In a scene reminiscent of another time and another war, Barry J. C. Kissin, a lawyer and longtime political activist in Frederick, announced his Democratic candidacy for Congress in Maryland's 6th District with a rousing denunciation of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. Kissin called for immediate withdrawal from the conflict.
"Not one more American soldier should die or be maimed in Iraq. Not one more Iraqi citizen should die or be maimed because of our presence in Iraq," Kissin told supporters at the C. Burr Artz Public Library in downtown Frederick last week.
Kissin, 54, faces businessman and Iraq war veteran Andrew Duck, 43, of Brunswick in the Democratic Party's 2006 primary.
The winner in the district, which includes part of northern Montgomery County, will challenge Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, 79, a Republican seeking an eighth term.
Guitars in hand, singers Bill Lebherz and twins Cameron and Christopher Spade of the Yard Slippers kicked off the meeting Wednesday with Bob Dylan's classic protest anthem "The Times They Are A-Changin'." Next to the podium was Kissin's campaign manager, William Lafferman, a tres cool pair of black-and-white Chuck Taylor sneakers peeping out from below the cuffs of the pants of his dark green suit. And then it was Kissin's turn.
"I am not referring to this as my campaign because I don't view this as mine," Kissin said. "This is our campaign, the people's campaign."
Kissin said the Bush administration misled the nation before the war and said it "was capable of manufacturing incidents" to justify the war in the future.
He also denounced the use of depleted uranium -- which is slightly less radioactive than purified natural uranium, according to the World Health Organization -- in armor-piercing munitions in Iraq. (Depleted uranium, also known as DU, is also used in commercial aircraft counterweights and in radiation shields used in medical offices, WHO said.)
If elected, Kissin said he would work to curb arms exports, push for universal health care coverage, improve education funding beginning with Head Start and leave Social Security as is.
"I believe in the innate goodness of human beings. I believe in the sanctity of all life. I believe we are at a point in history when we face cataclysmic catastrophe," Kissin said, adding, "We must harness the power of collective consciousness, the power of love, to survive."
Following After Franchot
Del. Peter Franchot's decision to give up his seat in the state House to challenge incumbent Comptroller William Donald Schaefer in next year's Democratic primary has set off a scramble to replace him.
At least a half-dozen Democrats in District 20, which includes Takoma Park and part of Silver Spring, are frequently mentioned as potential candidates.
If there is one thing that can be said about District 20 voters, it's that they are widely regarded as among the most progressive in the state.
So it might seem fitting that Tom Hucker, executive director of Progressive Maryland, a Silver Spring-based liberal advocacy organization, is considering a run.
In an interview, Hucker said he's keeping his options open but thinks he would be a good fit for District 20 because he already lobbies in Annapolis.
"It's a wonderful progressive district, and a lot of people have said it needs someone who knows how to get things done in Annapolis," Hucker said.
Pending a final decision on whether he will run, Hucker will continue in his current job, where he will focus on Progressive Maryland's 2006 agenda during the 90-day General Assembly session that starts in January.
Speaking of Franchot, he's running as the liberal alternative to Schaefer, who has sided with Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. on some issues.
Schaefer also angered some Democratic activists with disparaging comments last year about immigrants and AIDS patients.
The former governor has endorsed County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, who has worked hard over the years to burnish his liberal credentials.
So is Duncan supporting Schaefer, who may help the county executive win votes in Baltimore, or Franchot, a liberal who lives in Montgomery?
"Doug has a great deal of respect for Del. Franchot, and he's done a fine job for Montgomery County," said Jody Couser, Duncan's campaign press secretary.
But . . .
"Doug is supporting Comptroller Schaefer in his reelection campaign," she added.
New School Spirit
Clarksburg residents who are feeling a bit down over the spate of negative publicity about the construction of Clarksburg Town Center may have something to feel proud about again.
Clarksburg High School, Montgomery County's newest high school campus, is opening in August.
But it still needs an identity.
If you're a future Clarksburg High School student or parent and want to offer your input, check out www.montgomery
burghs to vote. The mascot choices include coyotes, colts and scorpions.
The color schemes include Carolina blue and white; black, blue and silver; and red, black and silver (think University of Georgia).
Clarksburg High -- headed by Principal James P. Koutsos -- will be Montgomery County's 25th high school. The school board recently approved new boundaries for the campus, which will open to grades 9 through 11 next fall.
Results of the vote will be tallied and announced later this month.
Staff writer Lori Aratani contributed to this report.