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Pierpont makes campaign stop in Hagerstown

August 02, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

While he would like to become Maryland's next governor, Republican Ross Pierpont said he has no objection to primary election challenger U.S. Rep. Robert Ehrlich, also a Republican, getting that job instead.

During a stop in Hagerstown Thursday, Pierpont and Sidney Burns, his lieutenant governor candidate, said they support Ehrlich's campaign and share some of his ideas.

"We are on the same wavelength on a lot of things," Pierpont said.

Pierpont said, for example, he agrees with Ehrlich that there should be state-run slot machines at Maryland race tracks, with the funds going to public schools for kindergarten through 12th grades.

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Pierpont, 84, said he has always believed there should be two candidates for office that people can trust and that is the case with him and Ehrlich. If either one becomes governor, the people will be better served than they are now under Gov. Parris Glendening, Pierpont said.

The current race marks Pierpont's 16th run for local, state and federal offices in Maryland over the past 36 years, 15 of which he lost. By running so many times, he has a higher name recognition among voters than Ehrlich, he said.

Pierpont, a retired surgeon from Baltimore County, decided he had to run again because he would never forgive himself if he stayed out of the race and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a Democrat, won.

"It would be terrible," Pierpont said. He said he believed Townsend is "inefficient" and "incapable."

The centerpiece of Pierpont's campaign is his solution to the nation's health-care problem. Modeled after Germany's national health-care system, Pierpont said his plan would reduce paperwork, cut administrative costs and provide better care.

The system is an alternative to existing federal health-care systems like Medicare and Medicaid, which Pierpont said have become overburdened with micromanagement and overhead.

His proposal would save the federal government about $500 billion a year, Pierpont said.

As governor, Pierpont would run a pilot program for the state of Maryland, he said.

Pierpont said that he and Burns, a retired accountant, have more practical business experience than their challengers.

Information about the campaign is at www.pierpontburns2002.com.

The primary election is Sept. 10, and the general election is Nov. 5.

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