Hollywood, MD – Montgomery County Democrat Chris Van Hollen has been an elected official in Maryland since 1991, and for the past 14 years the has been a member of the U.S. Congress. He was first elected to the Maryland General Assembly and now Rep. Van Hollen wants to move across the aisle to become a U.S. Senator, replacing Senator Barbara Mikulski, who is retiring.
During a recent interview at TheBayNet.com, Van Hollen said he admires Mikulski. “She has been a terrific senator for the state,” he said. He hopes to continue Mikulski’s tradition of constituent service, and said he is proud of what his congressional office now does in that regard. He said if elected he is not sure how his offices will be set up, but he added, “We will continue to have representatives available throughout Southern Maryland.”
Van Hollen’s father was in the Navy and then foreign service so he experienced many parts of the world when growing up. But, he said his family always returned to Maryland.
Van Hollen touted what he called Team Maryland, including Mikulski and Rep. Steny Hoyer and his alliance with them in working for issues in Southern Maryland. Those issues include the military installations such as Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Pax River).
The congressman noted that NAS Pax River is a significant military asset to the country and economic asset to the region. During our interview, he stated that he has visited NAS PAX River often and met with community representatives, including the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance. He also recently toured the University of Maryland UAS Test Site for the past 14 years the has been a member of the U.S. Congress. at the St. Mary’s County Airport and was impressed with what is going on there. “It is great to have that center right here in Southern Maryland,” he observed.
Regarding the size of the military, Van Hollen feels the reduction of the size of the Army and its ground forces is appropriate. Other assets he believes, such as those that are involved with cyber-security need to be enhanced. He said of ISIS, “We need to eliminate ithem.” but he does not favor U.S. combat forces being deployed in that fight.
Van Hollen voted for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and feels “for the most part it has done a lot of good.” He believes it needs to be fixed, however, particularly with the exchanges and favors adding a public option to the exchanges.
Van Hollen noted that 80 percent of employers continue to provide health insurance for their employees, and small businesses either can opt out of participation or receive tax credits. In addition, he favors an overhaul of the tax codes.
Van Hollen supports Hillary Clinton for president and is concerned about Donald Trump. He enumerated Trumps berating of women, Gold Stare Mothers and Sen. McCain as examples of why Trump shouldn’t be elected.
Rep. Van Hollen’s political career included the chairmanship of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His opponent in the Nov. 8 General Election is Republican Kathy Szeliga, currently a Maryland state delegate.
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The complete Interview: