Faddis talks tough in congressional run against Hoyer
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.