Cardin holds listening session with faith community leaders
CAMBRIDGE — U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., visited Cambridge on Friday, March 10, and held a listening session with numerous clergy and lay leaders in the faith community from throughout the Eastern Shore.
This listening session was hosted by Waugh Chapel Methodist Church and Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley. Cardin and the faith leaders discussed a variety of issues including hate-based attacks happening across the state, the President Donald Trump administration’s repeated attempts to advance restrictions on travel and immigration and more.
“We need your help. We need your strength. There are certain things we can do in government and certain things we can’t do in government and when we work with the private sector and work with the faith community we can get a lot more done,” Cardin said.
Cardin also said that throughout his career as a senator he has reached out to the faith community, seeking their advice and assistance.
The senator was primarily on the Eastern Shore due to the opening of the Harriet Tubman Visitor’s Center and Harriet Tubman National Park. He said that they are very proud of this new park and that it’s not easy to put together a new national park, but this state was able to get it done.
“In the spirit of Harriet Tubman, I am going to challenge you as to what we should be doing to help the people of our community and be more effective,” Cardin said. “This is a listening opportunity for me.”
Cardin also said he is greatly concerned about the future and what type of country his grandchildren are going to grow up in. He added that this is the age of alternative facts and alternative facts are lies.
The first topic brought up was the issue with the Trump administration’s immigration policies, which Cardin said worried him.
“This country was built because of the people who had the courage to come here,” Cardin said. “Refugees are persecuted individuals; these are people whose lives are at risk.”
Cardin said he met with the king of Jordan a few weeks ago and was told that over 600,000 refugees were staying in Jordan. The king said that it did cause a financial strain, but not any problems.
While he agrees that there needs to be more protection on the border, he does not believe a wall is the right idea, something Trump has pushed since the campaign trail. Cardin said he wanted to know how they could enhance the core values of this country.
Cardin also voiced his support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and that he will fight to protect the advancements made in health care.
When asked if outreach to senators’ offices such as phone calls, text messages and email are a good idea and if the messages are actually heard, Cardin said they absolutely are. He added that due to this outreach from the public, they have made quite a bit of progress but there is still a lot to be done, so he encourages everyone to continue.
Susan Olsen of Indivisible Dorchester said that she often wrote Cardin’s office and wanted to know what specific people they should contact about certain issues and asked what they could do to help him.
Cardin said they could work through national organizations and that they could provide the public with names of representatives that want to hear from them.
“I think that if we are going to continue to repair and improve what we have in the ACA we are going to need more evidence-based design experts, a greater interdisciplinary panel and what we have today may not be good for five years from now,” said Bishop Joel Marcus Johnson.
Cardin agreed that the ACA could improve in certain areas even though he supports it.
“The issues before us are profound and they are concerning but also energizing,” said Rabi Peter Hyman. “We are grateful for your alliance and your leadership.”