Senate candidate Chris Van Hollen visits Cambridge
CAMBRIDGE — U.S. Senate candidate Chris Van Hollen visited with Dorchester County residents and officials Thursday, Aug. 18, at the Dorchester Elks Lodge 223 in Cambridge.
Van Hollen, a Democrat who currently represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, covering Carroll, Frederick and parts of Montgomery counties, is running for election to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., when she retires in 2016.
He said his platforms includes better education for children, making sure seniors have the secure retirement that they have earned and making sure veterans receive the services they need and earned for their service to the country.
Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley introduced Van Hollen and said she was very impressed with him when they first met at Harriet on the Hill several years ago.
“We were preparing for Harriet on the Hill, and I met the congressman who was enthusiastic and supporting of Harriet Tubman and the mission I had for the future for Dorchester County,” she said. “We had that same kind of passion.”
Jackson-Stanley said Van Hollen met with her personally about the Harriet Tubman when U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1, would not meet personally.
“(Van Hollen) actually sat with us personally and talked about how he was supportive of the process of getting Harriet to be this national phenomenon that we all know and love. I was just so impressed. He recognized the importance of Harriet and it was something I won’t forget.
“Yes, I support Chris Van Hollen,” she said. “He is a man who has a passion that I have for not just one person but for our community. I’m hopefully he will take your trust, and put
your trust in him on election day.”
Van Hollen said he shares the view of the mayor, the commissioners and the community that at the end of the day the local governments, state government and federal government all have to work together.
“Too often is the case you don’t have good coordination and strong working relationships between federal, state and local,” he said. “I know here in Maryland, we’ve worked hard to make that better. I can pledge to you that if I’m given the opportunity to represent you, this great area and our great state in the United States Senate, I want to be here and working with you on really important issues.”
Van Hollen said he is really proud being part of the effort in Congress that passed the legislation to create the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Park, and he was really proud to support President Barack Obama a few years earlier when he declared it a national monument.
“I also think it is a great opportunity for Cambridge and Dorchester County going forward in terms of tourism and economic development it can bring, especially as Harriet Tubman gets on the $20 bill, which was another great victory,” he said. “That recognition will provide even biggest opportunities to bring more people here to Cambridge and Dorchester County as a destination point.”
Van Hollen said one of his important items is better opportunities for youth by collaborating with education and businesses.
“We have to do a better job of building pipelines between education and jobs,” he said. “Education just doesn’t mean four-year college. It can mean community college. It can mean programs, like you are developing more up here in Cambridge and Dorchester County, to provide more training and skills building even in high school.
“Then, of course, we’ve got to make sure we partner with employers,” he said. “We’ve got to attract more employers to this region. We all recognized we want to bring back more manufacturing (businesses).”
Van Hollen said he wants to tap the potential for the port Cambridge currently has along with working with the federal government through partnerships.
“All of Dorchester County is a federal hub zone, meaning that businesses here that are doing business with the federal government get a benefit,” he said. “We need to better leverage that aspect of Cambridge and Dorchester County.”
With the general election less than 80 days away, Van Hollen said the person to succeed Mikulski needs to be someone who can hit the ground running.
“I’ve had the chance to work in the state legislator for a number of years,” he said. “I’ve worked with a lot of representatives from the Eastern Shore. I think as a matter of politics, Democrats have not done enough or paid enough attention to the Eastern Shore.
“My view has always been that Democrats should not simply campaign or win an office or simply visit those areas that are the major population counties,” he said. “It is really important that we are active and engaged on the Eastern Shore and in Western Maryland.”
U.S. Senate candidate Chris Van Hollen visits with Dorchester County residents during a visit to Cambridge Thursday, Aug. 18.
Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, right, introduces U.S. Senate candidate Chris Van Hollen during his visit to Cambridge Thursday, Aug. 18.