Editor's note: This is one in an occasional series of profiles about candidates running for election in the 6th Congressional District.
As a single parent, Charles Bailey said he's concerned about the educational future for his 6-year-old son.
As a combat medic with the Army National Guard's 29th Light Infantry Division, Bailey believes it's time for American troops to come home from Afghanistan.
"The sacrifice of young lives, and two billion dollars a month, is too much to give in building an economy on the other side of the world when we need to rebuild the economy here in the Sixth District," Bailey, a Democrat, wrote in an email about why he is running for Congress.
"The Taliban and al-Qaeda have been neutralized," Bailey said in an interview. "I don't believe in posted timetables, but our mission is complete."
Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., is running for an 11th term in the 6th Congressional District. His Republican challengers are state Sen. David R. Brinkley, state Del. Kathryn L. Afzali, former Del. Robin Ficker, Joseph T. Krysztoforski, Robert Coblentz, Brandon Orman Rippeon and Peter James.
Besides Bailey, the rest of the Democratic field includes state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola, John Delaney, Dr. Milad L. Pooran and Ron Little.
The primaries will be April 3, and the general election Nov. 6.
Bailey is waging a small-budget campaign in a crowded field, but is hoping his message will catch on and spread.
The next 6th District representative will have many tough decisions, but cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid shouldn't be an option, he said.
While running for president in 2000, Democrat Al Gore said he'd keep Social Security "in a lockbox."
"It's too late," Bailey said in a recent interview. "If you open that box now, it's full of IOUs."
Bailey said he remembers when Washington County and other parts of the 6th District were booming with blue-collar jobs.
"The past 20 years of neglect has brought a net decrease in those jobs," he said.
He suggested that idle manufacturing plants be converted into plants to make products supporting alternative energy, such as windmills.
"America will rebuild out of this slump," he said.
Bailey said he didn't like that when Bartlett was asked about his most significant contribution in Congress, he replied that the better question is what he voted against.
"That is cold comfort for the desperate people who could not pay their mortgage or feed their children," Bailey said.
Western Maryland needs representation, and the established challengers from the eastern part of the district are "too comfortable," he said.
"I have no doubt this is a longshot," Bailey said. "My rivals are honorable, people of good character. I admire them for their dedication and intent. But they are disconnected with the real issues of voters.
"I heat my home with wood because residential heating oil costs up to $3.84 a gallon, and rises every year," Bailey wrote in an email. "Experience taught me to use only seasoned oak. Other hardwoods burn as well, but oak leaves about one-tenth of the ash."
Candidate at a glance
Name: Charles Bailey
Date of birth: July 29, 1960
Address: 2316 Dargan Road
Education: Bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1990; law degree from George Mason University School of Law in 1994
Occupation: Assistant public defender handling felony jury trials in Washington County; planning to resign in February to focus on his campaign
Party affiliation: Democrat
Political experience: First run for public office