- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 2, 2000

Health care businessman and Capitol Hill lobbyist Terry Lierman said he's a social progressive and fiscal conservative who is more in step with the Montgomery County, Md., district he wants to represent than his opponent, U.S. Rep. Constance A. Morella.
"This member has been coasting since there's been a Republican Congress," Mr. Lierman, a Democrat, said yesterday during an interview with reporters and editors at The Washington Times.
During that six-year period, Montgomery County "has not had one major transportation project funded," he said.
Mr. Lierman said he wants to see Congress commit more funding to mass transit in the Washington region, including the expansion of light rail, Metrorail and bus service and lines.
He said there's a need for a "dramatic" increase in bus service, as an issue of "fairness" for elderly and low-income residents. And he said he believes if buses run farther and more often, so that they save people time, many more people would use them.
But Mr. Lierman said he wants to shift budget priorities, opposes raising or cutting taxes, and backs spending increases only to shore up Social Security, Medicare and education. He advocates funding those increases with 20 percent of the surplus and using the remaining 80 percent to pay down the national debt.
The U.S. health care system is in a crisis, he said. To address the problem, he advocates a negotiated best-price discount on prescriptions for all Medicare beneficiaries as well as laws protecting physicians' and patients' rights.
He said those stances show that, although he has lobbied for pharmaceutical firms, he is "absolutely not beholden to the industry."
While he wants to ban the sale of new handguns, he said he would call only for licensing and registration of existing ones.
And he supports giving voters in the District of Columbia full representation in Congress, including full voting rights for the two senators and one representative they would have.
The District has one representative in the House who can vote in committee but not on the House floor and one nonvoting "shadow" senator.
He said the United States needs to pay its debt to the United Nations, get the U.N. more involved in "world order," and expand foreign aid for basic needs such as safe water supplies to create stability.
Mr. Lierman said he hasn't relied entirely on television ads, financed in part by $1.2 million of his own, to woo voters.
He said he followed the example of how U.S. Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, managed to connect with voters and win the New Hampshire presidential primary. Mr. Lierman scheduled kaffeeklatsches with voters, about 200 this spring, to build a base of more than 5,000 active supporters and 1,700 volunteers.
And he said he'd continue to run his campaign without "going negative" including responding to Mrs. Morella's comment that he was trying to buy the election by spending so much of his savings.

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