Old Line Elephant Interview: Robert Coblentz (R-MD)
Robert Coblentz is another Republican looking to run in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. I asked Coblentz to tell me a little about myself and he said:
A life-long Maryland resident, Robert Coblentz is a conservative Republican who is running for U.S. Congress in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. As a profession, Robert is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and works in the higher education industry. Robert is also the Vice President of the Washington County Republican Club. He and the board have implemented innovative grassroots efforts to create Club awareness and increase membership. Robert is also serves on the Tri-County Council, Zoning Appeals Board (as an alternate) and the Housing Authority of Washington County.
With an interesting background, this Washington County resident is moving forward with his campaign for Congress. What follows are his answers to my questions.
Matthew Newman: As a new candidate who may not be fully known to my readers, can you tell me a little bit about your background and what makes you uniquely qualified to be elected to Congress?
Robert Coblentz: I am a lifelong Maryland resident. I grew up in Frederick County and now reside in Washington County with my wife, Katie. I received a Bachelors of Science degree from Salisbury University with Cum Laude honors. As a profession, I am a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). The PMP credential is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers as it confirms your ability to apply best practices as well as effective tools and techniques in project management. I’ve managed and lead various successful Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software implementations (some projects topping seven figures). These projects have enabled institutions of higher education realize more efficient and streamlined business processes, which directly improves their bottom line. Information Systems also provide sharpened business intelligence for improved decision making and forecasting.
I am also involved in local politics. I am the current Vice President of the Washington County Republican Club. Our club has instituted and leverage innovative grassroots activities to create awareness and increase club membership. I also serve on the Tri-County Council as a private citizen as well as an alternate for the Zoning Appeals Board. During this past Summer, I was appointed as a Commissioner to the Washington County Housing Authority.
The ability to review and analyze issues to determine risk as well as life cycle costs is imperative to making a sound assessment. It is evident that we need strong leaders that are prepared to make tough decisions to put us back on the path to solvency. I have the will, desire, and ability to perform the necessary actions to get us there.
MN: What made you decide to run for Congress?
RC: Our federal government has expended beyond its Constitutional authority. We need to restore the power back to the people by reducing the size of government. I believe we need a candidate that has a bit of fire and is not concerned about becoming complacent with the status quo. I refuse to stand on the sidelines watching established politicians erode our freedoms all the while our economic strength here and around the world give way to communist China. We need a candidate that stands on principle. A candidate that will be held accountable and preserve our liberty for this generation and the next.
MN: What do you feel are the three most important issues facing the American people today?
RC: I feel the three most important issues facing the American people today is the economy, illegal immigration and health care. Despite the out-of-control spending, spin and double-talk, democrats cannot hide the fact that our Country has a 9.1% unemployment rate. Even if we are not technically in a double-dip recession it sure does feel like we’re in one. What happened to recovery Summer? We need to loosen federal regulation to promote a responsible and friendly business environment. The government should be a partner, not an adversary. This philosophy is a direct mechanism to promote confidence for businesses to expend more capital by investing back into their business.
Illegal immigration is another cause for concern. Each year our Country spends nearly $100 billion dollars on illegal immigration. Here in Maryland we spend $1.7 billion annually, which coincidentally is the current state budget deficit. Illegal immigration is a national security risk and it needs to be addressed head on. I believe employers should utilize the e-verify process. This is a free, Internet based tool that employers can readily use today. Currently, each week over 1,400 companies the program. I also believe that English should be the official language of our Country. I would also work on instituting no birth right citizenship for an illegal immigrant having a child in our Country. The anchor baby is used to received benefits and act as a sponsor for other family members to receive U.S. citizenship.
The third item is healthcare. Specifically, the issue is Obamacare. I cannot think of one person who wants a bureaucrat between them and their doctor. We need a real solution. We need a solution that does not force a person to purchase a product. A serious solution would also enable individuals to custom tailor their plan based on their needs and allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines to promote competition to drive down cost. Tort reform, loser pay lawsuits, would also help achieve lowering health care costs.
MN: It appears that you are currently running for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District based on the current map, which is currently represented by Republican Roscoe Bartlett. What grade would you give the incumbent and why?
RC: That is correct. With the current Congressional District lines I will be in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Living in Washington County, I do not foresee my candidacy being affected by any of the democrat gerrymandering. I feel Congressman Bartlett has served us well. He strongly supports our nation’s military, as do I. One of my favorite pieces of legislation that he was a sponsored was back in 2003. He introduced a bill to the House Committee on Ways and Means to change the deadline for income tax returns for calendar year taxpayers from the 15th of April to the first Monday in November. This would’ve moved the income tax deadline to right before the election. If I have to give Congressman Bartlett a grade I would give him a solid B. Folks may remember that one of his stances that made him attractive to voters was supporting term limits – that was back in 1992. More recently, he voted in favor of the deficit bill. Our national debt is $14.7 trillion dollars. That is approximately 95% of our entire economy. We need to get serious about cutting wasteful spending and balancing our budget.
MN: What is your opinion on the recently passed debt ceiling compromise?
RC: The recently passed debt ceiling bill is a far fetch from compromise. I am not a fan of the bill and would have strongly pushed for more spending cuts up front. We got nothing more than small cuts today with promises of larger cuts over a ten year span. We also got no guarantee of enacting a balance budget amendment. In addition, the creation of a bi-partisan 12 member Super Committee was created. As you’re aware there is a risk of substantial cuts to defense, intelligence and military spending if an agreement on cuts is not reached by the November 23rd deadline. According to the Congressional Budget Office, there is a potential to see spending $450 billion in defense spending reductions over the next 10 years. Unlike liberal democrats, I am not comfortable weakening our country’s defense.
MN: If elected, what would be the first piece of legislation you would propose?
RC: The very first piece of legislation I would propose would be to cancel all unused stimulus funds. This initiative would return $25 billion dollars to the tax payer from TARP and another $429 billion dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This saves over $450 billon dollars. We should apply these funds directly to the national debt.
MN: Maryland politicians do not always like to discuss social issues, but they are still important to many citizens. What is your view on abortion?
RC: Human life is the most precious gift. This needs to be protected since the fetus cannot protect itself. However, if the mother’s life is at risk due to the pregnancy or if the child is conceived via rape, I believe those instances warrant an exception. Additionally, I will work to eliminate taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and abortions.
MN: If elected, what Caucuses would you consider joining?
RC: If elected, I would consider joining a couple of Congressional Member Organizations. To name a few, I would like to join the Flat Tax Caucus, the Congressional Internet Caucus and, of course, the TEA Party Caucus.
MN: What is your opinion on the redistricting process here in Maryland and do you think that we will see fair districts?
RC: The redistricting process in Maryland is not impartial and it most likely will never be. The political balance of power in Maryland is greatly skewed. The process is politically driven and knowing that partisanship plays a large role, the process can never truly be fair. For example, the Democrats in this state want to pick-up a Congressional seat. They view Congressman Bartlett of being the weaker of the two Republican Congressional representatives. I am confident they will attempt to dramatically reconfigure the 6th District. I would not be surprised if the 6th District lost Harford, Baltimore and Carroll counties. What will be interesting will be seeing how Frederick County is affected. The 6th District will most likely pick-up a vast majority of Montgomery County. Montgomery County is likely to be the most liberal county. For instance, it is a sanctuary county for illegal immigrants. Knowing that Montgomery County has one of the largest populations in Maryland it will be strongly challenged race.
MN: Presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry recently compared Social Security to a ponzi scheme. What is your opinion of Social Security and what serious reforms do you feel are necessary to keep it solvent?
RC: I believe I understand what Governor Perry was attempting to articulate; however, he could have more articulate. My interpretation of what I heard the Governor say was that the program is not solvent and eventually the people paying into the system today will not receive the same benefits, if any, when they retire. It is known that social security is expected to run out of money by 2037. In my mind, that is the point Governor Perry wanted to get across.
Our Country has made a promise and a commitment to retirees. I believe any citizen that is retirement age or is nearing retirement has planned and prepared their entire working life to use social security as a portion of their income. I do believe folks beginning their career should have the option to invest in a private retirement account or social security. Some may say that if people are able to opt out then there will not be enough money to fund the program. I disagree. Each week, money is withheld from your paycheck for social security. If that money would actually be used to pay social security benefits there would be no issue – or at least it would address the majority of the concern. Unfortunately, the allocated funds for social security have been pilfered for pet projects and initiatives. For example, the Democrats siphoned $500 billion from social security to help pay for Obamacare. Another component of this is that our Country has the best healthcare in the world and Americans are living longer. We should consider increasing the retirement age for full social security benefits for folks beginning to contribute to social security by three years (from age 67 to 70).
MN: As next year is a Presidential election year, what potential 2012 candidate are you leaning towards supporting at the moment?
RC: For me, it is still a bit early to decide. I believe we have a strong field and I’ve enjoyed watching the debates. With that said, Herman Cain is a pleasant surprise and I’m glad to see that he is doing well. Whoever the GOP Presidential candidate is will be a far better leader than President Obama.
MN: In closing, what is one thing you want to ensure potential voters know about your candidacy?
RC: I am the Conservative Republican candidate that is putting principle and people first: an alternative to the status quo. I am not a professional politician and I don’t want to be. I am running for office to restore the power back to the people, just as our founding fathers intended.
I thank Mr. Coblentz for his time and I wish him the best of luck in his campaign. If you’d like to know more, check out his website here.