The comments came during a U.S. Senate candidates forum hosted by the Hagerstown Tea Party at “Next” Dimensions restaurant, bar, event center and catering on Old National Pike near Funkstown.
Any of the candidates running for Cardin’s seat were invited to participate in the forum, and nine of the 19 candidates seeking to unseat the longtime incumbent participated, said Don Hineman, president of the Hagerstown Tea Party.
Cardin, a Democrat, did not attend.
Candidates talked about how to control the size and role of the federal government after they were asked which cabinet positions they would eliminate and which federal departments they would combine.
People in the audience were invited to write down questions, which were then presented to the candidates and the question was among a list which were aired.
Republican Daniel John Bongino said the problem with the federal government is there are more than 20 law-enforcement entities that investigate the same crimes.
Bongino accused the groups of setting up “fiefdoms” in government. Bongino said the groups fight to protect their territory because their funding is “not their money.”
Republican Robert “Bro” Broadus said he agreed with Bongino’s assessment, noting that waste in federal government must be reduced.
Republican Richard J. Douglas said no federal government agency should be free from scrutiny. Douglas told the estimated 90 people in attendance that voters have to send the right people to the U.S. Senate who “have a backbone.”
Meanwhile, Democrat Chris Garner took aim at the U.S. Department of Education, saying the agency has never taught a student anything. Garner also said the federal government has to be rebuilt from the bottom up.
Republican Rick Hoover agreed that the Education Department must go. Hoover said every branch of the government can be reduced in some way, and federal pension plans also need scrutiny.
In answering the question about how he might reduce government, Republican John B. Kimble proposed a revenue-enhancing plan of raising taxes on everyone making more than $500,000 a year.
“Sit down,” someone yelled from the audience. “We’ve already heard enough of that,” the spectator said.
Republican David Jones, a carpenter from Baltimore, said federal government waste needs to be cut before taxes are raised.
Republican Corrogan R. Vaughn said he would not combine any federal departments. Vaughn railed against the prospect of the price of gas possibly reaching $5 a gallon, proclaiming “drill here, drill now.”
Democrat Lih Young criticized the abuse of power and emphasized liberty and freedom.
“You should prosper yourself,” Young said.
Nine Republicans and 10 Democrats, including Cardin, will be on the ballot for the April 3 primaries.