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Paul Rappaport
Paul Rappaport
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Maryland Senate Race:
Candidate Paul Rappaport
Monday, Oct. 30, 2000; 1 p.m. EST

Paul Rappaport is a candidate for U.S. Senate from Maryland. A Republican, Rappaport's political life began when he was selected by Ellen R. Sauerbrey to be her running mate in her 1994 gubernatorial campaign. This is his third statewide race, and he is seeking to unseat Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D). Post reporter Daniel LeDuc recently chronicled Rappaport's political career.

For more information, visit the Maryland Voters Guide or see the Paul Rappaport for Senate Web site.

The transcript follows.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.


washingtonpost.com: Hello, Paul Rappaport, and thanks for joining us today. Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself, and why you're running for the U.S. Senate?

Paul Rappaport: A brief history of my background is: 28 years as a Maryland State Trooper retiring as a Major Commanding the State Police Criminal Investigation Division to take command of the Howard County Police Department as their Chief where I remained for 8 and 1/2 years. I am an Army Veteran, attorney and business owner. I am running for the United States Senate because I do not feel that I am being represented in Washington by the current Senator who has been in office for 24 years and is known as the Stealth Senator due to his absence disappearing after each election only to reappear before the next election. Citizens against Government waste and the National Federation of Independent Business both rated him as the worst member of the Senate.


Laurel: What do you think are the most crucial issues in this campaign?

Paul Rappaport: There are many issues. The first priority of Government is to protect its citizens and therefore we must rebuild our military and make it strong enough not only to win a war but to prevent a war. Our citizens today pay far more and have less freedom over their healthcare than they ever had before some people must choose between eating and taking prescription drugs, that is wrong and must be addressed. Our children are testing lower in basic skills than they did before my opponent went to Washington. We have a tax system that penalizes success and is too complicated. There are many issues to address those are just a few.


Maryland: What do you think of politicians who opposed school vouchers but send their children to private schools? Like VP Gore opposed school vouchers but his children went to private schools.

washingtonpost.com: What is your position on school vouchers?

Paul Rappaport: I support school vouchers, often called opportunity Scholarships. My opponent is against school vouchers even though his children went to private school


washingtonpost.com: What type of health care/prescription drug reform do you support?

Paul Rappaport: There is no easy answer but some ideas are to reduce the paper work and red tape by standardizing forms and eliminating unnecessary information and by Doctors making medical decisions instead of insurance companies, by institutiing medical savings accounts. Dr Ben Carson who is a pediatric neurosurgeon and several other respected physicians are on my committee for healthcare and after my victory we will be rolling up our sleeves and resolving these problems one by one


Maryland: Hello, Mr. Rappaport. Do you prefer a Senate and a House of the same party (i.e., Republican) and a president who is a Democrat? Or do you prefer all three to be Republican-controlled? Seemed most voters prefers both party to be in control of either Congress or the presidency for checks and balances.

Paul Rappaport: The primary elections are over. I would like to represent all of the people. I prefer George Bush over Gore I believe that if we have a President Bush along with a Republican Congress we can do a great deal. However look at Maryland, we have had a one party system in Maryland for years to the detriment of Maryland. I believe the Republicans should be given a chance. If it does not work vote us out.


Baltimore, Md.: I see that your opponent gets lots of out of state money. Do you support campaign finance reform? If so, what kind?

Paul Rappaport: I support finance reform. I think it is wrong when the Maryland State Trooper's Association wants to contribute to my campaign and can not because they are a corporation and they do not have a federal pack yet 79% of my opponent's contributor's are from out of State. I believe that a major portion of contributions should come from a candidates district and there should be full disclosure. I would also like to see a limit on expenditures and get rid of soft money.


Howard Co.: If elected would you be willing to work with Democrats to find solutions or if the Republicans get a majority would you rather just institute one-party policies?

Paul Rappaport: I believe that we need a two party system if we are going to make progress in Washington we have to be by-partisan I have been to one debate and two forums with my opponent and most of his remarks were directed to trashing the Republican party and blaming all of the ills of the world on them. That is wrong. I will work with Republicans, Democrats, independents etc to get the job accomplished.


Kensington: Your Web site says that you support investing social security funds. That sounds great now, but what if the market crashes? Then what happens?

Paul Rappaport: Our Social Security Trust Fund earns about two percent per year (It is actually a pay as you go system) If this program, (allowing investment in private funds) were implemented years ago where would you be today. Just think about it. If the stock market crashes and does not recover what do you think will happen to Social Security and the Federal Government. In any event we have to insure that those people receiving benefits and those that are in the system to receive benefits will in fact receive them. Another thought is besides having a nest egg when you retire if you only have social security your children receive nothing upon your death. With partial privatization you have something to leave your heirs


Silver Spring MD: Mr. Rappaport, respectfully you did not answer the question about Republican control of both houses of Congress and the White House. Therefore, please answer (1) how would you differ from a putative President Bush if you were elected; (2) are you more of a Lott-Helms Republican or more of a Mathias Republican?

Paul Rappaport: I believe that a two party system generally works better, that is one party looking over the other's shoulder, that said in the instant case I believe that George Bush would do a better job than Gore in the White House and a Republican Congress at this time would be better for America. That Republican Congress however would have to work with the Democrats in order to be productive. I don't know what you mean by Bush being a commonly accepted (putative) President. I am more of a Rappaport Republican I believe that Government is too big and Taxes are too high If you don't know what that is it is probably somewhere between your two examples


Washington DC: I know that Congress and the President are still working on the budget. I have heard if the President does not make a decision the pay raise for Federal Employees, the employees could be looking at around a 13 percent raise. Is this likely to happen?

Paul Rappaport: I have been campaigning very hard for the past year and have not had the opportunity to review any of the proposals. That said, I believe that if you offer peanuts you get monkeys


Kensington, MD: Who the heck is our Senator, anyway? I hear more about the Virginia Senators (and even the District's pretend Senator) than I hear about ones in Maryland. How effective can they be if this is the case? Thanks for offering an alternative.

washingtonpost.com: Onpolitics offers profiles of Maryland's two Senators, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski.

Paul Rappaport: I will tell you something about your current Senator; he was ranked 99th out of 100 Senators when it came to legislation important to small business (who was worse - No one he was tied for 99th). Citizen's against government waste said he was the least taxpayer friendly member of the Senate. He voted against a balanced budget, against welfare reform, against the elimination of the marriage penalty, against the repeal of the death taxes, against the flag amendment, against the ban on partial birth abortion and against veteran's benefits. He disappears after each election to appear just before the next election. 79% of his contributors are special interest from out of state. I could go on and on.


Washington DC: Hello, What do you believe will be the final amount given to the employees of the Federal Government for the year 2001? When will this be decided?

Paul Rappaport: Since I have been campaigning for the last year I am not aware of what is being proposed or negotiated. I do believe that if you offer peanuts you get monkeys.


Greenbelt: Are you implying that federal employees are not doing good jobs, because they have not gotten good pay raises?

Paul Rappaport: No I am saying just the opposite. If you want to recruit and keep good employees you have to pay them a decent wage. If you don't most will look for greener pastures. I was a government employee for thirty-six years.


Md.: You say the Republicans should be given a chance, but 4 House members are Republicans from Md. What have they done that would make me want to vote for you?

Paul Rappaport: To mention a few things; welfare reform, a balanced budget, and for the first time congress has to abide by the laws they pass


Washington DC: OK, now I am puzzled. What do you mean with "If you offer peanuts you get monkeys" I am not sure I am understanding, please clarify your answer.

Paul Rappaport: I just answered a similar question, what I mean is that in order to recruit and retain good employees you have to pay a decent wage. I was a government employee for thirty-six years. I saw a number of good people leave for greener pastures. Salaries and benefits were adjusted for parity with the private sector. I think it is time for another adjustment.


Point of Rocks, Md.: Doesn't it make you angry that The Post has ignored you all year long, and at the same time, it's doing everything it can to pump up the corpse of Chuck Robb? Showing him hugging his daughters, constantly suggesting how tight the polls are? Doesn't this kind of coverage serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy -- candidate who gets no press has no poll surge, while candidate who gets laudatory press closes a gap in the polls?

Paul Rappaport: That's the liberal media. I think the grass roots have had enough and may teach them a lesson in this election. I see a great deal of energy and enthusiasm throughout the state


Washington, D.C.: What are your views on D.C. citizens gaining full voting representation in Congress?

Paul Rappaport: I have not decided the issue however would be happy to hear arguments from both sides


washingtonpost.com: Thanks, Paul Rappaport, for joining us today. Any final thoughts?

Paul Rappaport: Thank you for inviting me to participate


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