Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Our choices for District 6

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Maryland’s District 6 of the U.S. House of Representatives is largely Republican, and spans eight counties that mostly border Pennsylvania.

Republican voters have to choose among incumbent Roscoe G. Bartlett of Buckeystown, Tom Croft of Middletown, John Kimble of Damascus, Joseph Krysztoforski of Phoenix, and Frank Nethken of Cumberland.

Democrats have to choose among Robin L. Deibert of Fairplay, Jennifer P. Dougherty of Frederick, Andrew Duck of Brunswick, Rick Lank of Middletown, and Larry John Smith of Cumberland.

Gary William Hoover Sr. of Clear Spring is running as an independent, so he will not face the voters until fall.

Incumbents usually have the upper hand in an election, and Congressman Bartlett has held the seat since 1993. Some believe him to be a shoo in for a ninth term while others maintain his support is eroding, pointing in part the number of challengers he is facing this primary.

One of the biggest issues we have with Congressman Bartlett is his failure to take what we consider to be true leadership role in the arena of energy.

He’s well informed on the issue of ‘‘peak oil,” essentially the point in which we will reach the peak in the amount of oil we can easily tap into. He knows the question is not if the oil era will end but when.

He knows we must find alternatives, and says that we as a nation must undergo a monumental effort to find those alternatives, similar to the Manhattan Project in the 1940s that ushered in the nuclear era.

And he says we must have leadership at the national level to do it.

We could not agree more, and wonder why he has not truly taken up this cause and served as that national leader. After all, Congressman Bartlett is on a national stage as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

His answer, though, is that Congress did not know about the Manhattan Project, implying that Congress need not take the lead to solve this problem.

We disagree. Congressman Bartlett has had his chance to truly lead in this area, and he has chosen not to. It’s as though he sees water leaking through the dam, and is pleading with everyone for someone to fix it, yet takes no real action to plug the leak.

We believe he would argue with us on this point. He defines his leadership role as one of education, and he certainly does his part to educate the public. We agree that education is an important part of the equation.

But he does not believe that his role, or the role of Congress, is to actually move this initiative forward, we suspect out of concern that it would become a government-run initiative, which he typically opposes.

We disagree, and think he could do far more as a congressman to move this initiative forward. It’s time to give someone else a chance. We thank him for his service to this district and the country. We wish him and his family well.

We believe the only challenger with a chance of defeating Congressman Bartlett in the primary is Joseph Krysztoforski, and our support goes to him.

One of Krysztoforski’s top three issues he would like to address if elected is energy independence (the other two are national security and immigration, and fiscal responsibility).

He says we need to have a partnership between the government and private industry to make America energy self-sufficient. America put a man on the moon in eight years, so we should be able to become an energy independent nation — or at least well on our way to becoming one — in the same period of time.

Mr. Krysztoforski does not see one source as the answer, but rather a combination of renewable energy sources (bio, solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal) that have little or no damaging impact on the environment.

He is calling for legislation to fully fund the research, development and deployment of alternative and renewable energy sources, and believes that District 6 can lead way.

We believe energy independence is crucial to the future of America, and would have a trickle-down effect on many other issues, none the least of which is national security.

He says he will help lead this project, and we believe he should have more time to campaign to explain his position and precisely what he will do to lead it.

We encourage you to learn more about Joseph Krysztoforski by visiting www.jtkforcongress.com to determine if you believe he would be the right representative for you.

Democrats would do well to choose Andrew Duck of Brunswick, whom we endorsed in 2006.

Mr. Duck did well two years ago for a Democrat in a largely Republican district. Without question, his military experience resonates with voters in the expansive District 6.

Mr. Duck served in the Army for 20 years, and was in Iraq in 2003. He saw first hand the results of the decisions being made, and the negative results that came from them.

Since the last election, he says the military has improved its strategy by working at the local level and up in Iraq, but we have not yet made the right political moves.

The problem, though, Mr. Duck says, is that the vast majority of the solution in Iraq is political. We have to work with the Iraqi people so they can agree on how they should share oil revenue and how they will run their government.

He believes America can be free of foreign oil in 10 years by implementing a policy package that includes conservation, increasing the fuel mileage targets for vehicles, research and infrastructure support for biofuels, clean coal gassification, increased support for wind power, and increased use of natural gas.

In other issues, Mr. Duck sees the need to extend Metro and the HOV lane on I-270 all the way to Frederick, and expand MARC. He would also like to see more federal jobs transferred from Washington, D.C. to towns in District 6, if only to increase homeland security.

We encourage readers to visit his Web site, www.duckforcongress.org, to learn more.

If both Andrew Duck and Joseph Krysztoforski win their respective races, we anticipate a lively campaign for the General Election in November.

Don’t forget to vote Feb. 12.