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Nethken 'driven by Lord' to run

June 19, 2007|by JOSHUA BOWMAN

HAGERSTOWN - Former Cumberland (Md.) Mayor Frank Nethken said he was "driven by the Lord" to run for Congress this fall.

"God told me I'm going to be the next congressman," Nethken said Monday on the steps of Hagerstown City Hall, where he held a press conference to say he is running as a Republican for Congress in Maryland's 6th District.

In a 15-minute speech, Nethken, who served as Cumberland's mayor from 1978 to 1982, talked about a variety of issues from the state of Cumberland's public square to the war in Iraq. He said he is committed to public service and puts people ahead of politics.

"I'm going to be out in every town square from now until the elections, listening to the people," said Nethken, whose campaign motto is "It's your government, it's your choice."

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Nethken said immigration is the "nation's biggest problem," one that could be eased by reinstituting the draft and bringing Reservists home from Iraq to protect the border between the United States and Mexico.

Nethken, who formally announced his candidacy May 23, said he is a fiscal conservative who admires Ronald Reagan and Jesse Helms, a former senator from North Carolina. Nethken said his favorite Democrat - though he recently left the party - is Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

"I love a good Jew," Nethken said.

Nethken, who said he retired from CSX and worked as a Realtor for 30 years, lamented the state of downtown Cumberland, which he called "a pedestrian mall that's dead five nights a week." He said Allegany County's biggest problem is a scarcity of high-paying jobs.

"We must have more than prisons and railroads," Nethken said.

Nethken said he is raising money "by the grace of God" and through a radio station he established. When asked about his chances against incumbent Roscoe Bartlett, Nethken was optimistic.

"I like being the underdog. My biggest asset is that I can communicate with people," Nethken said.

As of Monday, Nethken had not filed with the Maryland Board of Elections to run as a congressional candidate.

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