LETTER TO THE EDITOR: 90 endorse Chris Van Hollen

Congressman Van Hollen (center), volunteers and aides campaigning at the Takoma Metro, April 14, 2016. Photo by Bill Brown.


To Our Neighbors in Takoma Park:

As Takoma Park Democrats, we’ve been fortunate to have strong progressive representation in Congress. With Barbara Mikulski leaving the Senate, we have two candidates vying to replace her who have compiled strong progressive voting records in the U.S. House. Their voting records are nearly identical, but there’s more to Congress than voting records — we believe our Congressman Chris Van Hollen is the superior candidate and we are endorsing him as our next Senator. Here’s why:

To start, Chris is a real progressive. He has a deep commitment to the idea that government can improve society, with a focus on helping under-served communities. Dating back to his time in the Maryland State Legislature — when he was a leader in the battle for fair education funding — and continuing through his tenure in the House, where he fights daily in the legislative trenches to ensure low income Americans are treated fairly, Chris has been a true blue progressive Democrat.

Though he’s at home in the mini-debates on cable television that nowadays pass for public discourse, he’s more than just a passionate advocate.

He has put forward a comprehensive progressive economic plan that calls for a higher minimum wage, enhanced tax credits for lower income Americans; a greater contribution from the top one percent, and paid sick leave.

• He is an ardent fighter for women’s reproductive rights, with 100 percent lifetime Planned Parenthood and NARAL ratings.

• He is the House’s leader on Climate Change legislation.

• He played a key role in passing the Affordable Care Act, and is now pushing for the logical next step: a public option.

• He has worked hard on the Budget Committee to preserve and strengthen Medicare and Social Security.

• He is pressing for passage of legislation to reform police procedures, and prevent discrimination against racial minorities.

As conservatives game the electoral system by blocking qualified voters and injecting unregulated money into campaign financing, he’s fighting against voter suppression, for expanded voting rights, and for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Chris was chosen unanimously by his Democratic colleagues to be top Democrat on the Budget Committee — bypassing more senior Members of Congress – because of his legislative skills and political acumen. In that role, he has been one of President Obama’s quarterbacks, helping make sure the Administration’s priorities were funded and playing defense to prevent Rep. Paul Ryan’s budgets from devastating vital human services programs.

Chris is a Congressman who remembers where he came from. He has been there for us when we needed him on local matters, including weighing in with the Federal Transit Administration to help ensure the proposed Takoma Metro development was properly vetted, and helping us to secure Federal funding for the Community Center.

A big part of a Member of Congress’s job is assisting constituents in their dealings with the Federal Government. For Chris, whether that is something dramatic like helping gain the release of Alan Gross from prison in Cuba or the more mundane but equally important work to navigate the Federal bureaucracy to help individuals receive benefits, he has come through. Much of that work is done by staff, but the tone is set at the top. The staff have to know that if they don’t do everything possible to help a constituent, their boss will ask why, just as they have to know if they need a little extra muscle with a Federal agency on a challenging constituent problem, their boss will be ready to weigh in at a higher level. That’s the culture in his office, and many of us have personal stories of valuable assistance from his staff as well as meaningful intervention by Chris himself.

Congress seems mired in the same fights and gridlocked on the same issues, but there will be new challenges none of us can predict. So, we’ll be voting not only based on candidates’ past records and proposals. We’ll also be choosing someone based on their philosophy about governing. What will they do when the unknown next thing comes along?

Chris will be one of the people in the room who creates solutions. He’ll be the one who is willing to keep talking (as we see him talk to everyone at his public events, even when his staff tell him it’s time to go). He’ll be the negotiator who believes that the way to advance progressive values is to be willing to get some of what you want now (without sacrificing your fundamental principles), and then come back later to get more. He’ll be the Senator who will make us proud as progressives, while fighting against the toxic politics that are harmful to all of us and especially those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

That’s why we’re endorsing Chris Van Hollen for U.S. Senate,

Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart 

Takoma Park City Councilmember Terry Seamens

State Delegate David Moon

 Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal

Takoma Park City Councilmember Fred Schultz

 Takoma Park City Councilmember Rizzy Qureshi

Takoma Park City Councilmember Peter Kovar

Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer

Mary Arimond  

Barry Barth

Shruti Bhatnagar  

Vipul Bhatnagar

Bob Bingaman  

David Blockstein

Jonathan Blum  

Lynn Bock

Colleen Boothby  

Geoffrey Burkhart

Dallas Burtraw  

Peter Carruthers

Rocco Casagrande  

Lorig Charkoudian

Joe Cirincione  

Kathleen Connor

Rick Counihan  

Tom Cove

Donna Damico  

Cindy Dyballa

Monica Ettinger  

Peter Ettinger

Jill Feasley  

Michael Fincham

Chris Fitzgerald  

Barbara Glenn

Barbara Griffith  

Jon Griffith

Peter Hardin  

Alison Kahn

Anna Keller  

Jay Keller

Wendy Kent  

Emily Koechlin

Diana Kohn  

Howard Kohn

Paula Kowalczuk  

Priscilla Labovitz

Kurt Lawson  

Lucinda Leach

Eliza Leighton

 Laurie Lester

Susan Levi  

Erik Lichtenberg

John Lorenz  

Sarah Lynch

Marie Defeche Mackler  

Jeffrey MacMillan

Karen MacPherson  

Ruth McGoff

Cheryl Morden  

Lew Morris

Larry Moulton  

Sally Mulhern

Steve Nadel  

Gary Norvell

Maribeth Oakes  

Susan Ogden

Andy Penn  

Hank Prensky

Debra Prybyla  

Kate Rhudy

Ann Riley  

Kara Saul Rinaldi

Marie Ritzo  

Jeanne Roslanowick

Ray Scannell  

Joyce Seamens

Ken Simler

Chris Simpson

Reuben Snipper  

Cathy Surace

Linda Tipton  

Sean Tipton

Barry Toiv  

Bill Valdez

Marlana Valdez  

Emily van Loon

Juanita Weaver

Kris Wernstedt

Bruce Williams  

Thom Wolf

Josh Wright

2 Comments on "LETTER TO THE EDITOR: 90 endorse Chris Van Hollen"

  1. Tom Gagliardo | April 15, 2016 at 5:41 pm |

    I signed this letter, too. At least three of us who signed are inot listed.

  2. Anyonesmouse | April 16, 2016 at 1:33 am |

    I’m campaigning for him. He is running based on his merit, not his gender or race as Edwards is. It will be great when the face of government looks more like America, but diversity for diversity’s sake doesn’t make sense. She has a poor record of constituent services in PG County. Chris really came through for me.

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