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Bartlett has no plans to slow down as a politician

October 06, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

When he finished college, Roscoe Bartlett wanted to enter the ministry.

Bartlett was "21 and looked 17," he recalled.

Instead, he followed some advice and went to graduate school, where his life moved in other directions: science, farming, Congress.

More than 60 years later, Bartlett is seeking a ninth two-year term as Western Maryland's member of the House of Representatives.

When he first ran for Congress, Bartlett opposed term limits, then changed his mind and favored them.

Either way, Bartlett, 82, has no plans to slow down politically. He says he's in excellent health.

"I have 10 kids and 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren," he said. "I'm concerned the country won't be as good for them as it was for me."

He notes that he was named to Slate magazine's "80 over 80" list of powerful octogenarians. He was cited for bucking his party to vote against letting "enemy combatants" be held without trial.

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Bartlett serves on three House committees:

o Armed Services: He is the ranking member on the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee and also serves on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

o Science and Technology: He is on the subcommittees on Energy and Environment, and Research and Science Education.

o Small Business: He is on the subcommittees on Contracting and Technology, and Rural and Urban Entrepreneurship.

Bartlett speaks often about "peak oil" - a theory that the country's production peaked in 1970 and is declining - and urges the pursuit of alternative forms of energy.

His other main issues include ethical embryonic stem-cell research and preparing the country for an electromagnetic pulse attack.

He describes himself at his Web site as "a conservative who wants to help restore the limited federal government envisioned and established in the Constitution by our nation's founders."

Bartlett was born in Kentucky. When he was 1 year old, his family moved to western Pennsylvania, where his father was a tenant farmer during the Great Depression.

"Desperately poor," his Web site says, "his mother used feed sacks to make clothes and bed sheets for the family. Despite the material hardship, his father refused to accept assistance from the government."

At age 17, Bartlett went to Washington Missionary College - now called Columbia Union College - in Takoma Park, Md. He majored in theology and biology, and minored in chemistry.

Afterward, rather than joining the ministry, he went to the University of Maryland at College Park, where he got a master's degree in human physiology.

He then had a full-time teaching position while earning a doctorate, also in human physiology.

His Web site says he did research at the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Navy's School of Aviation Medicine, where he developed patents for oxygen-supply systems.

Bartlett formed a research and development company that later built more than 100 homes in Frederick County, Md., many of them solar-powered, his Web site says.

He and his wife, Ellen, have been married for 42 years and live near Frederick.

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