Political Newcomer Challenges Welch For House Seat

06/11/12 5:04PM By John Dillon

VPR/John Dillon
Mark Donka announces his candidacy for the U.S. House in Montpelier.

A political newcomer and longtime police officer wants to unseat Vermont Congressman Peter Welch.

Mark Donka of Hartford is running as the Republican candidate for U.S. House. He said in his announcement speech that Welch has not done enough to curb the growing national debt.

"Peter Welch has voted consistently for bigger government, increased debt," Donka said. "He voted to bail out banks instead of bailing out homeowners. He voted for cash for clunkers which hurt lower income people by increasing debt and driving up car prices."

Donka, 55, turned in his petitions on Monday at the Secretary of State's office to get on the ballot in November.

He starts out with a considerable disadvantage in fundraising. Welch has over $1 million in his campaign war chest. Donka says he's raised about $2,000 so far. Donka challenged Welch to hold a series of town hall meetings to debate issues.

"As an incumbent, I am sure you have the money to try and buy the election, but this isn't how democracy is supposed to work," Donka said.. "Let's make this a campaign where the voters can see and hear the discussion between us and they can make an informed decision based on the issues and our solutions and not how much  money we can spend on advertising."

Welch's office said in a statement that the congressman looks forward to talking with Vermonters about his record. The statement said Welch has worked with Republicans in Congress, including forming a bipartisan coalition to secure funds for states hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene.

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campaign_2012 peter_welch mark_donka congressional_race congressman_peter_welch politics elections
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