Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Republican McKinnis enters special election

Candidate seeks to improve constituent services

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Republican John McKinnis wanted to run for office to make the county better for his family.

McKinnis, who ran for Congress in Maryland’s 4th District and lost to incumbent Democrat Al Wynn in 2004, said he joined the County Council special election because he wants to improve constituent services.

‘‘I saw there’s a lack of communications between politicians to the constituents,” said McKinnis, a Silver Spring resident. ‘‘There’s a lack of accountability that’s caused a disconnect between the elected officials and their constituents.”

McKinnis, who also ran unsuccessfully for the House of Delegates in 2006, said he knows how tough it can be running as a Republican in a county dominated by Democrats, but he said the seat previously held by the late Marilyn J. Praisner is one that could go to a Republican like himself.

‘‘If there’s a seat that can be won by Republicans, it’s this one,” McKinnis said. ‘‘It’s about demonstrating our core values — fiscal responsibility, family values.”

McKinnis, 33, owns Light Integrations, an IT services company. He is father of four children.

‘‘Right now we can look no further than our current situation in Montgomery County and the fiscal crisis — train wreck — whatever you want to call it,” he said.

The county should call the union leaders together and ask them to work with the county and modify their contracts in order to preserve jobs, he said.

‘‘There’s some things we can do to preserve the jobs on the chopping block,” McKinnis said. ‘‘Look at the contracts and have them come back to the table.”

McKinnis said taxes should not be raised to pay for employee salaries, but instead employees should accept lower pay to preserve their jobs.

‘‘Our taxes are going up and our services are going down,” McKinnis said.