Cumberland Times-News

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December 5, 2007

Candidate looks to create opportunities

CUMBERLAND - Jennifer Dougherty is hoping her City Hall and entrepreneurial experience - along with the ability to listen - will lead her through the Democratic primary for the 6th Congressional District.

Dougherty, Frederick's first elected female mayor and a business owner there since 1987, is hoping voters give her the chance to listen to their concerns. She'll turn that around, she said, and offer her constituents the chance to pursue their own dreams.

If elected, she said, "It's my job to make sure people have opportunities."

She spoke Tuesday in an interview at the Times-News building. Dougherty, 46, is one of five Democratic challengers hoping ultimately to unseat eight-term Republican incumbent Roscoe Bartlett.

Dougherty covered a variety of topics, including her belief in universal health care, the war in Iraq, her favorite presidential candidate and economic development opportunities in Western Maryland. She also addressed the challenges of sustaining a legitimate Democratic campaign in a Republican stronghold - and attempting to be the first woman to hold the seat since Beverly Byron left office in 1993.

She said she chose to run at Byron's suggestion, calling both her and Sen. Hillary Clinton "kindred spirits." Dougherty said the three together understand the difficulties of being a woman in a male-dominated society. She said she'd like to see the day when people are addressed by what they do or who they are, "not what they're wearing."

"I think I can do a good job," said Dougherty, who defeated two-term incumbent Republican Mayor Jim Grimes in 2001.

Dougherty won the seat, in part, due to Grimes' handling of an infamous "black book" scandal - a list of well-known clients of a local escort service and the lack of information made available to the public. Once mayor, Dougherty held weekly news conferences to keep media outlets informed of current events.

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