Steele would help change capital's culture

November 02, 2006|By John McCain

I strongly support Michael S. Steele's candidacy for one simple reason: We need to change Washington.

Congress doesn't need another career politician or political insider. We need someone who is a strong, independent voice for what is right, regardless of party politics. I know Michael Steele, and I know he will shake up Washington for all the right reasons.

We see it almost every day: runaway spending, scandal, legislation written by and for special interests. Washington has become a culture unto itself where special interests reign supreme, where partisanship precedes statesmanship, and where the ambitions of politicians come before the interests of the people.

It doesn't need to be this way. You can change the way Washington works. But to do so, you must elect candidates such as Michael Steele who have the courage to do the right thing, regardless of their party.

By sending Michael Steele to the U.S. Senate, Marylanders not only would be electing a public servant who knows and cares about the issues concerning the entire Old Line State, but they also would be delivering a clear message that it is time for change.

This summer, I came to Baltimore to campaign for Michael Steele because he has the courage to do something simple: represent Maryland, not special interests.

In the four years he spent as your lieutenant governor, Michael Steele single-handedly broke the mold of his predecessors, using his position as a vehicle for change. He has visited schools, community centers, housing projects and businesses forgotten by others. He has done so not to score political points, but to find solutions to problems that directly affect Baltimore. As he has traveled to every corner of the state, his campaign echoes this solutions-driven policy throughout Maryland.

Michael Steele has successfully built bridges across racial, economic and partisan lines. He has worked to fix Maryland's pension system for teachers and to improve school systems that have given up on kids, and empowered small businesses throughout the state to foster access and opportunity for minority business owners - increasing minority business within the state by one-third. The Sun named Michael Steele one of the 2003 legislative session's "winners" for his efforts on both sides of the aisle.

It is time for someone fully committed to changing the way Washington operates. It is time for someone who is not afraid to criticize what's wrong - with either party. It is time for someone who knows that getting things done and creating positive change is more effective than a "go along to get along" attitude.

It is time for Michael Steele.

John McCain is a Republican U.S. senator from Arizona.

This is the second in a series of opinion pieces on Maryland's U.S. Senate candidates. To see the first, Sen. Barack Obama's endorsement of Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, go to baltimoresun.com/senate2006.

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