Fresh Perspective vs. Experience

In terms of experience, Representative Steny Hoyer and his challenger, Chris Palombi, couldn’t be more different. Hoyer, 81, has served the 5th District for 39 years. Palombi is 35 years old and making his first bid for public office.
Hoyer, who currently serves as House Majority Leader, believes his four decades in office benefit his constituents. “It absolutely helps my district. The reason it helps my district is that I think I learn more every year. Hopefully, all of us do that. I learn how to better do my job. To better understand the challenges that confront our county.”

Palombi believes his lack of experience in office will translate into better leadership. “I’m not a cookie-cutter politician for sure. I have no corporate or lobbyist obligations. I am unbought. If elected, I can truly serve the constituents within our district.”
He said his varied experience in the private sector gives him a fresh perspective. “I’ve been in the workforce, both in the public and private sectors, since I was 15. And more recently, I’ve been a law enforcement officer for five years.  I’ve been a mentor as a coach with our youth sports in ice hockey for nearly 12 years. I’ve been a self-taught web developer programmer for 8 years. I’ve taught for two years. I’ve been around and have a great wealth of experiences in different industries.”

Understanding The 5th District
Congressman Hoyer said his years on the job help him understand the challenges faced by SOMD. “I know what it needs.” He said his position as House Majority Leader also benefits citizens. “I like to think when I call up a member of the Appropriations Committee or any other committee, I schedule their bills.  I call them up and say, ‘My district needs this, that, or the other’ that it makes a difference. Experience does count if you have somebody who is learning and doing.”
Palombi believes Hoyer’s 20 terms in office make it harder for him to understand the voters.  “Right now, we have many career politicians who have spent their whole working life in the Washington, D.C. bubble. They haven’t had that perspective of being amongst their constituents and serving them for a long time. In Congressman Hoyer’s case, he’s been a professional politician since Lyndon B. Johnson was President. For him, that’s great experience, but we need to have someone in there who has taken the time to listen to their constituents.”

It’s Up To The Voters
Hoyer said it’s ultimately up to the voters to decide if he’s doing a good job. “Is Hoyer up to the job? Is he vigorous enough? Is he continuing to fight for us?  We have a large number, over 60,000 federal employees. If you asked a federal employee who the hardest fighter for federal employees in the Congress of the United States, the probability is they’d say, ‘Steny Hoyer’.  A. I’ve been there a long time. But B, they’ve seen me since my first day in Congress fighting for them.  But the voter will ultimately make that judgment.”

Palombi said new voices are needed to bring an end to political infighting. “It’s infuriating because it’s too much of the political partisanship where they’re too busy worrying about who has the leverage of the other party instead of doing what’s best for the citizens. As I’ve said, while I don’t have political experience, I haven’t run for office before, but I do think it’s time to get some fresh, invigorating representation in there and one that wants to work for the people and do what’s right for them.”