Tony O'Donnell, who has been minority leader in the Maryland House of Delegates since 1997, has been a regular critic of the spending policies of the House's Democrat-controlled chamber.
When O'Donnell announced his U.S. House bid in December of 2011, he said politicians in Washington have lost touch by spending too much money without thinking of the consequences to citizens. He says it's time for the government to make sacrifices and reduce spending.
In March of 2012, he criticized a proposed state revenue package that included an income tax hike on people who make more than $100,000, saying it would hurt people who are still trying to bounce back from the recession.
"We're kicking the citizens of Maryland when they're down," O'Donnell said during the debate.
When the revenue package fell apart in the last hours of the legislative session in April 2012, O'Donnell also criticized a move in the House to extend the session beyond its midnight deadline to revive the deal.
"The citizens of Maryland demand that we come here and pass a budget and get our work done in 90 days," he said at the time. "It's been going on for years and years and years and yet we messed around."
O'Donnell also criticized discussion of holding a special session to take up the revenue package again. He said the state should live with about a half billion dollars in cuts that were triggered by the failure to pass the revenue package.
"The reality is we give voice to what I believe is the middle temper of Maryland," O'Donnell said. "And that middle temper of Maryland is very different than the very-left leadership you see here in Annapolis on the second floor or in the General Assembly."
As minority leader in a chamber where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1, O'Donnell is used to being outvoted _ but he never tires of raising objections to Democratic spending policies, almost always leading the GOP during debates in the House.
O'Donnell is a leading critic of Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley.
"I've listened to 18 State of the State speeches, and I've never heard one as bad or as partisan as this one, and there's palpable anger among delegates from both sides of the aisle," O'Donnell said after the governor's State of the State speech in February 2012.
He also blasted O'Malley's proposal to raise the gas tax.
"I think it's a horrible idea, and it shows how out of touch this governor is with everyday Marylanders," O'Donnell said.