Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Bartlett confident in re-election

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For 16 years, U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett has never wavered from his message — less government and fewer taxes.

Bartlett (R-Dist. 6) of Buckeystown is confident that his message will help him to win a ninth term in Congress.

‘‘My platform hasn’t changed, taxes are too big and government is too big,” he said. ‘‘Taxes are too much, spending is too much. This is not what our Founding Fathers wanted.”

In 2006, anger about high gas prices and the war in Iraq sent voters to the polls. Republican leaders in Congress were voted out, and a slew of Democrats were ushered in.

Bartlett remained unscathed and won re-election to the 6th District.

The 6th District includes all of Frederick, Allegany, Carroll, Garrett and Washington counties and parts of Harford, Montgomery and Baltimore counties.

‘‘I had the message,” said Bartlett, referring to his platform of less government and fewer taxes.

Bartlett is aware of media polls that show dissatisfaction with President George W. Bush (R) and the Democrat-controlled Congress.

As he travels the 6th District, Bartlett said voters tell him they are concerned with the direction the country is headed. And this time it’s the economy.

‘‘Several months ago it was the war and immigration, and now it’s the economy,” he said. ‘‘It’s the price of energy, the price of food and the housing market. People owe more on their homes than what the homes are worth.”

But Bartlett believes a revitalization of the Republican party will help him and other party leaders win in the Feb. 12 primary election. He also believes that the dissatisfaction with the Democrat-controlled Congress will benefit Republicans.

‘‘Republicans look good,” he said. ‘‘Republicans have an aggressive effort going to revive ourselves.”

Robert J. Kresslein, chairman of the Frederick County Democratic Central Committee, believes Bush’s disapproval ratings and the much-talked-about presidential race between Democratic Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will only help the Democratic candidates running in the 6th District.

‘‘I think there is an enthusiasm out there for change,” Kresslein said. ‘‘... I think there comes a time when [Bartlett] should go. This may well be that time.”

Kresslein also points to comments he said Bartlett made when he first ran for Congress, which have dogged Bartlett since he was first elected in 1992. ‘‘He said he would leave when the budget is balanced, and it was balanced under Clinton,” Kresslein said.

Bartlett insists he never said that.

‘‘That isn’t true,” he said. ‘‘I pledged that we would stay two terms if the budget deficit was not cut in half. I kept my promise.”

At 81, Bartlett will be the second-oldest Congressman in the House if he is re-elected, but he said age is not a detriment to the job. ‘‘I’ve never been in better health,” he said.

Roscoe G. Bartlett

Office running for: Congress in the 6th District

Political party: Republican

Age: 81

Residence: Buckeystown

Family: Married; 10 children, 16 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren.

Professional experience: First elected to Congress in 1992

A member of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee; member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Armed Services Committee; senior member of the Science Committee serving on two of its subcommittees: Energy and the Environment and Research and Science Education; member of Small Business Committee.

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