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Meinelschmidt vying for Donoghue's seat

October 22, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- Cort Meinelschmidt, a newcomer to politics, is taking aim at John P. Donoghue, Hagerstown's state delegate since 1991.

Meinelschmidt on Thursday announced his intention to run as a Republican for the Subdistrict 2C seat in the 2010 election.

Donoghue is the only Democrat representing Washington County in Annapolis. He said in a phone interview he'll seek a sixth four-year term.

His subdistrict roughly matches the city's boundaries.

During a campaign event at Potomac Bead Co. in downtown Hagerstown, Meinelschmidt mentioned taxation and health care as important issues.

"I'm not going to let Annapolis suffocate you or your employer with new or higher taxes," he said.

Meinelschmidt said a high number of insurance mandates in Maryland shows that health care reform is needed.

"I believe our health insurance needs to be driven by a true market and not just competition inside the state," he said.

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Meinelschmidt, 30, joined the Navy after graduating from Williamsport High School in 1997. He was a rescue swimmer for seven years.

He has been a financial adviser with Edward Jones since 2004.

Meinelschmidt hasn't filed to run yet, but has formed a fundraising committee.

During an interview, Meinelschmidt said he's making his first run for office for several reasons. One is frustration over Maryland's business climate.

He said Donoghue has not been "small-business friendly."

"He's voted for every tax increase" in recent years, Meinelschmidt said. "Going into a recession, you can't raise taxes on people."

Also, "Donoghue doesn't show up at any of the events that they hold in this community," Meinelschmidt said. He mentioned Monday's senior citizen legislative forum, which he attended, but Donoghue missed.

During a phone interview, Donoghue said his assistant took notes at the forum. He said he has a good record in Annapolis.

"Meetings are meetings, but actions are totally different," he said.

Donoghue, 52, said he and Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, protect what matters to Washington County, such as a new state police barrack, a regional library and the local University System of Maryland center.

He said recent tax increases averted more damaging cuts.

"Had we not put in place a penny (increase) on the sales tax, the cuts throughout the state would have been greater," he said.

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