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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Harris comes to Berlin

 BERLIN — The campaign season got under way this weekend as Rep. Andy Harris stopped by the Berlin Coffee House for a meet-and-greet with about 50 constituents. As Harris moved around the room, people talked politics among themselves and prepared questions.

The recent redistricting in Maryland, he said, would likely benefit him in his re-election bid but Harris made an appeal for other Republican candidates especially whomever emerges as the Republican presidential nominee.

“We need to take the country back,” he said.

Ocean Pines resident Pat Schrawder said she came out primarily to show her support from Harris but also wanted to confirm some things she had heard about the most recent session of congress.

“I heard the House passed 15 pieces of legislation that were languishing in the Senate,” she said. “I wanted to know if that was correct.”

According to Harris it was mostly correct. He said the House passed 17 pieces of legislation aimed at reducing regulation and changing environmental policy but that the Senate had yet to address them.

Harris sees reducing regulation as a key to economic growth. He said that the amount of regulations have become too unwieldy and that business owners can’t know whether they are in violation of new policies or not, given the number that have been published in recent years.

For his part, Harris said he has proposed putting a three-year moratorium on any new regulation and he said it is beginning to gain support among his colleagues.

Harris also made several points about environmental policy, including continuing the call for opening the Artic National Wildlife Refuge for exploration. According to Harris, the Alaskan pipeline needs to pump 1 million gallons of oil per day to remain optimally operative. It now pumps just over 500,000. The problem, he said, was that with so little oil coming through it, gasoline has to be added to the oil just to make it viscous enough to flow.

Beyond oil, Harris said policies could be changed or finessed to focus more on natural gas. He expressed disappointment that Maryland did not allow the kind of exploitation of potential natural gas holdings that neighboring Pennsylvania did but said he believed that the refusal to get at those holdings did not completely eliminate the state’s chances of being a beneficiary.

Harris said he envisioned a future where Maryland ports became a bigger player in exporting the gas extracted in neighboring states.

Coleman Bunting who had also come primarily as a show of support — “Wherever Andy is I want to be,” he said — was pleased to hear Harris speak on natural gas, which was one of the issues he had hoped to hear addressed. Another was taxes, which Harris covered as well.

From his perspective, raising taxes on the super wealthy is a mistake for several reasons. As the nation’s primary business owners and private employers, those who earn the most money would likely curtail economic growth, particularly jobs, if they were required to pay more taxes, Harris said.

Harris also charged that if there was a tax increase on the top 1 percent it would become a slippery slope wherein tax rates would be raised for everyone, not only the very rich. Harris said that the best solution was spending cuts and regulation reduction. He said he believed that the government cannot create jobs and that it should make it easier for businesses to create them.

Ocean Pines resident Anna Foultz asked Harris if he could have his staff make a better effort to communicate upcoming events, saying that she sometimes couldn’t make events because of short notice about them.

Although e-mails are sent well in advance of events, reminder phone calls, on which Foultz and others who don’t use e-mail depend, don’t give enough planning time. Harris said he would make a better effort to keep people informed about his events.