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Carson plans 6th District bid

December 30, 1999|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Walter E. Carson thinks he would do a good job representing the 6th Congressional District. Before he serves though, he needs to get a home in the district.

Carson, 56, who now lives in Silver Spring, Md., said he is building a house on land he owns in Howard County and hopes voters will give him a fair shot.

Silver Spring is in Montgomery County, which is not in the 6th District.

"I hope that they would not hold that against me. I have chosen that community. I would hope they accept me," he said.

Carson, who is general counsel for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, graduated from Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Md., and earned a law degree from Catholic University.

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He worked as an assistant law director for the city of Cleveland and assistant attorney general in Ohio before returning to Maryland. He also has worked in private practice.

In college and law school, Carson worked for Rep. John Flynt, D-Ga., who later was defeated by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Carson said he "fell in love with Capitol Hill" during those years and would like to reform government. He said he thinks he could do a good job for the district, which stretches from Garrett County in far Western Maryland to Howard and Carroll counties.

"I've always thought about being involved in public service and decided now was a good time to do so," he said.

Carson called for gradual Social Security changes that would leave the system intact for current retirees and allow younger workers more flexibility in investing payroll taxes like a 401(k) account.

He also called for reform of the campaign finance system, which he said "has a corrosive effect on the current political life." He said he did not believe incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett is as concerned about the issue.

"The current leadership is a mean-spirited form of conservatism," he said.

Bartlett said he agrees there is too much money in politics.

"I'm probably out of step with members of my own party," he said.

But Bartlett said legislation offered by Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., and Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., violates the First Amendment and would prevent independent groups from producing scorecards of congressional voting records.

Instead, Bartlett said he favors mandating that candidates raise at least 75 percent of their campaign funds from their home districts.

Carson is married and has two adult children. He will face Don DeArmon, Anthony J. McGuffin and John Ewald in the Democratic primary on March 7.

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