Hoeber on campaign trail, visits local plant

From right: Hunter Douglas employees Rob Pomeroy and Nikki Dorsey show Amie Hoeber, a Republican candidate for Maryland's 6th Congressional District seat, how the shutter panel on blinds work during a tour of the facility on Tuesday. Also pictured are Mark Epstein, Hoeber's husband and campaign manager, and Lisa McIndoe, manager of organizational development and community relations, Hunter Douglas.

Steve Bittner/Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Amie Hoeber believes President Donald Trump's decision to threaten North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with a bigger "nuclear button" on Twitter earlier this month sparked critical inter-Korean dialogue. 

"I think the administration's combination of being aggressive and being in favor of talks is exactly what has led to the current talks between North and South Korea," Hoeber, a Republican candidate for Maryland's 6th Congressional District seat, said Tuesday.

"They are talking today as we speak."

A former deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Army under President Ronald Reagan, this is Hoeber's second run for the congressional seat.

After losing to U.S. Rep. John Delaney by slightly more than 50,000 votes in 2016, she decided to try her luck again when Delaney announced he would not seek re-election in 2018 and would instead run for president in 2020.

"I replaced the shoes I wore out so I could do it again," Hoeber said. 

On Tuesday, Hoeber was back on the campaign trail as she toured the Hunter Douglas fabrication plant in the North Branch Industrial Park at Mexico Farms.

"This is probably the best organized factory I've ever seen," she said. 

Build in 2001, the 35-acre complex employs nearly 1,000 people, making it the third-largest employer in Allegany County.  

"Most of us sitting in this room are local," Lisa McIndoe, the company's manager of organizational development and community relations, said. "Born here, like it here, want to continue living here."

Hoeber said she supports more manufacturing plants like Hunter Douglas to increase economic development in rural areas like Western Maryland.

"Continuing to build on some of the things that are happening here," she said, "like this factory, like the resurgence of some of the coal mining. Just continuing to build economically."

Hoeber also pointed to manufacturing of defense equipment for economic prosperity.

"Remember," she said, "we buy uniforms, we buy radios, we buy all sorts of things for the military that are not airplanes and tanks."

Following the factory tour, Hoeber took questions from nearly two dozen Hunter Douglas employees, addressing topics such as net neutrality, gun control and how to secure a job with a criminal background. 

Hoeber, who's married to former telecommunications executive Mark Epstein, said the Federal Communications Commission's decision to allow internet providers to charge more for services will help to expand broadband in rural areas.

"I think that the decisions that have been made on (net neutrality) in the last few weeks have actually been good for you guys," she said, "because it will make it economically reasonable for companies like Verizon to be able to bring you more (broadband).

"Without that ability to charge some people more for what they use, the companies have been disincentivized to expand their broadband to places that are not necessarily economically users of internet.

If elected, Hoeber said she would locate an office in Cumberland.

"I think you guys out here in Western Maryland have been ignored for too long," she said, "and I want to represent the whole district. I won't be like the people who come out here once a year for Autumn Glory (parade)."

The 6th district includes all of Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties as well as portions of Montgomery and Frederick counties.

Follow staff writer Heather Wolford on Twitter @heatherbwolford.

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