Independent-minded Republican enters Maryland congressional race

Aryeh Shudofsky is running for Maryland’s 8th congressional district.Photo provided
Aryeh Shudofsky is running for Maryland’s 8th congressional district.
Photo provided

A self-described independent-minded Republican has entered the crowded field of candidates vying for Maryland’s 8th congressional district seat.

Aryeh Shudofsky, 34, of Silver Spring, announced his candidacy Oct. 15, telling supporters, “Washington is a mess. It’s clear we need an independent voice who will do what is best for Maryland’s 8th District, not just toe the party line.”

The district stretches through Montgomery County to include parts of Frederick and Carroll counties.

Considering his background — Shudofsky is a graduate of the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University and previously served as a financial affairs adviser on Capitol Hill — it is little wonder that Shudofsky’s issues list covers the economy, debt, taxes and financial services.

In an interview with Washington Jewish Week, he described his vision of encouraging public-private partnerships, and keeping and growing small businesses in the state. He lamented the migration of retirees to neighboring states, including Virginia and Delaware.

True to traditional Republican small-government values, Shudofsky advocates for increased transparency and the elimination of what he views as governmental redundancies; he’d like to see the return of transportation authority to the states.

Education, a hot topic in the presidential debates, is another area Shudofsky, who is in favor of vocational training and mandatory financial literacy courses, wants to tackle.

Shudofsky unsuccessfully ran for the Montgomery County Board of Education in 2012 and continues to tout the same principles from that campaign, citing his two young children and family of educators as inspiration.

He is critical of Congress for getting “bogged down in the things that divide us” and arguing over things like how to subsidize education, which, in his opinion, doesn’t “speak to the issue, which is ensuring that kids who are going to school are getting the education and the preparation that they need in order to enter the workforce and succeed.”

Standing with Israel is another key point of Shudofsky’s platform.

“We hurt Israel when we provide support to countries that are out to hurt Israel themselves,” said Shudofsky. “We should bring under question aid that we give to countries that are enemies to Israel and America.”

While Shudofsky has little primary competition — as of press time only one other Republican, Shelly Skolnick of Silver Spring, had announced his run — seven Democrats and one independent are vying for fellow Democrat Chris Van Hollen’s seat, including his co-religionists Jamie Raskin, Joel Rubin and Dave Anderson. Montgomery County, where the bulk of the district’s voting population is centered, leans heavily Democrat, but that doesn’t seem to deter Shudofsky.

“The issue is competency,” said Shudofsky.

“The people are looking for someone who will speak for them and work for them,” he explained. “What people are looking for in this district are better jobs, improved education, access to affordable health care, safe streets, security abroad, a strong military in order to ensure our security. Those are things that people want. And, so, Democrats running in the race can discount whoever they want to, but it’s the people who are going to be voting.”

Shudofsky, who lives in Silver Spring with his family, is active in Woodside Synagogue Ahavas Torah. He serves as the High Holidays cantor at Beth Joshua, which meets in the same building as the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, where his son attends school.

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