By Glynis Kazanjian
Dr. Milad Pooran, the candidate who views himself as the real progressive in the 6th Congressional District Democratic primary, is putting $200,000 of his own money into his campaign, with only 11 days remaining till the primary.
Favorable data from a poll conducted for the Pooran campaign by Public Policy Polling last week triggered the decision, said Pooran Campaign Manager Walter Ludwig.
“Internal polling conducted last week for our campaign shows that 39% of polled voters remain undecided and 55% of those who already support a candidate could change their minds,” Ludwig said.
The campaign will use the funding to purchase air time on television and to send out mailers.
Lack of polling data
Because of a shortage of public polling data, it’s hard to tell where any of the candidates really stand in the race.
“I have no doubt that the campaigns are polling, but such results are rarely released unless they show some commanding lead for the candidate,” said Todd Eberly, assistant professor of political science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “If a campaign is not sharing data it’s because the data does not show results that the campaign would want shared. I’d be willing to bet that the Delaney and Garagiola polls are showing a tight race and a lot of undecideds.”
The Pooran campaign held a tele-townhall Tuesday night in which over 4,000 people participated, Ludwig said. Social Security and Medicare, jobs, and the negative tone of the 6th district race were constant themes during the call, he said.
The campaign credits the large volume of callers with a recent robocall it used, highlighting endorsement of Pooran by former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean and the co-chairs of the Democratic Progressive Caucus in Congress.
In an endorsement statement, Dean said Pooran is “the only one true progressive in the Democratic primary, and only one candidate who can win in November.”
Banker John Delaney was endorsed this week by the Gazette newspapers, and Sen. Rob Garagiola was endorsed last by Progressive Maryland.
Immigrated from Iran at age 6
Pooran immigrated to the U.S. from Iran with his parents when he was six, and he said one of the reasons he got into the race was his fear that the American Dream was dying.
“I refuse to accept the end of the American Dream that brought our family to America,” Pooran said.
He cited the negative effects special interests and lobbyists are having on Congress and said there is a lack of leadership in the country.
“Leadership as a whole has been missing too much in Congress,” Pooran said. “Independent leadership is almost shunned. I will never be beholden to special interests.”
Pooran grew up in Prince George’s County where he attended public schools. He graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a degree in biochemistry and went to medical school at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
He completed his residency at University Hospital, Baltimore, and served two fellowships at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. He went on to work under Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, in Washington, D.C.
He said his father instilled in him the importance of civic service, dedication and a passion for knowledge.
He joined the Air National Guard in 1999, and has served in the Air Force reserves ever since. In January of this year, at the beginning of the primary, he was called away for a 5-week overseas deployment. As a member of the Critical Care Air Transport team, he flew critically injured soldiers from an air base in Germany to bases in the United States.
“The military is the best full-time part-time job I’ve ever hard,” Pooran said.
Wants single-payer system for health care
Part of Pooran’s desire to run for Congress includes his own dream to see that every American has access to affordable health care, including movement towards a single-payer system.
He also wants to make sure the United States honors promises made to its veterans, who he says largely come from the poorest counties in the country and often serve multiple deployments.
“If we can ask the bottom 10% to pay in blood, then we can ask the top 10% to pay in green,” Pooran said. “They’ve done well in the last 10 years, while these same folks have been protecting our security and national interest.”
Wealthy should pay fair share
And Pooran has no problem saying that he believes the wealthiest Americans should pay their fair share in taxes. He’d like to repeal the Bush tax cuts, keep child tax credits and marriage penalty exemptions, and create a surcharge on U.S. financial transactions to drive down speculation trading while creating a revenue stream to decrease the deficit.
He’d also like to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, a 1933 law that prohibited investment firms from also functioning as consumer bankers. The law was repealed during the Clinton Administration.
“The taxpayer should not be bailing out private shareholders’ investments,” Pooran said. “None of us like government regulation in our personal lives, … but if we hadn’t removed all those [financial] regulations, we probably could have avoided the worst parts of the crash in 2008.”
Pooran would also like to see country-of-origin labeling to promote U.S. agricultural products, capping commodity subsidies, making higher education more affordable and available to all, including enacting the Dream Act for immigrant children.
Pooran said he sees the same needs for citizens everywhere he’s lived – safe and secure neighborhoods, meaningful jobs, good schools, safe and healthy food and good health care.
Currently Pooran resides with his wife Amy in Jefferson and works in the Martinsburg, West Virginia veterans hospital serving western Maryland.