Editor's note: This is one in an occasional series of profiles about candidates running for election in the 6th Congressional District.
When Dr. Milad L. Pooran ran for a Prince George's County school board seat in 2006, his campaign was cut short after three weeks when he was deployed to Iraq. He said he came back shortly before the primary election vote, but finished last.
Now, his goal is Maryland's 6th Congressional District seat.
Pooran, 34, of Jefferson, Md., acknowledges that he's an underdog, but said he's confident he can win if he runs the right race.
Pooran said he is aspiring to Thomas Jefferson's ideal of a citizen representative, offering practical, real-life experience instead of a lifetime of politics.
"I put up my public service record against anyone," he said.
Pooran is a critical-care physician at the VA Medical Center near Martinsburg, W.Va., which serves Western Maryland veterans.
He's a lieutenant colonel and flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps. He said he has participated in military operations on all seven continents, including a few months in 2006 as a critical-care medicine specialist in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Balad, Iraq.
Pooran said Western Maryland is growing and lacks adequate representation in Congress through U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, a Republican seeking an 11th term.
Pooran's desire to run for office is fueled in part by his love and appreciation for the United States. He said he lived in Iran until he was 6 years old, when his family moved to America.
"You really cherish becoming an American," he said. "You truly appreciate the opportunities."
The dominant issue for congressional candidates is "jobs, jobs and more jobs," he said.
The American workforce makes good products, but is under the shadow of "a huge debt crisis," Pooran said.
He considers it a top priority to revamp the federal tax code, arguing that it's "strangling" small-business growth.
"It's not meant to be a policy tool, which is what it's become," he said.
He acknowledged that tax-code reform can be seen as a Republican platform, but he said that, unlike the GOP, he opposes cutting funding for health care, education, infrastructure and other essentials.
Rather, America needs investment like President Eisenhower made in education, Pooran said.
"The next revolution is going to be the energy revolution," Pooran said.
He agreed with Bartlett that America needs to wean itself from oil, but said the veteran congressman has been ineffective in trying to bring about a solution.
Pooran is one of four Democrats who have taken steps toward running for the 6th District seat. The others are state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola, former Montgomery County Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg and entrepreneur John Delaney.
Besides Bartlett, the Republican field includes state Sen. David R. Brinkley and former state Sen. Alex X. Mooney, who have formed exploratory committees, and official candidates, Joseph T. Krysztoforski, Robin Ficker, Brandon Orman Rippeon and Robert Coblentz.
Bud Otis recently resigned as Bartlett's chief of staff after word got out that Otis was gathering support for a possible campaign if Bartlett didn't run again.
Name: Dr. Milad L. Pooran
Date of birth: Jan. 8, 1977
Address: 3847 Shadywood Drive, Jefferson, Md.
Education: Bachelor's degree in biochemistry from University of Maryland College Park in 1995; medical doctorate from University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2000; internal medicine residency training at University of Maryland in Baltimore; waiting to defend thesis in pursuit of master's degree in health sciences.
Occupation: Critical-care physician at VA Medical Center near Martinsburg, W.Va.
Party affiliation: Democrat
Political experience: Ran unsuccessfully for Prince George's County Board of Education in 2006. Was deployed to Iraq, leaving him unable to campaign for much of the primary election season