MARYLAND —After one year as a state delegate, Republican Kathryn L. Afzali is running for Maryland’s 6th District congressional seat, now held by 10-term incumbent Roscoe G. Bartlett.
Afzali said she’s been productive in the General Assembly. But when congressional boundaries were redrawn last year, boosting Democratic chances in the 6th District, “I got mad,” she said.
“These congressional districts were drawn specifically by the Obama White House and the governor to wipe out the conservative voice in Western Maryland,” Afzali said.
The GOP needs to think foremost about who could beat “a very young, very liberal Democrat, out of Montgomery County,” she said, referring to state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola. “Young, charming, handsome, all the bells and whistles — except that he’s going to vote wrong to represent this new district.”
Afzali, 54, said she grew up in a middle-class family south of San Francisco.
At age 18, she won a part in a show after an audition in Los Angeles and left community college, on her way to a Broadway career. She said she has appeared — not necessarily on Broadway — in productions of “Cats” and “Grease,” and in “Peter Pan” opposite Cathy Rigby.
Afzali held the position of president of Access KDM, a biotechnology and pharmaceutical consulting company, but said she retired to become a delegate. She also has a real estate license, but has put that, too, on hold.
Her Middletown, Md., home is no longer in the 6th District, but only, Afzali said, because she was “forcibly removed” through redistricting.
Calling energy one of Western Maryland’s biggest issues, Afzali said, “We have 40 years worth of natural gas in the mountains.”
While other states are letting natural-gas drilling flourish, Maryland isn’t, which thwarts job creation, she said.
“The current congressman is completely against the pipeline coming from Canada into the United States. I’m absolutely for it,” Afzali said. “And he’s absolutely against drilling for shale gas, and I’m for it.”
Afzali lamented that Interstate 270, a traffic pipeline to the metro D.C. area, has been stagnant.
“The same two lanes have been there for 20 years,” she said.
If Bartlett wins the primary, Afzali said, “I think that the national Republican Party will recognize that we’re going to lose and they will put their resources elsewhere.”
Afzali said that in her year in the legislature, she has become “probably the go-to person for all things agriculture in the state.”
In a video on her website, Afzali said she was one of the first people in Maryland to speak out about illegal immigration, a problem she understood from California.
Afzali is one of seven Republicans challenging Bartlett. The others are state Sen. David R. Brinkley, former state Del. Robin Ficker, Joseph T. Krysztoforski, Robert Coblentz, Peter James and Brandon Orman Rippeon.
The Democratic field is Garagiola, John Delaney, Dr. Milad L. Pooran, Charles Bailey and Ron Little.
The primary will be April 3.
“If we lose this seat,” Afzali said, “I believe we’re going to lose it forever, and I don’t think the current congressman is up to a fight.”
Candidate at a glance
Name: Kathryn L. Afzali
Date of birth: May 27, 1957
Hometown: Middletown, Md.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2009
Occupation: President of Access KDM, a biotechnology and pharmaceutical consulting company, and real estate agent, but stepped away from both positions to run for state delegate
Political party: Republican
Political experience: State delegate since January 2011