Charles Lollar is one of the two Republican candidates fighting to have the chance to take on House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Lollar is a younger, black Republican who was active in some of the earlier Tea Party protests in 2009. Lollar is a US Marine veteran who currently serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Lollar is also a member of the DC Chamber of Commerce. He previously served as Chairman of the Charles County Republican Central Committee and the Chairman of the Maryland GOP Taxpayers Commission. Lollar was willing to sit down and answer some of my questions from an email-interview. What follows are his answers.
Matthew Newman: What made you decide to challenge House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer?
Charles Lollar: Steny Hoyer has failed not just his district, but his country. When honored with positions of high congressional leadership as Majority Whip and now Majority Leader, he has squandered them completely. At one time, I credited him with potential to become a conservative Democrat. Over the last four years his political posturing has matched his party, not his district. He has led his party colleagues to take American into crushing debt, obliterated freedoms in health-care choice, left the failed government mortgage giants out of financial reform, and taken every opportunity to expand the role of the federal government in our lives.
MRN: How would you rate the incumbent?
CL: I would rate him as not representative of his district. He almost exclusively represents his party, not his constituents. The voting record shows he votes with his party 98 percent of the time. The voters of the fifth district deserve real representation for their interests and the priorities of their country.
MRN: How do you feel your experiences would help you if elected?
CL: I bring to the office of Congressman a full life in the real world of family, the economy, and national security. As a husband and father of four, I share with my constituents the honor and responsibility as family provider. As a business leader, I have created real private-sector jobs, instilling a deep understanding of the pulse of our nation’s economy. I have been on the front lines of national defense, responding to my nation’s call, as a Marine Corps veteran fighting for our nation’s values and vital interests. These experiences are vital to a key priority of restoring the role of the federal government back toward that envisioned by our founders.
MRN: If elected, what would be the first piece of legislation you would propose and why?
CL: My leading issues -- the economy, national security, and the constitution – will shape my early legislative priorities. My first choice of legislation could well be determined by the current Congress’s choices in the tax debate. There is no good time for a tax hike. However, with our economy and unemployment continuing under stress, this is the worst time for an increase. Mr. Hoyer is committed to ending the Bush tax rates, and increasing taxes on middle-class Americans. I will seek like-minded colleagues to sustain or lower taxes so workers can keep their dollars in their family budgets.
MRN: On your website, you mention that you want there to be common sense health care reforms. What are your thoughts on the recently passed health care legislation and what free market reforms would you propose?
CL: Recently passed health reform is a game-changer for American freedoms. As a massive expansion of the federal government role in individual health care, individual and doctor choice in health-care options are being given to government. Mr Hoyer would go to the mat to protect a women’s right to choose to end a pregnancy but contrarily give government the right to decide on hip-replacement surgery. I would restore consumer choices in health care so that patients, consulting their doctors, make the health decisions. We must also restore choice in health plans. Under the new law, we will not be able to keep our current plans, as promised, because the government will decide what is good enough for you. Both the young and old are harmed: the young by being forced into health-care insurance with rates that will subsidize the middle class; and the elderly by cutting into Medicare funds toward the same end. Reforms were passed against the wishes of the people and, since, support has seen steady decline. There is broad support to overturn this unconstitutional intrusion in our personal business.
MRN: On your website, you mention, "We must have transparency in the political process in order to know what Congress is doing and hold them accountable for their actions." How would this impact your legislative agenda?
CL: I would most importantly be accountable to the voters of the fifth district. These voters are my bosses. Every quarter I will hold a town hall in every county of my district. During those town halls I will post my voting record behind me so that everyone can see it and question me on why, or why not, I supported a bill. They must know, and will know, what I am doing in Washington. I will also use these town hall meetings to tap the rich wisdom of my constituents. Every meeting will be open to all as opposed to Mr Hoyer’s recent town hall where he selected those who could hear what their public representative had to say on the public’s business from those who could no. I will not practice such egregious secretive practices.
MRN: Candidates in Maryland are generally wary of discussing social issues. That said, what are your views on abortion?
CL: This is polarizing issue where the constituents of Maryland’s fifth district hold strong views. They should know that, in running to represent them, my view is pro-life. I will carry that perspective with me in policy and
legislative matters where any aspect of this question is in play. I hold that my constituent’s interests are best served by defending the right to life at, not just the beginning, but the end of life as well. On this basis, I will seek to move forward. The real battle is for the heart to make positive and correct choices to include abstinence, bearing children in marriage, and adoption.
MRN: What are your thoughts on the immigration debate surrounding the recently passed immigration related legislation in Arizona?
CL: This challenge is not just about immigration but includes national defense, jobs, fair trade, and the world economy. We must first not lose sight of the human dimension of this issue which touches all of us. Policies which attract illegal immigration, in contravention to law, by providing welfare, health care, in-state tuition, and so on, just continue to attract more to come in an illegal status. Such contradictions are not fair to American citizens whose jobs and resources are displaced by the illegal population, nor are they fair to those are encouraged to come here illegally. Controlling our borders means stopping the flow through policy change and actual border protections. But there is more.
Mr Hoyer should listen. His support to labor-union agendas for protectionist trade policies has frankly encouraged illegal immigration. Through free trade, all economies grow. That particularly includes nations that are leading sources of illegal immigration. Returning to the human piece, people are overwhelmingly coming here for jobs. Without robust free trade, we diminish the ability of these economies to create the jobs that will keep people in their home countries. The unions are sadly actually hurting their members. They think, through trade protection, they are keeping jobs in America. Instead, millions come here illegally, work for less, bring down wage differentials and create greater competition with union labor. Given the laws, policies, practices, and incentives of many states and the federal government, I have much sympathy with Arizona’s struggle to protect its border and economy, control crime, and stem state-government expenses driven by illegal immigration.
MRN: The NAACP recently accused the Tea Party movement of "harboring racist elements that are a threat to our democracy." What is your opinion on this and the Tea Party movement in general?
CL: While every movement has a few “bad apples,” the factors driving me to run for office align well with the Tea Party movement. I have spoken at Tea Party events. For all those “Tea Party Patriots” in my district, I ask for their votes!
MRN: What is one thing you want to ensure that potential voters know about you / your candidacy?
CL: Voters should know that their interests in the economy, national security, and the constitution come first. When they elect me to represent them as their representative to Congress, these will be my priorities. For all those who share these priorities, tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members that I ask for their vote so we can restore the United States of America!
I thank Mr. Lollar for his honest answers to my questions and I wish him the best of luck in the primary. Even if he does not defeat Mr. Bailey in the primary, I hope this is not the last we hear of Charles Lollar; he's an outstanding speaker who clearly articulates conservative values. If you'd like to learn more, check out his official website here.
Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant