Many have asked me, why an open-minded, politically moderate individual like myself, would vote for Dr. Mark Plaster for Maryland’s third Congressional district. Forget about disappointment in the partisan politics—I do my best to ignore political affiliation and to examine information. Mark Plaster, a former emergency physician for 30 years, is the owner of a successful international publishing company. He’s a veteran. He has a law degree. Both of these accomplishments show he knows of the terrors of war and terrors of the legal environment. Plaster—running on pro-business and pro-veteran platforms—is running for Maryland’s third Congressional district. His health care stance has both socially liberal and fiscally conservative features.

When I am asked about why I support Dr. Plaster, I respectfully return the question to my friends: Why vote for the incumbent John Sarbanes? I feel duty bound to vote—not voting because of extreme disappointment in the quality of the candidates solves nothing. But Sarbanes is more disappointing than the presidential race.

Trump discusses rigged elections more than Al Gore and Hillary stays silent like she’s going to say a Bushism. Congressman Sarbanes reaped the benefits rigged elections this past decade through gerrymandering and his name recognition from his father’s congressional and state campaigns, which is the convolution of lines securing his election. He’s admitted to the problem years ago.
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Governor Larry Hogan, who has a 70% approval rating statewide and won Sarbanes’ district, has formed an independent commission to address redistricting reform. Sarbanes feels redistricting reform should be addressed federally, leaving his Congressional district, the most gerrymandered district in the United States, looking like a strange or exotic snake. A presidential candidate can only be president twice and therefore can only rig elections twice maximally. John Sarbanes has ran for a gerrymandered office five times. The current Congressional district created by a Democratic-controlled state house will likely exist for two more Congressional races.

But this isn’t the only tomfoolery benefiting Sarbanes. Since the topic of veteran issues emerged, both Presidential candidates have claimed a commitment to veterans. John Sarbanes voting record is antithetical to veteran support. He has among the lowest ratings regarding veteran issues in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, his district has a large veteran population and historical sites Fort Meade and the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. Dr. Mark Plaster, a navy veteran, is committed to fixing veteran affairs.

Our national debt is absurd. One person alone—whether it’s Trump or Clinton—isn’t qualified or able to fix an entire nation’s debt. No one has dealt with a trillion dollar deficit ever before. However, Sarbanes should stay away from America’s budget. He received between 0% and 30% regarding his business policies from nonpartisan organizations, such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the National Small Business Association.

But if you’d rather ignore the ratings and examine Sarbanes’ policies, his favorite is undoubtedly campaign finance reform. He’s calling for taxpayers to match campaign donations by 6 times. Meanwhile, throughout his career Sarbanes raised $5.5 Million in contributions alone. If his bill passed, he’d have up to $33 Million for his campaign; $27.5 Million would come from taxes.

Not wanting to vote for the presidential candidates is understandable, but not voting and completely despairing is an inappropriate and disproportionate response. Electing representatives is our responsibility. Voting for a political party is a choice, but voting for a candidate is a privilege.