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Conservative vs. social conservative: Republican incumbent Adam Putnam offers a conservative voting record; his opponent, Bob Hagenmaier, offers an antiabortion, conservative social agenda.

Published October 26, 2004

Voters in U.S. House District 12 will choose between a retired scientist making his first bid for public office and a young career politician who's quickly making a name for himself in Washington, D.C.

Republican incumbent Adam Putnam is a fifth-generation Floridian who one year after graduating from college was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. Four years later, he was in the nation's capital representing District 12.

During Putnam's first two terms in the U.S. House, he has proved himself to be a party-line Republican, voting on the conservative side 98 percent of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly . He supported the war in Iraq, the overhaul of the Medicare program and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. He co-sponsored bills to strengthen obscenity laws and to make English the official language of the United States.

Putnam, however, said he's not afraid to break away from Republicans.

"When the party view or the White House views are bad for my district, I've stood up and taken the heat," said Putnam, who lives in Bartow. "Thankfully, that hasn't happened very often."

His votes to protect the Florida citrus industry from imports and his opposition to drilling off the Florida coast are instances where he stepped outside the conservative box, he said.

Earlier this year, he was named chairman of a Government Reform Subcommittee, and in September, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., appointed Putnam to the House Rules Committee. Putnam fills the vacancy created when Porter Goss was tapped to direct the Central Intelligence Agency.

Putnam faces Bob Hagenmaier, who retired from his job as a researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to run for office.

Hagenmaier is conservative on social issues. He opposes gay marriage and the adoption of children into gay households. He also opposes abortion, and has been endorsed by Democrats for Life of America Inc., a national organization for antiabortion members of the Democratic Party.

But he opposes the war in Iraq. And he criticizes Putnam for feeding a Congressional spending frenzy that's led to deficit spending.

Hagenmaier supports pay-as-you-go legislation and removing tax cuts for the wealthy. Hagenmaier also wants to see a 2 percent increase to Social Security contributions going to individual accounts instead of a big pool.

"That way," he said. "Congress can't spend it."


ADAM PUTNAM, 30, has represented District 12 in the U.S. House since 2000, after serving two terms in the Florida House. Putnam grew up in Central Florida as part of a prominent ranch and citrus family and earned a bachelor's degree in food and resource economics from the University of Florida. The National Journal , a nonpartisan Washington political magazine, listed Putnam as a Republican to watch in 2003. This year he was named chairman of the subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census. Among other things, the subcommittee focuses on cybersecurity and streamlining the federal government's information technology systems to save money. He lives in Bartow with his wife and three daughters. ASSETS: Two homes, investment and retirement accounts. LIABILITIES: Two mortgages. SOURCE OF INCOME: Ranching and citrus growing, congressional salary. WEB SITE:


BOB HAGENMAIER, 65, retired from his job as a scientist at the Department of Agriculture to run for the District 12 seat. For 16 years, his work at the USDA focused on researching how coatings put on citrus affect their quality. Hagenmaier grew up in Ohio and served three years in the Army, with most of that time spent in the Philippines. After earning a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Detroit and a doctorate in chemistry from Purdue University, he worked briefly as a researcher at Texas A&M University and then moved to the Philippines, where for 10 years he was involved in research and manufacturing. He came to Florida in 1986 and lives in Winter Haven with his wife. They have two grown children. ASSETS: Home, investments, stocks, annuities. LIABILITIES: None. SOURCE OF INCOME: Pension and social security. WEB SITES: and


U.S. House District 12 represents most of Polk County, a sliver of Osceola County and a U-shaped portion of southeastern Hillsborough that includes Plant City and Brandon. U.S. House members serve a two-year term and earn $158,100 a year.
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