James Rutledge III is a candidate for U.S. Senate from Maryland, looking to unseat incumbent Barbara Mikulski this year. The soul of his campaign is the defense of freedom, which is necessary to solve the problems created by over-reaching government in all aspects of American life.
Mr. Rutledge was raised on a cattle farm in Harford County. He said, “My upbringing was very much oriented toward hard work and community service. My father was a veterinarian, so we had both the farm and veterinarian practice. It was all hands on deck with the whole family to keep both the family businesses going.”
“We are salt of the earth people, attended church regularly, and were involved with Boy Scouts and recreational sports. I learned that hard work, perseverance, honesty, and integrity would ultimately pay off.”
Mr. Rutledge graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia before earning his law degree from the University of Maryland, graduating with honors in the top ten percent of his class.
He has been married for 25 years to his wife Kim, and has two nearly grown children.
Mr. Rutledge currently has his own law practicein Jarrettsville. Over the span of his career, he has handled cases involving a diverse range of issues including constitutional law, eminent domain, civil rights, health care law, agricultural preservation, as well as working with the elderly and disabled, and Baltimore’s poor and disenfranchised.
He said, “My experience has given me a substantial view of how the Constitution gets argued, manipulated, twisted; and how off-track we’ve become from the original intent. It gives me a unique perspective that underpins my conservative credentials on being very serious about holding the line on federal power.”
His volunteer work in the community includes founding a Habitat for Humanity Chapter, working for the sight and hearing impaired in the Jarrettsville Lions Club where he served as President, and serving as a youth lacrosse coach for many years.
Mr. Rutledge also has experience in the realm of politics as an activist on behalf of conservative candidates during his ten years as an attorney in Georgia.
Mr. Rutledge comes from a family rich in military service. Having a brother, father-in-law, brother-in-law, and two cousins who served gives him a deep appreciation for the sacrifices for freedom made by our men and women in uniform.
Why Mr. Rutledge is running for office
“I determined after the inauguration that the handwriting was on the wall with what our senators and congressmen were going to do to us. This year is a special opportunity for Senator Mikulski to show her true colors. It is an opportunity to be in the senate for the first time in her career with a filibuster-proof majority and Democratic president. She now has the opportunity to pass bills that reflect her far left philosophies.”
“I passionately feel we need to have strong, bold leadership in Maryland to say we can stop the madness. We will not be ashamed of believing in individual freedoms and the Constitution. We have to recognize that the socialist, liberal policies will forever change America.”
“I already have a great and satisfying job, a successful law practice. I’m not looking for a career. There was a serious contemplation on my part as to what could I do to help spread the message in Maryland that we can set politics on a new path. I came to the conclusion that Senator Mikulski’s seat was such an opportunity for a new face to propose a better way. When I evaluated the options of finding a candidate to support or running myself, I recognized that the Republican Party in Maryland was facing some serious setbacks. We need to have an articulate challenge to Mikulski. I didn’t want to see conservatives not have a voice in the senate race. I wanted to build something that would be based on ideas and convictions.”
“I’m calling out to people who have not been previously involved to say this is the year to get involved. I’m a tea party type candidate. I’m Joe Citizen who stepped forward to say I believe in the citizen legislator. We need folks who aren’t looking for careers to offer themselves to serve.”
Influences in developing his political philosophy
At about age 30, Mr. Rutledge switched from Democratic to Republican, saying, “I had seen an irreversible shift in the Democratic Party to some very hard left policies, so that I couldn’t justify any more in my staying with the party.”
Mr. Rutledge describes himself as a Reagan conservative with Constitutional leanings.
“I was in high school after the 60s revolution, but I have a very clear memory of the civil rights struggles that had gone on in the 60s. That shaped my view of humanity as being God’s creation no matter what their skin color. Opportunity is critical, but the welfare state is not a good thing for people. So it became an issue of providing opportunity without forfeiting individual liberties in the process. That really brought me to pursue a career in law.”
“My campaign is an extension of an optimism that we can make a difference and share the American dream for all citizens if we stick to the basics of our liberties as framed out by our founders.”
Most important issues
“We need to provide a setting for good job creation. I am an advocate of tax cuts to stimulate the economy, not deficit spending which is counterproductive and destructive. I believe strongly in responsible spending and getting the government out of the regulatory business. Small business and entrepreneurship are front and center for long-term job creation.”
“I believe strongly in having policies that look out for U.S. interests as number one. Energy independence really is a national security issue. We need to create energy using our resources here, utilizing domestic oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, and other alternative forms of energy. Terrorism is not a criminal problem, it is a national security threat. We need to stop having open borders that allow so many to live off the system. Citizenship is a very valuable thing.”
“We must defend our right to be able to freely and boldly speak out on our viewpoints without any threat or notion that our government disapproves of our speech. On public education, we get educators more and more who want to indoctrinate children into a viewpoint of a big government, socialist system. We need to focus on the basics of reading, writing, math, and science, not continuing to spend money on socially driving people’s thought. It deprives parents of their fundamental right to educate their children.”
“What drives me most is my yearning for people to be free and informed, and for them to grab this unique opportunity to self govern before we get to a point that the government is controlling every aspect of our lives.”
Dave Wallace of WCBM is sponsoring a “New Year Fundraiser for Rutledge” this Thursday from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the Deer Park Center in Randallstown. The cost is $50 per person. RSVP to Dave Wallace at 410-984-2194 or Lisa Fitzhugh at 410-409-4246 or just show up!