Fad­dis talks tough in con­gres­sional run against Hoyer

Maryland Independent - - News - By TA­MARA WARD tward@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @CalRecTAMARA

Re­tired CIA agent and for­mer U.S. Army of­fi­cer Sam Fad­dis (R) has filed to run for Mary­land’s 5th con­gres­sional dis­trict seat. Fad­dis, a David­sonville res­i­dent, is one of two Repub­li­cans run­ning for the seat cur­rently oc­cu­pied by U.S. House Mi­nor­ity Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th).

Fad­dis, a po­lit­i­cal new­comer, re­tired from the CIA in 2008 af­ter 20 years of ser­vice.

“If you are a mem­ber of a clan­des­tine or­ga­ni­za­tion, there is a lit­tle bit of a ten­sion be­tween talk­ing pub­licly and stay­ing inside ... so I made a de­ci­sion to get out,” said Fad­dis of his de­sire to tackle is­sues at a na­tional level.

Af­ter talk­ing the talk and rec­om­mend­ing to oth­ers to im­ple­ment change, Fad­dis said now is the time for him to get on the field and put his hands di­rectly on the is­sues.

Na­tional se­cu­rity is a top is­sue for the for­mer op­er­a­tive who worked un­der­cover in South Asia. Fad­dis re­called the var­i­ous tech­niques ter­ror­ists have used abroad to in­clude the use of com­mon in­dus­trial-strength prod­ucts such as chlo­rine to ini­ti­ate at­tacks on the pub­lic.

He ex­pressed con­cern about the re­cent foiled planned at­tack on the nu­clear plant in Brus­sels.

“This is not just what is hap­pen­ing in Brus­sels or Syria or Iraq. This is an im­me­di­ate is­sue here be­cause we have seen these threats ma­te­ri­al­ize at home,” said Fad­dis. “That threat ex­ists right down the road in Calvert County [at Calvert Cliffs Nu­clear Power Plant], if we don’t do our job and keep it se­cure.

“You need to se­cure all crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­tures. I would start with the crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture that pose an im­me­di­ate threat to life and limb,” he strate­gized. “A nu­clear power plant can be melted down. That’s not just shut­ting off the power sys­tem; that is a di­rect threat.”

The can­di­date is also very con­cerned about the sta­tus of U.S bor­ders.

“[It’s] not just a na­tional se­cu­rity is­sue; it’s an im­me­di­ate eco­nomic is­sue,” said Fad­dis. “We are com­pet­ing with folks for jobs that will work for less than the min­i­mum wage. That’s tough to com­pete [with].”

Fad­dis said he is dis­mayed with the U.S. econ­omy, Congress and the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­abil­ity to ac­knowl­edge a prob­lem and fix it.

“I don’t care what Wash­ing­ton says — we are not in a re­cov­ery. Peo­ple do not feel se­cure. The mid­dle class is un­der siege. Peo­ple are work­ing three jobs with no ben­e­fits to main­tain their life­style that they used to main­tain with one job,” Fad­dis stated.

“We are drown­ing in debt,” he stressed. “Sooner or later, whether we like it or not, we are go­ing to hit the wall where the fed­eral gov­ern­ment can­not meet its obli­ga­tions.”

Round­ing out his top is­sues is ed­u­ca­tion. Fad­dis be­lieves ed­u­ca­tion should be en­tirely left up to the state and county ju­ris­dic­tions, but feels the big hand of gov­ern­ment is wedg­ing its way into lo­cal af­fairs.

“[With] the tra­jec­tory we are fol­low­ing now, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, via things like Com­mon Core, is in ef­fect ‘not so’ grad­u­ally tak­ing con­trol of that sys­tem,” said Fad­dis.

He said he finds fault with the prac­tice of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment award­ing huge amounts of money to the school sys­tems that im­ple­ment the ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tive, and not pro­vid­ing fund­ing to those that opt not to use it.

“I don’t have a prob­lem with Com­mon Core in the sense of com­ing up with a set of stan­dards and mak­ing them avail­able and letting peo­ple eval­u­ate them and pick and choose,” said Fad­dis. “It is the man­dat­ing from the cen­ter of one set of stan­dards and the cur­ricu­lum that goes with it [which] makes no sense to me. I refuse to be­lieve that Wash­ing­ton, D.C., knows bet­ter than Mary­land, Mis­sis­sippi and Mon­tana what their kids need.”

“The peo­ple of Calvert County know bet­ter what their kids need, what the is­sues are, how their kids learn best,” he said. “I just trust the par­ents, the ed­u­ca­tors and the school board mem­bers be­fore I will trust a hand­ful of peo­ple in one bu­reau­cracy in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.”

Part of his voter strat­egy goes well be­yond the closed pri­mary by tar­get­ing those Democrats and con­stituents in ar­eas of­ten ne­glected by his party.

“As a Repub­li­can can­di­date fac­ing re­al­ity, we’ve got to work the whole dis­trict, which is not just places that are friendly to Repub­li­cans, but places like Prince Ge­orge’s that is not friendly to Repub­li­cans, or Repub­li­cans have not been friendly to [it],” Fad­dis said.

He rec­og­nizes Prince Ge­orge’s County, which has nearly 200,000 vot­ers in the 5th dis­trict, has been hit harder than any other por­tion of the dis­trict. He be­lieves the cen­tral is­sues in Prince Ge­orge’s, eco­nomic is­sues and jobs, cross party lines.

And while Fad­dis is work­ing the en­tire dis­trict, he knows if he wants to un­seat Hoyer, he has to go where the in­cum­bent has a real strong hold.

“I tell peo­ple in St. Mary’s and Calvert all the time … if I can only be in one place, and I’ve got two to be [in], and one of them is Prince Ge­orge’s, I’m sorry: I will be in Prince Ge­orge’s. That will ul­ti­mately de­cide this elec­tion.”

Fad­dis has some tough talk about the in­cum­bent and the frus­tra­tion of the con­stituents.

“I think the peo­ple of the 5th Dis­trict are fed up with the sta­tus quo,” he said, re­fer­ring to Hoyer.

Fad­dis said Hoyer has tremen­dous ad­van­tages, in­clud­ing huge name recog­ni­tion, a lot of money and a lot of fa­vors to call in. While he ac­knowl­edged it is not go­ing to be an easy fight, he does be­lieve he can win.

“I got into the fight think­ing it was winnable. I’ve been work­ing on the ground, build­ing the foun­da­tion for a year. I am more con­vinced that it is winnable,” he af­firmed.

Know­ing he has an up­hill bat­tle, if he wins the April 26 pri­mary against Mark Ar­ness of Port Re­pub­lic, Fad­dis faces his Novem­ber op­po­nent with a good mea­sure of hu­mor, as­sum­ing Hoyer wins the Demo­cratic pri­mary.

“I did not get in this [race] so af­ter­wards peo­ple could say, ‘Hey, Sam — you did a bet­ter job los­ing to Steny than any­body else did be­fore,’” chuck­led Fad­dis. “I didn’t come here to be the 17th guy who has his head on a pole out­side of Steny Hoyer’s house. That is not my plan.”

In ad­di­tion to four years ac­tive duty in the Army, Fad­dis served nearly six years in the U.S. Army Re­serves as a JAG of­fi­cer, af­ter com­plet­ing law school. In the years be­tween the Army and CIA, he said he worked in Wash­ing­ton state as as­sis­tant at­tor­ney general and coun­sel for the Depart­ment of Corrections. Since his re­tire­ment, he has done con­tract­ing work and taught coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence at lo­cal col­leges.

STAFF PHOTO BY TA­MARA WARD

Fad­dis

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