Friday, April 12, 2013

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger Discusses Potential 2014 Bid for Governor with Maryland Juice

Earlier this week, Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodricks reported that Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger was weighing a surprise run for Maryland Governor in 2014. Maryland Juice found out firsthand that the rumors are true!

DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER TALKS TO MARYLAND JUICE ABOUT 2014 GOVERNOR'S RACE - Below Maryland Juice provides an exclusive interview with Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger about his exploration of a 2014 gubernatorial campaign. We asked Rep. Ruppersburger several questions about the basic contours of his race:
  1. Why did you decide to start exploring the 2014 Governor's race?
  2. Have you set a timeline for making a decision?
  3. Would you consider being the running-mate of one of the existing candidates? 
  4. Can you compete in fundraising this late in the game?


STOP CISPA: FLOOR VOTE WEDNESDAY: I should note that I was actually in Rep. Ruppersberger's office to discuss my concerns with his cybersecurity bill CISPA, but after a lengthy debate over that issue, I think the Congressman and I will have to agree to disagree. The bill's stated intent is to stop malicious "hackers," but it attempts to do so by overriding all existing online privacy laws and allowing companies (like Google, Facebook, and Twitter) to voluntarily share information with law enforcement agencies and defense contractors. In exchange, these companies are granted immunity from lawsuits.

The ACLU notes: "CISPA is a proposed law that would give companies unprecedented power to hand your personal information from the internet, including from private communications, over to government agencies without a warrant."

Granted most reasonable people want to protect the U.S. power grid and stop malicious hacking, but on the balance of things, Americans increasingly prioritize online privacy. Last year every Democratic House member from Maryland voted against CISPA (except for bill sponsor Rep. Ruppersberger), and President Obama threatened to veto the legislation.

The U.S. House is scheduled to vote on the proposal next Wednesday, and Maryland Juice hopes to see last year's CISPA opponents continue their opposition: Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. John Sarbanes, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen. We also hope that Rep. John Delaney will join the majority of his Democratic colleagues in affirming last year's opposition to CISPA.
Okay, I'm jumping off my soapbox now, and I'll admit that in spite of my disagreements over this issue, Dutch Ruppersberger (a self-described moderate Democrat) seems like a nice enough guy. Moreover, I appreciate that he provided the opportunity for me to air some concerns with the legislation.

More on the 2014 Governor's race soon!

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