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Many issues driving Smith's run for Congress

November 30, 1999|By Andrew Schotz

WASHINGTON COUNTY

There's no single reason Larry Smith is running for Congress.

There are many.

He said his campaign is about health care for millions of Americans who don't have it, thousands of jobs being sent overseas, students who take on heavy debt to get through college ? and much more.

"Washington right now does not work for middle-class Americans," he said.

Smith, 42, lives in Cumberland, Md., and has worked in education for almost 20 years.

He is an assistant principal at Hancock Middle-Senior High School and has worked at other Washington County schools.

The Washington County Board of Education lets employees run for public office, as long as their political activities don't interfere with their work or other board policies.

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Smith, a first-time candidate, is one of three Democrats competing for the Congress seat representing Maryland's 6th District. He is planning to have a campaign Web site at www.larrysmith2008.org.

On the Republican side, incumbent Roscoe Bartlett has three challengers. Bartlett is seeking a ninth two-year term.

The primary is in February 2008.

Smith, who grew up in a coal-mining family, said he learned from his father, "not just to be part of our community, but to shape it."

A top priority as a Congressman, he said, would be a National Strategic Defense Education Act.

In recognition of education's tie to many facets of life, including national security, the bill would require that teachers have sufficient time to plan and use helpful data when creating a curriculum.

Smith also would propose a three-way funding split of education ? federal, state and local ? from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.

Currently, the federal government contributes about 7.5 percent and the other two jurisdictions cover the rest, he said.

For higher education, Smith proposed having students get a tax credit proportional to what they repay on their college loans.

Smith said the government also could help the middle class with a fairer tax structure and by changing its trade practices. He called for the U.S. to force companies that move operations overseas to abide by domestic labor laws and protections.

The country could reduce its oil dependency by creating incentives for new energy technologies and by eliminating large tax breaks for oil companies that don't invest in refineries, he said.

Smith said the U.S. needs to keep troops in Iraq until the country is stable.

He accused President Bush of failing to present a clear objective in Iraq. He said the U.S. should refocus on diplomacy and trying to restore its world image.

"Right now, we do not have a foreign policy," he said.

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