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Staff photo by JAY FRIESSCollins Bailey, Republican candidate for the 5th District congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, speaks at a GOP reception last month. He gave a speech at a Republican Women of Charles County meeting last week.
He wants to balance the budget, end the Internal Revenue Service and he endorses a more humble foreign policy. Bailey would also like to have America stop being the police force of the entire world.
‘‘I want to empower Americans to make their choices,” Bailey said, while speaking at the monthly meeting of the Republican Women of Charles County last week at the Olive Garden restaurant in Waldorf.
The group asked Bailey to speak at their dinner because of his campaign for a seat in Congress. ‘‘It is a great way for members to learn about him,” Susan Baugh, president of the women’s group, said.
Bailey spoke to the club while they were having dinner.
‘‘The American people want their country back,” Bailey said. ‘‘They want their leadership focused on solving problems, not partisan bickering.”
Bailey also wants to address problems that are on the minds of many of the people he speaks with in the 5th District.
‘‘I know that people are concerned about energy prices,” Bailey said. ‘‘We should make alternative energy credits permanent and open up public lands to allow for the exploration for oil. We should do what they do in Alaska, and give our citizens a rebate check when oil is found in public lands.”
Bailey would also give the middle class an income tax break, by raising the limit at which income taxes kick in — he called it the ‘‘personal exemption” — from $3,400 to $70,000.
Bailey is concerned about the federal budget deficit.
‘‘We now have the highest budget deficit in the history of the country,” Bailey said ‘‘If you look at the budget for last year, we have a bloated budget.”
One of the ways Bailey proposes to do his part to ease the budget strain is to serve without salary for his first term.
‘‘If you serve two years in Congress, you can retire with $15,000 a month for life,” Bailey said. ‘‘I would not only refuse to take retirement, I would refuse to draw a salary for my first term. If the voters wanted me back for a second term, I would let them vote on whether I could draw a salary if I felt I needed it. The salary for a congressman is $180,000 a year, and I know the cost of living in this area isn’t so bad that you need $180,000 a year to live on.”
But according to federal government Web sites, members of Congress make about $169,000. House leadership members make more. And Congress doesn’t have a special pension system outside the regular federal retirement benefits system; they are a part of it, collecting the same benefits as similarly paid federal workers.
Bailey also wants to eliminate the Department of Education and bring a more localized form of education back to the school system. Bailey is serving as an elected member of the Charles County Board of Education, and has for four terms.
Bailey is no advocate for the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
‘‘I am an advocate for high accountability,” Bailey said. ‘‘No Child Left Behind is driving schools performance to the bottom, not the top.”
But, in Republican President George W. Bush’s 2008 State of the Union address, he said, ‘‘Last year, fourth- and eighth-graders achieved the highest math scores on record. Reading scores are on the rise. African-American and Hispanic students posted all-time highs.”
Bailey feels that the High School Assessment tests, which all high school children need to successfully pass to graduate, are not a good measure of a student’s learning.
‘‘Parents and children are not allowed to see the test after they take it,” Bailey said. ‘‘I know that when I was a kid, I would learn from what my mistakes were. I believe parents and teachers should be the primary educators of our children, not the government.”
Baugh remembers how the group came together in its early days.
‘‘The club started with around 3 to 4 women meeting for coffee and feeling frustrated at the way things were,” Baugh said. ‘‘I felt like I was one of the only conservatives in the area. I would have political signs in my yard, and they would get repeatedly vandalized.”
The club now is active in politics, encouraging people to support their candidates, working at the polls and holding fundraisers to support whoever the Charles County Republican Central Committee nominee is.
The club also has a booth at the Charles County Fair to make their presence known to the citizens of the county.
‘‘Some people in Charles County don’t even know there is a Republican women’s club,” Stacey Dennis, vice president and treasurer of the club, said.
Dennis claims the club membership grows by 50 percent every month.
‘‘The goal of the club is to educate and train women for government and public service,” Baugh said. ‘‘We also discuss whatever the local issues are. Our group has representatives from moderate to conservative.”
Dennis feels that a lot of Democrats have the same values as Republicans.
‘‘A conservative Democrat will sometimes line up more with a Republican agenda,” Dennis said. ‘‘I have talked to some Democrats, and they have told me that they had grown up as Democrats, and they didn’t realize that they were really a Republican.”
Sarah Brown is 18 and is a political science major at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg and was present at the meeting. ‘‘I plan to be president in 2032,” Brown said. ‘‘I am super-excited that this will be my first election. I would like my voice to be heard. I want to tell people how much I love my country by voting. No one takes my age group very seriously. I encourage people to vote. I love politics; it is my favorite thing to talk about.”
For more information on the group, call Susan Baugh at 301-579-9477 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.