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Congressional District 8

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REPUBLICAN

Bridgette L. Cooper

• Where you live: Silver Spring

• Date of birth: Jan. 24, 1968

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Opera singer, TV/podcast producer and host of Operaluscious “Where Opera Meets Lifestyle”; owner of 728 Productions; music educator and advocate.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): First run for political office

• Campaign information:

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I am running for this office because it is my way of serving my country. It is up to all of us to keep our country moving forward. My personal, professional and educational experiences have prepared for this monumental task of being a public servant for District 8. As a woman of color, a small business owner, a parent, a performing artist, an educator, and more, it is essential to have a voice that will work towards a solution for all of us.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

One of the most critical aspects of this race is educating our voters about the election process, and the importance of taking a leadership role on issues that impact their community. People today tend to get their education about current events from 60-second sound bites used to sway the opinion of potential voters. The first step is to take a look at our local, state and federal representatives and learn more about the legislation they are voting for or against that has a direct impact on our community.

3 – What is one major issue the current Congress has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

“Dismantling Obamacare” which fell short in 2017. I would have removed the “fear factor” for our constituents by encouraging a bipartisan solution that addressed the specific holes in Obamacare. I do not like the idea of “reinventing the wheel.” If something is working, then keep it. If something is not working, toss it and replace it with something better. It is up to our leaders in Congress to know and be able to effectively articulate to their constituents where and why something is failing and how they plan to resolve the issue.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

My combined personal, academic, and professional experience have prepared me for this monumental task of being a public servant and efficiently representing District 8. I committed to eradicating the ongoing achievement gap in District 8 for once and for all, by working together with parents, educators and community members in District 8. As the ex-wife of a Navy veteran, former PTA President, entrepreneur, community leader, and opera singer, I am sensitive to the challenges faced by our veterans, teachers, small business owners, and creative artists. I dedicated to working towards progressive solutions to keep our county and county moving forward.

John Walsh

• Where you live: Silver Spring

• Date of birth: Jan. 2, 1947

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: I have a diverse background in logistics, transportation, delivery and software. Currently, I work for RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation, a nationally recognized leader in the industry. Previously, I was a co-founder and chairman of DQS Global, an R&D software company with award-winning patents, and vice president of Group 1 Software, a leading application software company.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): N/A

• Campaign information:

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

The greatest threat to our democracy is the loss of our collective voices in government and the influence of special interests. I am running to turn this situation around. My first proposal will be to sponsor a nationally respected non-member of Congress to be Speaker of the House, a person of wisdom and vision who can create a moderate, centrist coalition of Democrats and Republicans that will legislate common sense, pragmatic solutions.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Immigration. We have to come to terms with our values, our history and the realities of our current situation. Most of us (with the notable exception of descendants of Slaves or Native Americans) are here due to the courage and sacrifices of relatives who fled untenable circumstances for a better life. Where would we be if our predecessors had not been given the chance for a new beginning? We have to find a fair, pragmatic and long-term solution. My proposal is to establish a new standing committee on Immigration. Currently, Immigration is only a Sub-Committee of the House Judiciary Committee.

3 – What is one major issue the current Congress has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

Gun Control. I was born in Maine and my father was a Licensed State of Maine Hunting Guide and avid outdoorsman. I grew up around guns, fishing and camping. My father and his hunting buddies had pistols and rifles, but not machine guns, not weapons of war.

The NRA of today is a prime example of a special-interest group that distorts reason, disregards popular opinion and prevents Representatives from using common sense. I would have voted to ban assault weapons and require universal checks. These laws won’t prevent every attack, but together they will save lives and protect innocent victims.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I graduated from Brown University with a degree in Political Science and worked for a Republican Congressman in Washington, D.C. I have been an elected City Councilor and member of Planning and Zoning Boards. I have a 25-year history of pioneering new products and services for leading companies in software and distribution services and have several domestic and international technology patents. For my efforts in developing a new course on entrepreneurship, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce awarded me Small Business Leader of the Year. My wife wants you to know I’m a husband, father and grandfather, too!

Victor Williams

• Where you live: Bethesda

• Date of birth: Dec. 25, 1956

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Law professor for 25 years. Presently teaching at University of Maryland Carey School of Law. Prior appointments: Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, American University Washington College of the Law, City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Republican nominee for Virginia House of Delegates in 2001. Chair and senior counsel for America First Lawyers Association: Lawyers and Law Professors for Trump.

• Campaign information:

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

As a lawyer and law professor, I have been an ardent supporter of Donald Trump since early 2016, throughout the general election and during his first year. I founded “Lawyers and Law Professors for Trump” to provide such support. I run for the U.S. Congress from Maryland’s 8th District to emphasize that our 45th President deserves respect and support from Independents, Democrats, and Republicans. In disrespecting Donald Trump, the establishment elites disrespect the 2016 voters.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

The most important issue in this race is the continuing battle that President Trump is forced to wage against the establishment elites of both major parties who are used to controlling the D.C. swamp. The Trump Administration is forced to fight the establishment elites particularly on the need for a Southern Border Wall, for deportation of illegal aliens/visa overstays who are criminals, the need for destruction/deportation of MS 13 gangs, the need for elimination of the “diversity lottery,” and the need for a substantial reduction of the number of legal immigrants to a merit-based system.

3 – What is one major issue the current Congress has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The Congress has failed to provide full and complete funding for the Southern Border Wall, to directly challenge to absurd “sanctuary state/county” movement, and to otherwise restrict immigration as needed.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

As a first-generation college graduate from Arkansas who went on to earn a graduate degree (Ed.M. Harvard) and three law degrees (J.D. UC-Hastings; LL.M. Columbia; LL.M. George Mason), I have dedicated my life to the law, education, and civic engagement work. As a widely published academic, I have supported the Article II appointment authority of the past four Presidents (without regard to their partisan affiliation) for both traditional and recess appointment commissioning. I believe in common-sense solutions to policy problems and I believe in a strict constitutionalist understanding of our democratic Republic.

DEMOCRAT

Utam Paul

• Where you live: Derwood

• Date of birth: July 4, 1961

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: I started my career in public accounting and later moved to industry. Oldcastle MMI.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): First run for public office.

• Campaign information:

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

When I see the mess in Washington on everything they do, I feel that it is a National Call for me to serve in the Congress and beyond.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Most important issue of this race is government is not in track. It is not addressing the issues of American people.

3 – What is one major issue the current Congress has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

Congress has handled multiple issues poorly. We need right people there. Look at handling of healthcare reform, engaging overseas with billions of dollars in stake when American people here at home are struggling to pay for it.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

Well, I am a dreamer for the White House bid, but Constitutional Impediment made me run for Congress first. I prepared for all this by writing a voluminous book titled “Lean Forward — Ask Me When the Federal Reserve and Washington Do Not Have Clue About Economy.”

Jamie Raskin (incumbent)

• Where you live: Takoma Park

• Date of birth: Dec. 13, 1962

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Congressman for Maryland’s 8th District. Formerly a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law for over 25 years.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Served in Maryland Senate, 2007-16

• Campaign information:

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I’m running for reelection after devoting myself to defending the values and priorities of 8th District residents. Whether turning a proposed $6 billion cut to NIH into a $2 billion increase, defending the ACA, or protecting the Bay cleanup, I’ve worked overtime to protect social progress. My district office has successfully closed 2,391 cases, getting people their Social Security, Medicare, and VA benefits and helping them navigate the labyrinth of federal bureaucracy.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

The key issue in this race is how to defend Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits and the civil rights and democratic liberties of the people against ferocious political attacks and reckless fiscal policies. This means restoring the idea of government as an instrument for achieving the common good against the current model of government as a money-making operation for politicians who obtain public office and their friends and family. I will continue to champion public ethics and integrity against the shocking corruption of our days.

3 – What is one major issue the current Congress has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The GOP majority in Congress has mishandled so many, it’s hard to choose, but consider the instructive case of its sinister refusal to address the epidemic of gun slaughters piling up from Newtown to Las Vegas to Charleston to Parkland. Rather than advance the common-sense gun-safety agenda backed by 97% of Americans — a universal criminal background check — the NRA-stained leadership has brought out two bills bound to make matters worse: one legalizing silencers and one overriding dozens of state laws by compelling states to allow people to carry loaded concealed weapons if they can get a license anywhere.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

As a professor of constitutional law for 28 years and a Maryland State Senator for a decade, as a lifelong lover of American democracy and our Bill of Rights, and as a native to our area and the father of three children (including our youngest who is now a junior at College Park), my whole life and career have prepared me to be in Congress during this time of crisis and to fight for the values of equality, freedom, democratic pluralism and the rule of law that have come under such terrible fire here and around the world.

Summer Spring (Sumati Mathur)

• Where you live: Silver Spring

• Date of birth: 33 years old

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: President and CEO of a management consulting firm, Xykon. I specialize in helping organizations understand and solve challenges around business process automation, cyber security and risk.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): None

• Campaign information:

Note: Asked why she filed to be on the ballot as Summer Spring, Sumati Mathur responded: “It’s my nickname given to me because I refused to choose one season as a favorite (much to the chagrin of a few close friends). I love both summer and spring. Unfortunately, spring seems to be briefer every year. I hope it lingers a bit more this time.”

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

There is no room for moderate voices in the Democratic party. We believe in protecting the environment, providing affordable healthcare, reforming immigration, and ensuring equal human rights, but we also believe in upholding all amendment rights and safeguarding all human life from womb to grave. Rep. Raskin voted to allow abortions of pain-capable babies (H.R.36), even seconds before birth! I’m appalled; his vote didn’t represent the majority of his constituents. We need a new representative.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Money in politics. We need to return power to the people. Constituents have been cheated out of their representation because big money is allowed to flow into our campaigns in legal forms. I’d advocate for early transparency of campaign contributions and dissolution of super PACs and similar donation vehicles. Taxes that should be used to improve communities, quality and availability of education, roads, insurance, immigration or prison crises are instead being wasted on items that the average citizen doesn’t care about. No other issue matters if our voices aren’t being heard.

3 – What is one major issue the current Congress has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

Immigration. Congress has handled this poorly because of how Congress actually operates — bills are ghostwritten by special interest groups on either side who have their own agendas. We want a sensible immigration system which attracts talented people, protects the vulnerable, and prevents abuse of the system. We do this by reforming the H1B system, adopting the Z and Y visa proposals, and dealing with folks who are undocumented on a case-by-case basis. My website has further details on my approach.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I’m the CEO of a web development and cyber security company and have an engineering degree. I received an all expenses and tuition-paid scholarship to go to the University of Pennsylvania when I was 15 years old and I worked for several firms including Glaxo Smith Kline, MBI and ClearAvenue before founding Xykon. I specialize in helping organizations understand and solve challenges around business process automation, cyber security and risk. I’m passionate about fairness and rewarding hard work. I believe my problem-solving skills and my centrist political background makes me the ideal person to represent the 8th District in Congress.

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