House of Representatives District 8 Republican Primary Candidates | Bethesda Magazine

Biographical information and responses to candidate questions were provided by candidates or campaigns, unless otherwise noted. Responses have been edited for clarity. 

Dan Cox | Jeffrey Jones | Liz Matory | Aryeh Shudofsky | Shelly Skolnick




Age: 41

Town or city of residence: Cascade

Education: B.S. in Government from University of Maryland, University College; J.D. from Regent University School of Law

Professional background: Attorney

Service in public office: Town Council president, town of Secretary, Maryland, 2007-2009

Candidate questions

Why should voters choose you?

Because I will work and fight to keep our people and families safe, and will always listen to the voters’ concerns and seek ways to advance their interests through zealous and caring advocacy.  I have worked hard for over 20 years in public interest and education advocacy, and in my legal practice, earning a 5.0 AV rating with from the people I've served as an attorney. This campaign is about the needs of District 8, and should not go to the highest bidder or biggest spender.

This is an important moment and with your help, together we can achieve a reduction in traffic congestion in our district by immediately funding—as a matter of national security—our light-rail and Purple Line, bus rapid transit and by expanding necessary lanes and roads including on I-495 and I-270.

We can stop the heroin and cocaine epidemics cold in their tracks through comprehensive border security and public-private partnerships funded to advance the most powerful weapon against poverty, drugs and crime—our faith-based organizations. Together we can envision a district that protects all our residents from international and domestic security threats with vigorous, prompt and diligent oversight and coordination, and increased security funding.  Together we can reduce and eliminate waste and fraud to balance our national budget, improve Metro governance and ensure our children are not left with a debt that will destroy us.

If elected, what are your top three priorities and why?

1. Keep us safe from international and domestic terrorism and preserve our life in freedom.

2. Increase jobs and opportunity for economic upward mobility by creating strategies and programs to reduce the rising costs of living and grow wages by eliminating payroll taxes and enacting a flat tax for incomes above $36,000, providing student loan repayment reduction plans and service-for-forgiveness opportunities for use of skills in certain low-income regions; and reducing and eliminating real estate taxes burdening homeowners through federal-state block-grant programs [and] through savings from waste reduction and not tax increases.

3. Increase education opportunities for families with tax credits and vouchers, while not reducing funding for public schools through additional set-asides to cover voucher programs, and reduce deficit spending and begin paying down our national debt through systemic waste reduction of bloated federal agencies. 




Age: 64

Town or city of residence: Gaithersburg

Education: B.A. in Sociology from Western Maryland College; Master of Divinity from Emory University

Professional background: Pastor, currently senior pastor at North Bethesda United Methodist Church

Candidate questions

Why should voters choose you?

I want to see Congress work "of the people, by the people and for the people." I've been a public servant for 40 years helping people to improve their lives. I am not a politician, nor a lawyer, nor a celebrity, nor a millionaire, but an outsider who really cares that our government should work. My experience includes [serving with a] volunteer fire company, Lions Club and Community Resource Board of Directors, and [serving as] a PTA president, soccer coach, president of the credit union and assistant scout master. I've gone to school and lived in this district. I know the people through my congregations in Carroll County, Silver Spring, College Park, Burtonsville and now North Bethesda. I'm a good listener [and] bridge builder and able to see the big picture.

If elected, what are your top three priorities and why?

My top three priorities include ways to help the members of the district in the area of transportation, economic opportunity and educational resources to make life better.





Previous Bethesda Beat coverage: First District 8 Congressional Debate Features Some Sniping

Age: 36

Town or city of residence: Silver Spring

Education: B.A. from Columbia University; J.D. from Howard University School of Law; M.B.A. from University of Maryland

Professional background: Co-founder of CNXIS Consulting; former nonprofit fundraiser

Candidate questions

Why should voters choose you?

I believe we have to do something big and bold to save our republic. Returning back to the founding principles of the Republican Party can place our country back on track.

Republicans get a bad rap, and indeed partisan gerrymandering has led to the hyper-polarization of Congress. But, in order to address this immediately, I believe we need to diversify the conservative voice that speaks to protecting our civil liberties and freedoms and strengthen American enterprise for all Americans to get our country back on track.

As a change management consultant, I know that not only is vision important while managing change, but having the right team in place to navigate that change is also important. Ever since I graduated from college, our economy and government has been in a constant state of flux. Our next congresswoman must have the mental agility to grasp the various challenges that continue to face us. I believe that my comprehensive educational and professional experience provide me with the qualifications we need in our next representative. We also need strong new voices in Congress. With only seven other women under 40 in Congress, I would offer more leadership that can serve into the future.

This is our opportunity to address the unjust gerrymandering in District 8. Our next congresswoman must represent our new district fully. I am the only candidate in any party who has already shown dedication to our new district by leaving the party that performed the wrong, and continues to fight for fair representation.

If elected, what are your top three priorities and why?

Economic security is the most important issue that faces our community.

I believe that economic insecurity is the root of most social ills: generational poverty, alcohol/drug addiction, and community violence. I even believe that terrorism and radicalism feed off of economic degradation.

We have seen our country divest in our economy, particularly the middle rungs of the ladder. Our communities need American wage jobs again. We need to make sure that industry and small business can thrive. We cannot continue to represent progress without prosperity. That is why I went to business school after the economic downturn. I saw that we were not paying enough attention to our economy.

I believe we need to put an end to crony capitalism as well. Other candidates talk about Citizens United, but that is just the cherry on top for the pay-to-play system that has wreaked havoc on our government and economy. Overregulation and burdensome taxes stifle competition and innovation, placing a burden on our free enterprise. Crony capitalism cannot survive with limited government.

We also need to watch our position in the world. We have great pride in our military, but voters want to make sure that our service members have what they need to succeed and that any time we use our military might, we do so with confidence. We are a military family (brother, father, grandfather, aunt and uncles all served). Veterans affairs and military undertakings are major priorities for us. 





Age: 35

Town or city of residence: Silver Spring

Education: B.S. in Financial Business Administration from Yeshiva University

Professional background: Equity research, private equity, venture capital and policy analyst

Candidate questions

Why should voters choose you?

As the father of three young children, I want to make Maryland and America a better place for all of us to raise our families. Currently, Washington is mired in political dysfunction. Politicians on both sides of the aisle spend their time trying to score ideological points. No one gets anything done on issues that affect people in their day-to-day lives like new and better jobs, an improved education system, access to affordable health care, keeping our families and communities safe, and holding government accountable. I am running for office to focus on getting these important things done for Maryland families.

My experience in the private sector as a financial analyst and economic policy adviser provides me with a deep understanding of the intersection between the private sector and public policy. I am committed to making government work for our families. I will focus on the issues that matter and work with politicians on both sides of the aisle instead of engaging in pointless political battles.

If elected, what are your top three priorities and why?

The first is helping millions of Americans find good, well-paying jobs. Too many workers are still searching for jobs and are still struggling to make ends meet to support their families.

We can change course by enacting policies that encourage job creation instead of stifling it. We need to incentivize entrepreneurship by lowering regulatory barriers that keep small businesses from starting and growing. We should offer tax credits to businesses that create jobs locally and tax incentives to companies to invest in locally sourced innovation.

Our national defense is a critical priority as well. We need to create an entry and exit system that allows federal agencies to track who is entering our country and who is leaving it. We should also expand our intelligence capabilities and partnerships to hinder jihadist travel from training grounds back to their home countries. And we need to do a better job of supporting our military and law enforcement members in the U.S. This means giving our police the equipment and the communal support they need to do their jobs to keep our families safe every day.

We also need to work to put more money back in our citizens’ pockets. We have to simplify the tax code so doing your taxes isn’t so complicated; remove poverty traps that work against hardworking Americans striving to improve their lives; work tax credit payments into paychecks for low-income Americans; and incentivize business development and investment through tax credits and tax incentives.



Age: 73 (according to media reports)

Professional background: Attorney (according to media reports)

Note: Candidate did not submit info for voters’ guide.


2016 Primary Voters' Guide

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