Crawford will try again to oppose Bartlett in 6th UM professor criticizes the incumbent for cuts in federal social programs

November 22, 1995|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,SUN STAFF

FREDERICK -- Blasting GOP support for budget cuts in Medicare and other programs, college Professor Steve Crawford announced yesterday he again will seek the Democratic nomination to run against Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, the Republican who represents Maryland's 6th Congressional District.

Mr. Crawford, who lost the 1994 Democratic primary, launched his 1996 campaign with stops at five retirement and nursing homes. He said GOP-proposed cuts in federal programs have created "real anxiety" among senior citizens in the 6th District, which includes Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties and part of Howard County.

The 53-year-old public policy professor at the University of Maryland College Park criticized Mr. Bartlett for his consistent support of GOP proposals to reduce spending on student loans, school lunches, Head Start and other programs.

"Worst of all, [Mr. Bartlett] voted to cut Medicare far more than needed in order to fund a huge tax break for the wealthy," Mr. Crawford told about 30 residents at a campaign stop at Sunshine Retirement Home here. "What kind of Thanksgiving is that for you, the seniors who saw us safely through the Depression, World War II and the Cold War?"

Mr. Bartlett, who is seeking a third term, disputed Mr. Crawford's characterization of GOP proposals as reducing Medicare benefits. Republican congressional leaders have argued that their plans to increase premiums and reduce the rate of growth in Medicare spending are necessary to keep the program solvent.

"Three years ago the Clintons were going to finance a national health care plan with cuts to Medicare and Medicaid," Mr. Bartlett said. "He thinks America has a short memory. We're not cutting Medicare."

Political observers predicted Mr. Crawford faces an uphill battle in his quest to unseat Mr. Bartlett, who garnered 66 percent of the vote in the 1994 election.

"It seems to me that Mr. Bartlett has been fairly attentive to his district," said Michael Towle, an assistant professor of government at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg.

Mr. Crawford is the second Democrat to announce his candidacy for the 6th District seat. David Koontz of Frederick announced his campaign last spring. Mr. Koontz, who is gay, said he would challenge Mr. Bartlett as being "out of touch" with gays and other minorities.

In the 1994 Democratic primary, Mr. Crawford finished third out of seven candidates. Paul D. Muldowney, who won the party's nomination that year, said yesterday that he has no plans to run in 1996.

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