An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

From the Shore

Dr. Jim Corwin is running for Congress in Maryland’s first congressional district as a hard working physician with a background in public service willing to take on the problems Marylanders face and to point out the incumbent’s (Rep. Wayne Gilchrest) failures. Corwin says “This Congress is so bogged down with its own self-interest, corruption and secrecy that it is unable to provide balance and oversight to this president, not come up with effective solutions to our nation's challenges.” And continues “The incumbent, despite his 16 years of incumbency and 12 of those with the majority party, is still a small cog in the Republican Congressional machine. If we elect him to another term, he'll continue to be ineffective at doing anything about the rampant mismanagement of our national government.”

That’s a strong statement, but maybe what’s necessary to get people to get past what Corwin concedes is the nice guy/moderate image of Gilchrest to hold him accountable for what he hasn’t done while serving in Congress.

Corwin offers a different kind of leadership: “I have served thousands of Marylanders over the years as a physician. My patients pour out to me their hopes and fears, their dreams and aspirations, always knowing that I'll be open, direct and honest with them, and always do right for them. As a member of Congress, the voters can expect the same level of service - that I will listen to THEIR needs and advocate for THEIR best interests.”

Corwin talks about serving in the National Health Service Corps and being “involved in Public Health Service funded community health centers for 20 years.” As a doctor who sees how health care financing impacts Marylanders, he’d probably focus on fixing the system (details of the plan at CorwinForCongress.com). Corwin cites cost from private bureaucracies as a problem for individuals, businesses, and governments, and proposes something different: “My plan simplifies the payment system, puts purchasing power back in the hands of consumers, and brings transparency to pricing. The reduction in waste, inefficiency, fraud and abuse will lower costs and permit access to quality care for all Americans.”

He’s got other priorities, you know jobs, security, good education, the Bay, and energy self-sufficiency (again, go to his web site to get the details. But in contrast to the incumbent, what Corwin is really offering is that he’s “…a leader and not a follower. In my professional career have built coalitions between very diverse groups to get health care to over one hundred thousand Marylanders that would otherwise have no access. In most cases, the incumbent waits for the leadership in his party to tell him what to do. For example, getting him to vote for the so-called GAS act and oil drilling in Alaska when he said he would not. Or, more recently, when he said he would wait for the others in his party before deciding on whether to call for Speaker Hastert's resignation over his brushing off of the Foley abuses.”

Despite the anti-incumbent sentiment around the country, Corwin faces a tough challenge in this race, of course: Gilchrest has won reelection with strong numbers (77%, 79%, 64%, 69%, 62%) and President Bush won this district by significant margins (beating Kerry by 26% and Gore by 17%). Corwin shrugs off these statistics, saying: "Past performance is not guarantee of future results. The mood of the district has changed dramatically in the past two years. There is a strong anti-incumbent sentiment. The voters disapprove overwhelmingly of the job Congress is doing. Mr. Gilchrest is one of those members not adequately serving the voters. The Star Democrat reported that Mr. Gilchrest wants to be re-elected so he can "continue working" on cleaning up the Bay, making housing more affordable and health care more accessible. I say, during his tenure, less people can afford to buy a home, more people are locked out of health care, and last year the Bay got it's worst report ever! How many times does the incumbent want us to send him back to "continue working" on whatever he's working on that just isn't working?!”

So yeah, Dr. Jim Corwin is a long shot in Maryland’s 1st congressional district, but you never know with credentials, support and an effective message: “Under the current administration, and with the consent of this Congress and my opponent, America has lost her stature and standing in the world. The world is a more dangerous place than it has been in decades. We cannot choose a new president this election, but we can send a message. We can send a representative to stand up for openness and honesty, with the courage to advance new ideas and follow them through to completion.”