Open Letter to Congressman Andy Harris


On December 21, 2018, we received another periodic letter from Representative Andy Harris updating us on his current work in Congress. This full page letter included five paragraphs, four of which dealt with his “fight to defend the 2nd Amendment and advocate for our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.” This included discussions of bills he is cosponsoring: Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (which would allow someone from another State with concealed carry rights to carry those concealed weapons into Maryland) and Hearing Protection Act (which deals with issues relating to silencers); plus his fight against the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018.

While he again touted several ways to deal with gun violence, we have not actually seen any legislative efforts from him or other Republicans which actually take an aggressive stance on solving the on-going slaughter of our school children. According to a Washington Post article updated January 19, 2018, more than 220,000 children at 225 schools have been exposed to gun violence since 1999. This stunning number does not even take into account the massive number of students practicing active shooter drills throughout the US – including in our own congressional district. When will we read a letter from Representative Harris that includes any type of legislation which will actually tackle this horrifying problem?

While we recognize and support the right to keep and bear arms and the importance of owning weapons and the livelihood of hunting as an important aspect of the local way of life in this district – yes we love our venison steaks and goose breast chili-, we suggest Representative Harris spend more time listening to the students in our district who have walked out of their classrooms to bring increased attention to their right to attend classes without the fear of being shot by someone carrying an assault rifle into their schools.

Or, if Representative Harris actually visited our Congressional district and talk with some of his constituents, he might actually realize the importance of farm land and waterways which predominantly make of his district. Then, rather than voting against the “Farm Bill”, he would realize the importance of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 which provided funding for not only many programs that directly support our farmers but also provided millions of dollars for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

At the very least – we ask that Representative Harris get back to work and vote to reopen the government for your constituents who either work for the federal government and need those pay checks to pay for their own livelihoods or for your constituents who receive important services from those agencies that are closed. As retired, 30 year senior level federal employees, we never once came across a single issue for which the federal government needed to be closed.

John and Ellyn Vail


Letters to Editor

  1. Michael McDowell says

    Well said. Sadly, too many voters on either shore keep voting for Harris, despite his abysmal threadbare legislative record, and you get what you vote for which, in Harris’s case is a hard right anti-public sector ideologue who has never held a leadership position, a committee chairmanship, or successfully passed any serious legislation. Now Harris, a physician who hates Obamacare but pretended, dishonestly and hypocritically, in November, to protect pre-existing conditions, is in the minority and counts for nothing in the new Congress. His shameless shilling for Trump and astounding backing of neo-fascist (as John McCain rightly called him) Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary is appalling. “Dr. No/Dr. Do Little” is protected by a gerrymander which needs to be fixed fast and if it means there are two Republican seats out of 8 in Maryland, it is called democracy. Harris is an extremist and many of those who vote for him, the white working and middle classes, especially outside major towns, are voting against their own economic interests on multiple fronts, particularly since Harris supports almost no taxes on the rich and big corporations and the poor working stiffs get…stiffed. This one-time deficit hawk says damn all about deficits now. A total fraud. But, again, you get what you vote for. There was a credible Democratic challenger this time, a former Army Ranger of 34, smart and knowledgeable to travelled multiple times to all parts of the district but the skewed electoral map couldn’t be beaten. It is high time the egregious lazy Harris retired. But his big staff, driver, armed bodyguard, police detail (utterly unjustified) allow him to behave like the political boss he loves in the White House. Harris is a personally nasty arrogant man who is all mouth, and no ears, and a coward who hides from the public. He just had another of these farcical “tele town halls” where he cherry picks questions and cuts off critical questioners. The man is an embarrassment to not only District 1 but this country.

  2. Gren Whitman says

    While “Representative” Harris is trying to undermine his constituents’ safety by using his seat in Congress to promote wider use of firearms, I am looking forward to another productive session in Maryland’s General Assembly working with firearms safety advocates to do exactly what Harris refuses to do: protect my fellow citizens from gun violence.
    On tap, I am told, will be a bill to tighten up safe firearms storage requirements in one’s home, to widen liability insurance coverage (to cover your child being shot at a friend’s house, for example), and to tighten up regulations on lending your weapon to a friend (so-called transfer bill).
    I’ll also make myself available to testify against bills introduced by the National Rifle Association and its fellow travelers that would weaken gun safety laws already on the books.
    The fact is, gun safety measures can be enacted at the state level even if that’s not possible at this point at the national level. With respect to firearms safety, Maryland remains the 7th safest state.

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