Reader appreciation for Election 2016: Be Aware, Care (Carroll Magazine, June/July 2016 issue) inspired us to go back to Matthew Helminiak, who chairs the county’s Republican Central Committee, and Don H. West, who chairs the county’s Democratic Central Committee, to solicit their feedback about the presidential candidates. We asked them to fill in the space provided using the same font (Times New Roman) and the same size (12 point font).  We also agreed to run their responses “as is” – unedited without verification of points each opted to make. The goals:  Raise awareness, inspire readers to research more, and inspire readers to vote.

Donald Trump by Matt Helminiak

GUNS  Candidate Trump has stated that he is pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment. He has received the endorsement of the NRA. Unlike candidate Clinton whose first reaction is to blame the guns for gun violence, Trump blames the criminals and terrorists. We have seen recent incidents using trucks, knives, and pressure cookers and they are no more to blame for the violence than the guns are. We need to focus more on preventing terrorism by keeping terrorists out of the US and disrupting plots before they happen. The Democrats’ focus on guns as the source of violence is naive and excuses the criminals.

TRADE  Traditional Republican platform is pro-free trade. Candidate Trump has criticized NAFTA and other trade deals as poorly negotiated and not in our country’s best interests. Free trade benefits everyone, but many recent deals have resulted in the US lowering trade barriers and other countries like China keeping their markets closed to US products. Trump has promised to renegotiate our trade deals. This will not, however, result in manufacturing jobs magically returning to cities like Detroit. Unless our taxes, regulations, wages and union deals are competitive on a global scale, those jobs will never return.

FOREIGN POLICY  The Iran deal begun under Clinton’s State Department will go down as one of the worst foreign policy disasters in our lifetime. The “Arab Spring” on Hillary’s watch resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, including the four Americans in Benghazi. We cannot allow a President Hillary to bungle foreign policy like she bungled it as Secretary of State. Her unsecured email server may have cost the lives of American assets overseas and she can’t be trusted with our security. She put her own convenience and desire to hide her emails over national security – we cannot reward that deceit with a promotion.

IMMIGRATION  Trump has been critical of the Obama administration’s lack of enforcement of our border security allowing millions of people to enter without anything more than a walk across an empty border. Controlled immigration is healthy for us, but we need to know who is coming in and why. We need to be able to keep terrorists out. When someone wants to enter our country, they should be vetted and we should be able to know if they mean to do us harm. People who support Sharia law over US law, for example, should not be allowed to walk into the United States. Nor should ISIS members disguised as Central Americans.

EDUCATION  Candidate Trump has criticized Common Core and said that we need to return control of our education system back to the states. He has also spoken in favor of Charter Schools and school choice. It is inhumane to force children who want to learn to go to sub-standard and unsafe schools. Charter Schools and school choice have shown the best results for achieving this goal in cities like New York and Washington DC and they should be available everywhere, not just to the rich and famous. Hillary Clinton sent her child to a private school, so why shouldn’t other parents have the same choice?

ENVIRONMENT  Both parties agree that we want clean air and clean water. Where we disagree is how to get there. Technology that allows safer and cleaner coal mining should be allowed and encouraged. Putting coal miners out of business and hoping that wind and solar fill in the gaps is not a solution. When we have summer days where BGE has to turn off our air conditioning it means we need more power supply, and windmills that kill thousands of endangered birds and bats are doing more harm than good.

ECONOMIC PROPOSALS  Donald Trump believes we need to do a better job negotiating our trade deals, need to cut burdensome regulations, lower our corporate tax rates, and make America a leader in the world again. Democrat run cities and states are worse off now than ever. Crime and violence are growing because of hopelessness in our cities. People are desperate for real change, not slogans. Trump can be that change. Hillary Clinton put United States foreign policy up for the highest bidder through the corrupt Clinton Foundation. She is the most corrupt candidate in at least the last century and cannot be trusted to do what is right for Americans.

SAME SEX MARRIAGE  Trump has been saying for many years that we have more important issues to worry about than who wants to marry whom. This is an issue that has been largely settled by Supreme Court decisions and it’s time we move on to the bigger issues that are holding us back. There are many people who disagree about Same Sex Marriage and Abortion, but those are issues that belong with the States and not the business of the Federal Government. What Trump has said is that it’s ironic that Candidate Clinton takes money from foreign governments like Saudi Arabia and supports negotiations with countries like Iran where gays are punished by hanging and being thrown off of buildings; where women are not allowed to drive or speak freely; and where young girls are subject to mutilation. We need to respect the basic human rights of all people and encourage basic human rights around the world.

ABORTION  Candidate Trump has said he is Pro-Life, but that the issue belongs in the States and is not the business of the federal government.

WILD CARD  Please give your votes for Senate and House equal consideration as they are both competitive races in Carroll for the first time in many of our lifetimes. Kathy Szeliga is a solid businesswoman running against career politician Chris Van Hollen for Senate. Dan Cox is running for Van Hollen’s vacant House seat. And let’s remember after the election is over we have big problems to solve that will not be fixed quickly or easily. Our debt, health care, crime in our cities and the heroin epidemic took years to get this bad and will take years to solve. Anyone who promises easy solutions is probably not telling you the truth.


Hillary Clinton by Don H. West


Secretary Clinton is in favor of common sense gun safety regulations, including mandatory background checks and closing loopholes in our current system, as well as enforcing laws currently in effect. She opposes the sale of military-style weapons, but favors the rights of sportsmen and individuals to keep and bear arms. She is against terrorists’ and other criminals’ ability to purchase and carry weapons. Also, she understands that as written, the 2nd Amendment is not a personal right. Here it is in its entirety, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

TRADE  Unlike her opponent who wants to tear up our existing trade agreements and unilaterally renegotiate them, Secretary Clinton understands trade is a complex issue. She recognizes the need for strong agreements on trade in the global economy, and she will do her best to promote the rights and priorities of American workers on the international stage. She recognizes the need to balance trade with maintaining our national security and the interests of our trading partners, and she will never dehumanize or disrespect those trading partners.

FOREIGN POLICY  As a former Secretary of State, US Senator and First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton possesses a unique set of qualifications and experiences that will allow her to immediately assume her position as a world leader, commanding respect and admiration from other world leaders and nations through their shared experience. Her intelligence, empathy and experience will no doubt serve her well as issues arise during her term as President.  Rather than eliciting envy from bullies and dictators around the globe, she commands their respect.

IMMIGRATION  Clinton favors comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship, similar to what has been proposed by Republicans Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, and supported by 2/3’s of US voters. She knows that building a wall on our southern border, forcing another country to pay for it,
and deporting millions of people is impossible and irresponsible. She will never accept xenophobia as a basis for immigration policy.

EDUCATION  As a mother and grandmother, Clinton understands the importance of a strong public education system that will prepare our children for the future. She favors making college debt-free and recognizes the need to address the burden of existing college debt. Above all, she recognizes that education is the key to our nation’s and its citizens’ long-term success.

ENVIRONMENT  Clinton understands the importance of science and its place in formulating sensible public policies. She acknowledges the effects of climate change and knows that we must address them; she knows our future depends on the development of clean, renewable energy; and she understands the importance of protecting wildlife, habitat and our precious natural resources (including air and water) from exploitation and degradation.

ECONOMIC PROPOSALS  Clinton favors a fair tax system where the wealthy pay their fair share instead of benefiting from additional tax giveaways. She believes in and will fight for the rights of workers and labor, and she is committed to protecting working families and our middle class. She will continue working to improve our nation’s healthcare system, and she will protect our senior citizens by preserving and strengthening Medicare and Social Security.

SAME SEX MARRIAGE  Like many Americans, Hillary Clinton’s position has evolved over time, and she now favors Marriage Equality, which also happens to be the law now in this country. She would never support any law that gives individuals or businesses the right to discriminate or deny service to any citizen because of who they are or whom they love.

ABORTION  As President, Hillary Clinton is committed to keeping abortion safe, legal and rare. It is important to note that abortion rates are at the lowest they have been in over 40 years. Making abortion illegal has no effect on the total number of abortions performed, but keeping abortion legal dramatically reduces maternal morbidity and mortality. Providing safe, accessible and effective birth control reduces unwanted pregnancies and therefore, the incidence of abortions; it also greatly improves women’s overall health.

WILD CARD  Hillary Clinton has the life experience, proven composure under pressure, and the intelligence and empathy to be an excellent President. She is a tireless worker, and she knows what it takes to get a difficult job done. She is a uniter, not a divider; and, dare I say, she is a woman. It is long past the time to have a qualified woman as our President.