The shape of the newly redrawn third congressional district meanders from northwest Baltimore County, through parts of Baltimore City, into Howard and Anne Arundel counties, and down into Montgomery County.

With nearly 110,000 new constituents, the district represents a challenge to the person that would represent it in Congress. The AFRO believes incumbent Rep. John Sarbanes (D) is the best choice.

The Towson resident faces Republican challenger Eric Knowles, a U.S. Air Force veteran and bartender from Annapolis. Knowles’ platform focuses on restoring civil liberties, which he says has been lost with enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the 2012 National Defense Authorization act; stripping the Federal Reserve of its monetary oversight and giving it to Congress and reducing services on the federal level to discourage illegal immigration, among other measures.

Sarbanes has been a quiet but effective force on Capitol Hill. For example, in the Affordable Care Act, Sarbanes injected a measure that would assess workforce capacity, recognizing a well-trained labor force as essential to a high-delivery health care system. He also pushed for incentives for medical students entering fields of shortage, including scholarships and loan forgiveness programs.

Similarly, he authored legislation to create the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Option, which forgives student loan debt after 10 years of work by a graduate in public service or non-profit jobs such as teachers, nurses and first responders.

Sarbanes also recently authored legislation to counter the influence of corporations in campaigns, and championed measures to revive the manufacturing industry, to beat back state efforts to marginalize minority voters and to protect the Chesapeake Bay, a key Maryland resource.

For these reasons, the AFRO endorses Rep. John Sarbanes for Maryland’s third Congressional District.