The time is perfect for a Republican to take Maryland’s District 6 congressional seat, according to Terry L. Baker, president of the Washington County Board of Commissioners.
Baker, a candidate in the April 26 GOP primary, wants to capitalize on the momentum of Gov. Larry Hogan — who rose from underdog to popular conservative governor in blue Maryland — and former congressional candidate Dan Bongino, who in 2014 nearly edged out District 6 incumbent John K. Delaney.
In an interview, Baker had numerous criticisms of Delaney — his votes don’t align with “blue-collar Republican” values; he sides too often with President Barack Obama; he’s out of touch with a district he doesn’t live in. (After redistricting in 2011, Delaney’s home was just outside the district. Members of Congress aren’t required to live in the district they represent.)
Baker blasted Delaney’s decisions to vote yes on lifting sanctions on Iran, allowing the country access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and Delaney’s support for Syrian refugees being allowed in the country.
Baker touted his long-standing residency and commitment to Washington County, and if elected, the district as a whole. He said his votes would match the interests of the district, which isn’t the case for Delaney.
A retired teacher, Baker has lived in Washington County his entire life. His political career began in the town where he lives, Clear Spring. He is in his third term on the Board of County Commissioners, currently serving as president.
Baker said the commissioners’ ability to guide Washington County through tough economic times has made the county a model for the state.
He described himself as a common-sense person who can relate to the average resident of the district. Baker said he always wanted to pursue higher office, and the issues the country grapples with now — security, immigration — prompted him to run.
“My father was a World War II veteran, [who on] D-Day stormed the beaches of Normandy. ... This is not the country my dad fought for,” Baker said.
Baker’s priorities are job growth and education, which he said are intertwined.
For instance, the educational system nationwide historically hasn’t tried to improve trade or vocational programs, a need in the country today, Baker said.
Baker was a trades instructor at Washington County Technical High School.
“Not every kid wants to go to college and definitely we need to do a better job of training the children for something they could look forward to,” Baker said.
Baker favors local control in education and removing the federal government from the equation, returning as much power to teachers to determine lessons as possible.
He wouldn’t comment on the federal law that passed recently, the Every Student Succeeds Act, which provides states more control over education.
He also didn’t take a strong stance on Common Core, controversial educational standards adopted by the state, other than to say that education should be left up to the communities.
After his political career concludes, Baker said, he’ll remain in the community.
“I’m never going to forget where I came from,” he said.
Baker will face off against Scott Cheng, Robin Ficker, Amie Hoeber, Frank Howard, Christopher James Mason, Harold Painter and David E. Vogt III in the April primary.
Members of Congress serve two-year terms and are paid $174,000 a year.