6th District candidates agree on ends, not all means

October 23, 1994|By Capital News Service

HAGERSTOWN -- Maryland's 6th District congressional candidates said they prefer local answers to federal involvement in dealing with tough issues facing the nation.

But don't expect them to agree on specifics.

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, a Frederick Republican, and former state Del. Paul Muldowney, the Democratic challenger from Hagerstown, say they are tough on crime, critical of welfare and health care delivery and supportive of changes in education.

However, they sometimes disagree on how to solve the problems.

Both candidates believe that banning weapons is not a solution to crime.

One of the reasons Mr. Bartlett voted against the $30 billion crime bill this year was the provision banning the manufacture, sale and possession of 19 semiautomatic assault weapons, he said.

"There's no evidence that gun control brings down crime," said Mr. Bartlett, 68.

Mr. Muldowney, 59, would not say how he would have voted on the provision. But he criticized it as "an invasion of my personal rights."

"Crime and gun control are totally unrelated," he said.

Mr. Bartlett and Mr. Muldowney also said they support the death penalty for serious offenders, such as police killers and drug kingpins.

Mr. Muldowney said he supports expanding the number of crimes punishable by the death penalty.

But, Mr. Muldowney said, "the federal government should encourage, not force, states to use the death penalty. The federal government should take the lead in providing an example."

Mr. Bartlett said he supports the death penalty for "appropriate cases."

He said he was against the death penalty provision in the crime bill because most of the outlined offenses rarely occur.

Both candidates spoke out harshly against welfare, saying it is self-defeating and provides negative incentives.

However, the candidates disagreed on the welfare reform plan proposed by President Clinton, which requires those born after 1971 to get a job within two years of receiving aid. If after this time recipients are still unemployed, the government would place them in federally subsidized jobs.

"This is no solution," said Mr. Bartlett, who said he would vote against it. "It just creates another bureaucracy, and these so-called jobs let people pretend they're working."

"I believe I back this," Mr. Muldowney said. "I'm in support of any concept that provides incentives for people to get off of welfare."

The candidates both opposed Clinton's legislation and any plan that forces employers to pay high health care premiums for workers.

The Clinton health care plan would reorganize the system by 1998, providing health coverage for all Americans while controlling costs. Employers would be required to pay at least 80 percent of the cost to insure their workers.

"I'm in support of affordable group health insurance," Mr. Muldowney said. But, he said, "exactly who pays what should be decided between the employers and employees."

Mr. Bartlett said he is against the "government-run, socialized medicine programs." And, he said, "America spoke out and defeated it."

The two also have different opinions about a bill approved by Congress in May and signed by the president, which makes it a federal offense to physically obstruct the entrance to a health care clinic or use force, threats or other tactics intended to intimidate women seeking abortions.

Mr. Bartlett voted against the bill. He said he "would have backed something treating all protesters equally."

He added, "If there were people protesting at a clinic on one side of the street and people protesting at a [savings and loan] on the other side, the ones at the clinic would be committing a felony while the ones at the [savings and loan] wouldn't be breaking any laws."

Mr. Muldowney said that he supports the law since it has already been enacted, but stressed that the issue should have been dealt with on the state level. He refused to take a position on the bill.

"I have no control over it now," he said. "I support the law of the land. It's as simple as that."

Both candidates said they opposed Clinton's deployment of troops to Haiti last month, but they supported the president's decision to send troops to the Persian Gulf.

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