with bipartisan support, but Congressman Hoyer voted NO. I would have voted YES. This type of partisanship by Congressional leaders must stop. I will support ideas supported by the other party, and by President Obama, if they make sense for solving America’s intractable problems.

Q: Discuss your approach to federal budgeting. Roughly what percent of spending (and why) should be allocated to the following: defense, health and human services, transportation, education, Social Security?

My approach to federal budgeting would be more of a common sense approach. That means we cannot simply spend as we wish regardless of our nation’s revenue projections. This is how families meet their budgets and how businesses keep their employees on the payroll. We must balance our budget by matching spending to revenues like virtually all states must do. I would support a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This makes getting our economy rolling again a top priority so revenues begin to flow again. Tax reform and regulatory reform need to be accomplished to make job creation a reality. We also need a North American energy policy for America, so that we are not at the pricing whims of nations a half a world away who keep us hostage to the energy supplies they provide. This will allow us to reduce our national debt and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and future generations.

With regard to relative allocation to major areas of the budget, the problem is that growth in entitlement programs is crowding out all other areas of the budget. These entitlement programs are not only threatening to consume other budget priorities, but they themselves become insolvent in the near future due to their unchecked growth. Many people my age or younger, 50 or below for instance, feel that current programs like Social Security may not be able to provide for aging Americans by the time they retire. We must reform these entitlement programs in order to protect all of America’s budget priorities and save the very programs causing the problems. These problems have been known for decades and yet little has been done under current leaders to fix them.

Q: How can government ensure optimal health care coverage for all Americans?

Government can ensure the most access to optimal health care coverage by doing two things. One is repealing the recently passed takeover of healthcare by the government. This will allow our healthcare quality to remain world class and not have government bureaucracies controlling our healthcare decisions. This is the best path to making sure our healthcare delivery system is sustainable long into America’s future. Secondly, we must enact common sense healthcare reforms by changing those things which limit access and drive costs ever upward. These reforms should include malpractice tort reform, ensuring no bar for pre-existing conditions, making sure healthcare purchases are available across state lines, and improving portability of coverage.

Q. How would you address the foreclosure crisis?

Repeal Dodd/Frank and no longer fund Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae with taxpayer money. Encourage our schools to teach budgeting and economics and individual financial responsibility. The foreclosure crisis is at least partially a result of the federal government pressuring banks to give loans to individuals who did not have the capability to cover the cost of the loan. This put the borrower, the lender, and the taxpayer in jeopardy. Additionally, responsibility lies with the informed consent of the individuals who signed the loan and with the integrity, ethics and business practices of lending institutions that authorized the loan.