Frank Howard is a man of process.
As part-owner of the consulting firm Shipley Associates, he helps businesses methodically build themselves. He takes each company through a systematic process of growth and analysis.
When he’s successful, he said, he’s helped launch a business that employs people with high wages and benefits and introduces an innovative new company into the world.
Howard, 54, of Laytonsville, is one of eight Republicans hoping to replace U.S. Rep. John Delaney in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. The others are Terry L. Baker, Scott Cheng, Robin Ficker, Amie Hoeber, Christopher James Mason, Harold Painter and David E. Vogt III.
The district includes all of Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties and parts of Montgomery and Frederick counties.
After years of working in the private sector, Howard said he’d take that methodical style of organization to government work. By digging through the vast federal budget, he said, he’d like to cut waste and burdensome regulations and unleash entrepreneurial spirit. He imagines a world where the economy is growing at twice its current rate and jobs are abundant.
Howard was born in Madrid. Weeks after his birth, he was left at Torrejon Air Force Base. A young airman stationed at the base and his wife were trying to have children, but they were unable to. They ended up adopting Howard.
After their tour, the new family returned to the U.S., where his father continued his service in the Air Force. Howard served in the Air Force from 1979 to 1983.
Howard said the experience taught him to sympathize with people of all stripes.
“Most business owners I’ve met are trying to do the right thing,” he said. “We need to make it as easy for them as possible. Everybody benefits from that.”
Howard was a campaign chairman for 6th Congressional District Republican candidate Dan Bongino, who narrowly lost to Delaney in 2014. That same year, Howard ran for the Maryland state Senate in District 14, losing to Democratic incumbent Karen Montgomery, who has since resigned.
Howard said he’s taken a leave from his company because he’s happy with what he’s accomplished there and felt the itch to get into public service. As a supporter of term limits, he said he’d serve no more than 12 years in Congress. He said he wants to do his part to help the country, then retire.
Howard supports a five-year plan to restructure the nation’s tax system and greatly diminish the role of the Internal Revenue Service.
He’d start by collapsing the seven current income brackets into four, then evaluate the effect on the federal budget. He’d then move to a flat tax, in which everyone pays the same tax rate and can fill out their returns on a postcard. Lastly, he’d move toward a “fair tax” to replace all federal income, payroll, gift and estate taxes with a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales.
Howard said diminishing the tax load and regulations would free up money for small businesses to hire and invest, leading to higher wages.
“We’ve got 26-, 27-, 28-year-olds who are smart, bright people living in their parents’ basements,” he said. “I want to be the candidate that helps them get a job.”
Members of Congress are paid $174,000 and serve two-year terms.
The primary will be on April 26.