Jacobs challenges incumbent for congressional seat
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 14:37

State senator looks to go to Washington

by Ben Boehl

    She may be fighting the odds as a Republican challenging a five-term Democratic imcumbent in a majority-Democratic district, but state Sen. Nancy Jacobs believes that she is the one who can unseat U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger.
    Jacobs, a longtime state legislator from Harford County, is the first “big name” candidate to challenge Ruppersberger since he first won the 2nd District seat by defeating former Rep. Helen Bentley in 2002.
    “I don’t think we are being represented well by our current congressman. I feel like he (Ruppersberger) doesn’t listen to his constituents,” Jacobs said. “I think (my experience) should make a difference. He is taking this race seriously.”
    Jacobs became the GOP nominee for the 2nd Congressional seat after defeating 7th District state Del, Rick Impallaria and former congressional aide Larry Smith in the April primary. She started her political career in the House of Delegates in 1995 and moved to the state Senate in 1999.
    While Jacobs is known as the senator from Harford County, the 2nd District consists of areas of eastern Baltimore County, northern Anne Arundel County and portions of Howard County. Jacobs said she has campaigned all over the district and has said she has great volunteers that help make her campaign grassroots.
    “Going to different meetings, people said they have seen more of me in the past 10 months than they’ve seen of him in the last 10 years,” she said of Ruppersberger
   

One of Jacob’s favorite and more frequent stops on the campaign trail is here in the Dundalk area. She noticed the area has fallen on tough times with the loss of jobs, especially with the closure of the Sparrows Point steel mill.
    “I like the people in Dundalk and the way they are. They are hard working and friendly,” Jacobs said. “They don’t want handouts. They want to work.”
    Speaking of eastern Baltimore County, Jacobs said she still hears from angry voters in the Middle River area after Ruppersberger supported a plan to give him the power of eminent domain to redevelop large pieces on the east side of the county, but voters rejected it in a referendum.
    “The people in Middle River remember Senate Bill 509, and I was the only senator to fight it,” Jacobs said.
    Despite that controversy, Jacobs agrees with most that Ruppersberger was a moderate Democrat while serving as Baltimore County Executive, but changed as he went to Washington.
    Jacobs  claims that Ruppersberger told constituents that he was going to vote against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but she said his vote for the bill was the result of a deal with Democratic leaders Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi regarding his position on the Intelligence Committee.
    [Ruppersberger was appointed to the House Intelligence Committee during his first term, several years before Barack Obama became president, and — in keeping with standard congressional practice — his current ranking-member status is a result of his seniority among Democrats on the committee.]
    “When he went to Washington, he became Washington,” Jacobs said.
    Jacobs faced some controversy of her own in 2003 when she voted for the Dream Act (a bill that allows in-state tuition discounts to the children of illegal immigrants) during the Ehrlich administration.
    Jacobs received criticism from her own party and addressed this controversy at the Republican congressional primary debate in March.
    “In 2003, I voted against it. It came back from the House and it was in the last days of session. I mistakenly voted for it,” she explained. “I had voted against it. I’m totally against it, but I made a mistake. I made a very honest mistake. I tried to change my vote when I realized what I have done, but the president of the Senate wouldn’t allow me to change it. I’m sorry I made that mistake.”
    According to the Federal Election Commission, Ruppersberger has significantly more cash to spend than Jacobs. That still doesn’t discourage the Harford County senator. She believes in her grassroots strategy and her volunteers.
    “I’m an outspoken individual who does what they think is right.”