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Hoyer is a No-Show at League's Forum

The Calvert County Chapter of the League of Women Voters conducted a candidates’ forum Thursday, Oct. 18 at Calvert Pines Senior Center. The event featured two panels of candidates, U.S. Congress representing Maryland District 5 and two of the three seats up for grabs on the Calvert County Board of Education (BOE).

 

The congressional candidates’ panel was comprised of candidates from the Republican, Libertarian and Green parties. Missing was Democrat incumbent Steny H. Hoyer, who has been in Congress for over 30 years. The current House of Representatives minority whip was addressing a firefighters graduating class in Prince George’s County. Hoyer’s absence was criticized by his main challenger, Republican Anthony J. “Tony” O’Donnell. “He won’t show up, he won’t debate,” declared O’Donnell, who challenged Hoyer to a series of debates following the Primary Election.

 

O’Donnell said Hoyer was part of the polarization between the two parties in Congress. He cited the wrangling over $1.2 trillion in sequestered budget cuts which could adversely impact defense and domestic programs. O’Donnell pointed to the huge success of the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) as an example of two parties working together. O’Donnell, the current Maryland House of Delegates minority leader, was a part of the Southern Maryland Delegation when CSM was formally expanded over a dozen years ago. The school started out as Charles County Community College and expanded in the region’s other two counties.

 

Libertarian candidate Arvin Vohra admitted he would have to work with the major parties if he were elected to Congress, but added, “I won’t compromise my principles.”

 

A local issue—the storage of nuclear waste at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby—prompted varied responses and gave O’Donnell another opportunity to pillory the absent Hoyer. O’Donnell stated that Hoyer and other Congressional leaders have dragged their feet in establishing a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. “He’s been silent on this issue,” said O’Donnell, who indicated Hoyer’s reticence might be at the behest of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Of the spent fuel stored on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, O’Donnell said, “it’s OK right now, but future generations are going to have to deal with this.”

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