Homebuilder Enters Congressional Race

Arnold Independent Chesshire Vies For Seat In New 1st District

February 10, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

Saying he can solve the nation's energy problems, William J. Chesshire, a self-employed custom homebuilder from Arnold, announced his candidacy for the 1st Congressional District at a bus stop Saturday.

The 31-year-old independent has raised no money for his campaign. Buthe said his ideas -- not his pocketbook -- will carry him through and get his name known among the voters.

"I'm running on my ideas," Chesshire said, taking refuge in a covered bus stop in Annapolis to avoid the rain Saturday. "I know I don't have the money."

A lone reporter attended Chesshire's briefing outside the Legislative Services Building.

Chesshire, who is married and has three children, joins a crowded race in the newly combined district, which squeezes the Eastern Shore and a chunk of Anne Arundel County together, pitting two incumbents against each other.

Rep.Wayne T. Gilchrest, the Republican from the former 1st District and Rep. Tom McMillen, the Democrat from the former 4th District, alreadyare jockeying for endorsements before the March 3 election.

Chesshire, however, is focusing on another concern. To get his name on theballot, he must obtain signatures from 3 percent of registered voters, or 8,000 voters.

He said he will use the petition drive to get his name and policies known. He said voters are "sick and tired" of incumbents, who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaigns.

"What I'm hearing is that people want new ideas and fresh blood," Chesshire said. "And that's what I'm trying to bring."

His main newidea -- and the centerpiece for his campaign -- is solving the long-term "energy crisis."

Chesshire proposed a hydrogen energy system,which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, which is then burned. "It is completely renewable, everlasting and virtually non-polluting,"he said.

"It should be recognized that the price of fossil fuel has increased 400 percent since 1972, and inflation has kept pace. President Bush is looking for the thief of inflation. Look to the energycrisis."

But he acknowledged that such a program could cost at least $1 trillion. Still, he said, switching to hydrogen energy would create jobs.

"Hydrogen energy is a comprehensive system that will revitalize our economy, restore our environment and provide us with energy security," he said.

Turning to one of the hottest debates of the moment, Chesshire proposed a constitutional amendment giving women a right to an abortion.

Other platform ideas included: The judicial system needs reform to give victims additional rights; parents and teachers should work to help education; and all federal elected officials should have their salaries and benefits frozen until the budget is balanced.

The tax system needs a complete overhaul, he said. He proposed taxing people at an even percentage, allowing for medicaland personal exemptions "to protect the poor and the infirm."

Thepolitical rookie called his chances "very good," but acknowledged most people "don't give me a chance in this campaign. The first reporter called me a political neophyte. I had to look that up to make sure I wasn't being insulted.

"I don't mind getting into the ring with two champions," he said of Gilchrest and McMillen. "But they are bothlightweights. I have what they don't have. I have ideas."

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