Editor’s note: This is one in an series of occasional profiles about candidates running for election in the 6th Congressional District.
When Ron Little looked at the candidate pool for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District seat, he said: “I had a strong feeling that maybe voices like mine weren’t being heard or weren’t being represented.”
“I’m just a regular guy,” he said. “I like to think that I’m fairly intelligent, but I also have the same struggles that a lot of people have — educating our children, balancing social (and) personal needs ... whether or not we have to work one or two jobs.”
Little said the strain of making ends meet forces parents to spend much of their time away from their children, which has implications. Families have to spend $600 or $700 a month for day care.
“The pressure to earn forces a lot more people to disconnect” and, while away 12 to 14 hours a day, they lose track of their community and its issues, he said.
Little, 40, of Gaithersburg, Md., is running for public office for the first time. He said he wants to be “an active and engaged part of the conversation.”
He didn’t officially get into the race until Jan. 11, the candidate filing deadline day.
While corporations live well, individuals struggle, especially because of the decline of the housing market, he said.
“We can’t do anything unless people are working,” Little said.
People need access to more than just minimum-wage jobs; they need to have extra money to save, he said.
Little said government road and construction projects can put people to work. He suggested that vacant manufacturing plants be offered to businesses that want to expand, preventing unnecessary development, and called for grants for companies that produce equipment or materials supporting the alternative-energy industry.
About the incumbent, RepublicanRoscoe G. Bartlett, Little said: “I think that I’m pretty well in tune, and I can’t point to one thing that he’s done that’s had an impact on this region .... I think that eradicating the stink-bug problem” — an issue Bartlett has focused on — “isn’t going to make Western Maryland a more vibrant economic stronghold.”
Although the 6th District encompasses a range of counties in Western Maryland, Little said the fundamental needs for all are almost identical, such as finding work, having strong education and feeling safe.
He said the duty of a representative at any level is “to make sure that I have access to the things that are going to allow me to be happy and to thrive.”
The fact that 13 people are running for Bartlett’s seat shows that people are dissatisfied, he said.
Little is vying for the Democratic nomination along with John Delaney, state Sen.Robert J. Garagiola, Dr. Milad L. Pooran and Charles Bailey.
Bartlett is trying to win an 11th term. His Republican challengers are state Sen.David R. Brinkley, Del. Kathryn L. Afzali, former Del. Robin Ficker, Joseph T. Krysztoforski, Robert Coblentz, Brandon Orman Rippeon and Peter James.
The Democratic and Republican primaries will be held April 3. The general election will be Nov. 6.
Candidate at a glance
Name: Ron Little
Date of birth: Nov. 10, 1971
Address: 20209 Sweet Meadow Lane, Gaithersburg, Md.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Alfred University in New York in 1993; law degree from State University of New York at Buffalo Law School in 1996
Occupation: Lawyer at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, P.L.L.C., in Washington, D.C.
Party affiliation: Democrat
Political experience: Montgomery County Democratic precinct chairman; first run for public office