Five Democratic candidates in the 6th Congressional District race gathered Wednesday night to discuss hot-button issues at the Bernard W. Brown Community Center.
The Maryland primary will be held April 3.
Thirteen candidates are running for the 6th District seat. The Democratic candidates — Charles Bailey, John Delaney, Rob Garagiola, Ron Little and Milad Pooran — are running against eight Republicans.
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican, is seeking his 11th two-year term. Finding a way to beat Bartlett became a central theme during the forum.
The forum became lively when the candidates were asked about their plans to bridge the gap between Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Each candidate said they were confident about working with Republicans, but Pooran said that political unity needs to start with the Democrats running in the 6th District.
“I think that right now, the other opponents in this race are busy cutting each other down while we are focusing on beating Roscoe in November,” Pooran said.
Delaney touted his ability to create jobs, while Garagiola reminded the crowd about his accomplishments as a state senator.
“The proudest moment I’ve had in the last 10 years was last Thursday night,” Garagiola said of the same-sex-marriage bill being passed. “I think we have the best state in the country and I am very proud of what we have done.”
Little said his top issue in the race for a congressional seat is education. When asked about education reform, Little said he was for opting out the No Child Left Behind policy introduced during theGeorge W. Bushadministration.
“We can’t teach our children to the test, we have to teach our children to be creative,” Little said.
As the forum continued, the candidates were asked about immigration policy. While all candidates said they agreed with diversity, it was Bailey who put his stance on the issue simply.
“Those are good people, and we should be proud to call them neighbors,” Bailey said.
Final comments from each candidate allowed them a final opportunity to shine a spotlight on their priorities.
Garagiola unintentionally provoked laughter from the crowd when he said, “Roscoe Bartlett was tea party before there was a tea party.”