HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s newest congressman, Democrat John Delaney, took his House seat Thursday with a pledge to make restoring U.S. competitiveness his top priority.

Delaney’s swearing-in ended 20 years of Republican representation in the state’s 6th Congressional District. It leaves 1st District Rep. Andy Harris as the lone Republican in the state’s congressional delegation.

Delaney, a commercial banking entrepreneur from Potomac, said the tax package Congress passed this week was less sweeping than the combination of spending cuts and tax increases he would have preferred to address the federal deficit.

“I think we’ve set ourselves up for another short-term time frame, which I think is very unsettling for the private sector,” Delaney said. “The thing the private sector wants more than anything is some sense of certainty — and we’re not delivering certainty.”

Delaney has advocated lower corporate taxes and the elimination of certain deductions and loopholes. And he said Medicare should be tweaked to make it more efficient.

Delaney said the December slaying of 20 schoolchildren and six educators in Newtown, Conn., highlights a need for tighter restrictions on “military-style” guns and ammunition, and assurances that prospective gun owners undergo thorough background checks.

“People have a right to have guns, they have a right to have guns to hunt and for their Second Amendment rights,” Delaney said. But he said government must ensure that “people who have track records of criminal behavior or violence don’t end up with guns.”

Delaney defeated 10-term incumbent Roscoe Bartlett in November after Maryland’s ruling Democrats redrew the district’s boundaries to make it more competitive. The redistricting added part of left-leaning Montgomery County to a district encompassing conservative western Maryland.

Delaney sits on the House Financial Services Committee.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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