Businessman competes for Mikulski's seat

March 08, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Businessman competes for Mikulski's seat

Portraying U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski as a tax-and-spend career politician beholden to special interests, Carroll County businessman Kenneth L. Wayman launched a bid last week to unseat her.

Republican Wayman, 51, who runs a company that sells risk management software, said he will focus on taxes, national defense, education and public safety.

"There's just not the same opportunity around," he said. "I want to get back to a country where personal responsibility is important and where opportunity is there."


Wayman, a Vietnam War veteran, is making his first run for public office.

In challenging Mikulski, he faces a well-financed, popular two-term incumbent who trounced her previous two opponents. With $1.2 million in the bank as of Jan. 1, Mikulski has the 27th largest campaign war chest in Congress, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.

Even Wayman acknowledged that big-name Republicans have opted against challenging the incumbent Democrat.

"It is extremely daunting. You don't notice a lot of professional politicians in this race, do you?" he said.

But as president and founder of the 11-year-old Systems Consulting Services, Wayman said he is used to pulling off things others find impossible.

Wayman offers voters a clear contrast to Mikulski. His views on most major issues are markedly more conservative.

Some of his goals include:

* Reforming the Internal Revenue Service. Wayman said he favors a flat tax.

* Improving education. Wayman said he favors helping parents send their children to the school of their choice and breaking the public school "monopoly."

* Strengthening the national defense. He said most of the budget cuts the last five years have come from defense and pointed to the crisis in Iraq as a consequence.

"I just don't think we're prepared at all to deal with that from a military standpoint," he said.

* Improving public safety. Wayman said he favors increasing the penalties for drug dealers and people who commit crimes with guns.

Wayman said he also favors term limits and would not shy away from "sacred cows," such as the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wayman, who is married and has a 41/2-year-old son, lives in Carroll County.

Before he gets a chance to take on Mikulski, Wayman will have to win the Republican primary on Sept. 15.

So far, two other Republicans have declared candidacies - Montgomery County lawyer Robin Ficker and Thomas Scott.

In addition, Roscoe Mitchell has filed to run as an independent.

The filing deadline is July 6.

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