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Bartlett, DeArmon trade shots

October 26, 2000

Bartlett, DeArmon trade shots



By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer


U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's challenger for the 6th District House seat accused him Wednesday morning of failing to support projects and programs important to Washington County.

But Bartlett, R-Md., said he voted "no" only because the projects were included in large spending bills filled with "pork."

"I voted responsibly," he said.

Bartlett and Democrat Donald DeArmon squared off at a 30-minute debate sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce at the Four Points Sheraton Inn.

DeArmon questioned Bartlett's effectiveness during his eight years in Congress.

"He's just not getting the job done in Washington County. He's working against the projects that are important to this county," DeArmon said.

DeArmon said Bartlett, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has been unable to complete the transfer of the former Army base at Fort Ritchie to the county for redevelopment.

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Bartlett said it's the Environmental Protection Agency, controlled by the Democratic administration, that has been blocking the transfer.

Moderator Bob Borngesser of NBC 25 asked how the candidates planned to get money to extend the runway at Hagerstown Regional Airport and to widen Interstate 81.

Bartlett said he will continue to work closely with the local airport commission.

He said he voted against a transportation funding bill because it contained billions of cuts for veterans' health care and the military.

DeArmon said such large projects take a coordinated team of local, state and federal legislators.

When asked about health care, DeArmon said he favors a strong patients' bill of rights and a Medicare prescription drug program for senior citizens.

He said Bartlett would turn over responsibility for a prescription drug program to the same private HMOs that dropped coverage of Washington County residents.

Bartlett said Congress has been trying to address the complicated problem, but its efforts have been hindered by the lobbying of trial lawyers and drug companies.

On education, Bartlett said decisions are best made at the local level.

"I don't think one size fits all works. Give the money back without strings attached. Liberals believe you're too dumb to spend your money wisely," he said.

DeArmon said he also wants to keep local control, but that the federal government can play a role. He said he wants to hire more teachers to reduce class sizes and use federal bonding authority to help school districts pay for building projects.

The debate will be rebroadcast on Antietam Cable Channel 65 at 7 p.m. Oct. 30, Oct. 31 and Nov. 6. The general election is Nov. 7.

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