Eastport resident Eric Knowles wants to represent Maryland's 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he wants your vote.
As a Republican, Knowles faces a big challenge. The 3rd District, which stretches from Annapolis to Baltimore County, is considered safely Democratic. In 2010—a particularly difficult year for both incumbents and Democrats—Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) retained the seat with 60 percent of the vote, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.
Why He's Running
If Knowles wins this November, it will be the first elected office that he's ever held. He currently works as a bartender at the in the .
He decided to run for office because he said he sees a loss in civil liberties, and an economy in runaway inflation.
"I have a 10-year-old daughter. I don’t want to have to see her live in a world that doesn’t have the same gifts that we were given," Knowles said. "It’s sad that we would squander these things."
He went on to explain what he considers "gifts."
"I’m an Air Force veteran, and I swore an oath to protect the Constitution," he said. "When the U.S. government violates the constitution, they are the domestic enemy that I swore to protect the Constitution against."
He believes the Patriot Act violates Americans' Fourth Amendment rights and that the National Defense Act violates the Fifth Amendment. If elected, he would work to repeal both.
Knowles' current job doesn't provide him health care, and it's not something he can afford on his own either. He said he knows people would think that puts him in the pro-Affordable Care Act camp, but those people are mistaken.
"It strips away our rights as individuals," Knowles said. "This particular law is the most heinous type of taxation we have ever seen in our country because we are now taxed on a product we do not buy rather than being taxed on products we do buy."
He said his health care plan is watching what he eats and running four times a week. When he runs, Knowles wears a campaign sign strapped to his arm. He said it's another way of getting his message out there.
Knowles said he doesn't think gay marriage should be a federal or even a state issue.
"The government should not be involved with marriage heterosexual or homosexual," Knowles said.
He thinks it should be left to each religion and each congregation to decide what types of marriages they recognize.
Knowles has a strong opinion about taxes.
"I think that progressive income tax is the most horrendous and denigrating tax that there is out there," he said. "It should be abolished completely and replaced with constitutional excise taxes. No one should be taxed on their income period."
Knowles' job as a bartender is something he plans to keep if elected. He said he promised the Chop House he would try to serve drinks twice a month.
"Gotta keep in touch with your roots," Knowles said. "I would definitely make my best effort to live up to that."
When asked whether his education and experience have prepared him for the job of U.S. Representative, Knowles responded with two main points.
"One, a government that does less is better for you," he said. "Two, I’m not a politician that has worked his way through the ranks, so I haven’t had to compromise my values."
He responded generally about his education.
"The Constitution was written so that farmers could understand it at the time, it doesn’t take a Harvard graduate to do this," he said. "It seems to me that Harvard graduates are messing it up more than people who have normal jobs and have normal educations."
Sarbanes, his opponent, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988.
Knowles said if you remember only one thing about who he would be as a representative, it should be this:
"You’ll hear a lot of things from my opponent that are completely outside of his job description and basically works more towards his own power," Knowles said. "If it’s outside of the bounds of Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, then I will work to repeal and scale down those things."
For more information about Eric Knowles, click here to visit his campaign website.