Local Tea Party holds 6th District candidates forum

March 22, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • 6th District Congressional candidate Ron Little, gets a laugh from other candidates during a Hagerstown Tea Party forum at Next Dimensions Thursday evening. At the forum was Kathy Afzali, left, Roscoe Bartlett, Robert Coblentz, Robin Ficker, Peter James, Joe Krysztoforski and Brandon Rippeon.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

FUNKSTOWN — Candidates for the 6th Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett debated presidential executive orders, illegal immigration, affirmative action and welfare during a forum hosted by the Hagerstown Tea Party Thursday night.

Bartlett, R-Md., attended the forum at Next Dimensions, as did one Democratic candidate, Ron Little.

All other seven Republican candidates attended the event, where the estimated 100 guests were invited to write questions on cards for the candidates to answer.

Republican Brandon Orman Rippeon railed against the dependence on welfare programs in Montgomery County, having noted on his website that it is crucial to overhaul the nation’s entitlement programs.

Also expressing concern about entitlement programs, Republican Joseph T. Krysztoforski said he once lived in New York where living on welfare was a “career” for some people.

Krysztoforski said people need to realize they might have to work at places like McDonald’s while they learn other job skills.


Republican Peter James said there is no right in the United States to receive entitlement programs, although he stressed that he has compassion for people.

Republican Robin Ficker said unemployment compensation that lasts for two years is too long, as he emphasized the need to expand jobs to get the county back on track.

Ficker pointed to the hundreds of thousands ofApple Inc., jobs in countries like China and Japan. He said the corporate giant somehow needs to be convinced to allow people in Western Maryland to produce Apple products like iPads and iPods.

Republican Robert Coblentz talked about large number of people signing up for public benefits under the Obama administration and proclaims on his website that liberalism “is the disease” causing exploding deficits.

Coblentz said it is time to “stop stimulus and stop taking money out of the private sector.”

Expressing frustration with situations such as kids who won’t mow lawns anymore, RepublicanDavid R. Brinkleyalso criticized federal entitlement programs that “coddle” people.

Bartlett, who talked about his objection to Wall Street bailouts, also called on the need to restrain public entitlement programs. If action is not taken, “America is doomed,” he said.

Republican Kathy Afzali brought attention to those who abuse unemployment benefits.

But Little said he sympathized with people who can’t find jobs and need to support families. He said the government can’t “pull the rug out from people.”

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