Ruppersberger challenged for reelection, but confident
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 11:18

Congressman to face GOP’s Jacobs, others

 by Ben Boehl

    Seeking his sixth term in the U.S. House of Re-presentatives, 2nd District incumbent C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger faces his toughest battle to date as he is being challenged by Republican State Sen. Nancy Jacobs.
    Ruppersberger says he welcomes the challenge, but he describes the face in confident terms.
    “I respect anybody who steps in the ring, but we need experience in order to get things done,” he said.
    Arguing that the U.S. economy is improving, but that the country must still focus on some key issues, Ruppersberger told The Eagle last week that he believes that America needs to create jobs, reduce the deficit and fix entitlements.
    He said that includes  balancing the budget and not raising taxes. Ruppersberger said he agrees with Republicans that cuts need to be made, but stressed that not everything can be cut.
    “We need to keep the momentum going. We need to focus on jobs. We still need to tackle the issue of reducing the deficit.”
    As the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Ruppersberger expressed his concern that China has launched cyber attacks. He says the topic is one that too many don’t know about, but it can become an issue and needs to be addressed.
    Looking ahead to this year’s election, Ruppersberger said that he is running a positive campaign and said Jacobs has only been attacking him and not focusing on the issues.

“Nancy has gone negative on me. I don’t plan going negative on her unless I have to,” Ruppersberger said. “She is not talking solutions. I give solutions.”
    Ruppersberger has been attacked by Jacobs for his vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. In an interview with The Eagle, Jacobs claimed  that Ruppersberger told constituents that he was going to vote against the healthcare bill, but decided to vote for it when asked by the leaders of his party. Ruppersberger denied he changed his vote.
    “I never said I wasn’t going to vote for Obamacare.” There is a lot of false information out there,” he said. Ruppersberger explained that he told constituents he wouldn’t vote for the measure if it was hurtful to small businesses. In his opinion, small businesses are protected under the plan.
    Ruppersberger added that with the bad economy, young adults are having trouble finding jobs with health insurance and this allows them to stay on their parent’s health insurance. He believes that ‘Obamacare’ was needed for seniors and children.
    “We did nothing for our medical for over 30 years. I voted for it for our seniors and children who don’t have insurance.”
    On the criticism of voting with his party, Ruppersberger said he was one of the few bipartisan members of Congress. He gave an example of how he and Republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, worked together last week to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which was created to increase intelligence sharing between private cybersecurity firms and government agencies.
    Ruppersberger agrees that more members of Congress need to work together on both sides of the aisle. He believes that his time as  Baltimore County Executive taught him the importance of working across party lines. He also feels that many members of Congress haven’t had experience in the executive branch in positions as county executives and mayors so they have trouble communicating and compromising, and that’s why there is gridlock.
    “If you know me, once the election is over, my philosophy is to work together,”  he said.
    “This is not happening in Washington and it is on both sides.”
    Another area in which Jacobs criticized Ruppersberger is public accessibility, alleging that he is hiding from his constituents.
    Ruppersberger, who was at the Bowleys Quarters meeting in Middle River last week, responded by saying he has “Dutch on Demand” town meetings, but admitted it’s harder to get out to every commuity meeting with the busy schedule of Washington.
    “It’s different than when I was county executive. I spend many days and nights in Washington,” Ruppersberger said.     
    “When you are elected to Washington, it’s hard to get into the community like my county executive days. I do set up different ‘Dutch on Demand’ events.”