Primary 2002: Chris Van Hollen

Primary 2002: Chris Van Hollen

Congressional District 8

<ro>Chris Van Hollen

<lst>Age: 43

Family: Katherine (wife), Anna (13), Nicholas (10), Alexander (5)

Campaign mailing address: 10605 Concord St., Suite 101, Kensington, MD 20895

Campaign phone: 301-942-3768


Office sought: U.S. Congress, MD-8

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Previous offices held: State Senate, 18 (1994-2002); House of Delegates, 18 (1990-1994)

Occupation: State Senator, attorney

Current employment: State Senator, attorney

Education: Swarthmore College (BA), Harvard University (MPP), Georgetown University (JD)

Community ties: Board, Lourie Center; Board, SEEC

List current endorsements you are most proud of:

Montgomery County Federation of Teachers, Montgomery, County Retired Teachers Association, Clean Water Action, Gazette Newspapers, Takoma Voice

* Why are you running for this position?

* I am running for Congress because I believe our nation faces enormous challenges on the domestic and international front and I hope to make a contribution in addressing the many issues we face.

I believe that the best measure of what someone will do and accomplish in Congress is what that person has done before. During my 12 years in the Maryland General Assembly, I have never shied away from the big issues and battles that confronted our state -- education, health care, the environment and many others.

I believe the House Republicans and the Bush Administration are taking us in the wrong direction on many of these same issues.

* What is your top public-service accomplishment?

* My proudest moments in the General Assembly have been related to major education victories. This past year one of the biggest issues facing the legislature was consideration of a controversial proposal to dramatically change the state’s school funding formula. I was proud to author the amendment that broke the Senate deadlock on this issue and resulted in an extra $80 million per year for local schools – funds for class-size reduction, all -day kindergarten, and special needs students. Earlier I was proud to lead the ‘Schools Before Stadiums’ fight which led to record increases in funds for school construction and renovation.

* What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them?

* Education – The Bush Administration has not kept its promises. It signed the Leave No Child Behind Act, but left it well under-funded. The federal government promised 40 percent of special education funds but has only paid 15 percent. I have a record of winning school funding, and I will continue to fight for it in Congress.

Health – I will whole-heartedly support the Democratic proposal to provide a prescription drug benefit under Medicare.

Environment – I have worked tirelessly for 12 years to protect our environment in Maryland. The Bush Administration has launched an assault on existing environmental regulations.

Gun Control – Just as I led the Senate fight to mandate trigger locks in Maryland, I will fight to close the gun-show loophole in Congress.

Traffic – I will work with local officials to come to a consensus on solutions to our traffic problems.

* What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?

* I have never shied away from the toughest fights in the State legislature of the past 12 years. On numerous occasions, I have also been an independent voice and challenged the established leadership when I thought it was wrong. I have led the fight on numerous initiatives, including the battle over Thornton Commission’s education funding, the “Schools Before Stadiums” battle, increasing the tobacco tax to reduce teen smoking and preventing oil and gas drilling in the Bay watershed. I currently serve as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Budget and Tax Committee and chaired the Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. Before my election to the legislature in 1990, I worked on national security and foreign policy on Capitol Hill, including four years on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

* How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponents?

* It is easy for the Democratic candidates to talk about what they will do if elected. I believe that the best measure of what a candidate will do if elected is what he or she has done.

As a member of the state legislature for the past 12 years, I have not just voted in support of initiatives important to our community but have worked to write and pass legislation to protect our environment, expand access to health care, dramatically increase school funds and reduce gun violence. No other candidate has passed any legislation in the areas of health care and environmental protection.

Having worked on national security issues for many years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff, I am also the only candidate to combine a strong background in foreign policy/national security with a record of getting things done at the state and local level.

* What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?

* I will not do what Connie Morella does at the beginning of each session – vote for the Republican leadership in the House. That means I will not contribute to a Republican agenda that is turning back the clock on so many issues that are important to our community and on which we have made progress in Maryland.

* What do you predict the short-term future of the budget will be like and what adjustments will you propose to prepare for your prediction? What impact is this likely to have on your constituents?

* The federal budget has again fallen into deficit and the national debt is on the rise. Had the Administration not passed a $1.4 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, supported by Connie Morella, we would not have to cut money to vital programs. I would work to rescind portions of that cut, like the elimination of the estate tax, to help fund my priority areas.

* For what specific projects in Montgomery County will you work to get additional federal funding? Please address transportation projects specifically.

* We need more federal funding for education, including class-size reduction, teacher training and special education. We need to secure funding for a balanced transportation approach. To improve mass transit, we need to extend the Red Line to Clarksburg and Frederick, expand Metro parking, Ride On service and build a Purple Line. I am in favor of an environmentally-friendly ICC.

* Do you support a study for a new Potomac River crossing in Montgomery County? What is your position on such a crossing?

* I oppose the proposed “truckway.” Based on the information I have, I also opposed the study.

* How would you characterize transportation issues in Montgomery County and what specific actions would you support as a result? Please address Metro Purple Line, ICC and Regional Transportation Authority.

* We are a region in gridlock. This is a quality of life issue. We need a balanced approach that includes more transit, more roads, more telecommuting, less sprawl and other measures to solve our problems. I support the Purple Line and would work with other local officials to decide on the best route. I support an environmentally-friendly ICC. I support greater regional cooperation but would not support a regional authority that preempts the powers of local elected officials.

* Please outline your position on gun control, and what you might realistically expect to accomplish in two years in Congress.

* I have been a leader on gun control in the General Assembly, and I am proud to have the leaders of the Montgomery County Million Mom March working on my campaign. I believe that, with Democratic leadership in the House, we can close the gun-show loophole and mandate trigger locks in Congress, as we have already done in Maryland.

* Is the United States at war? What are the costs of current military action likely to be? If you believe the US is at war, how will we know when this war is over?

* The attacks of Sept. 11 awakened our nation to the threat of international terrorism. I strongly support the President’s response in Afghanistan and his effort to track down the Al Queda terrorist network around the world. We are engaged in a war against a new, less visible enemy. The war on terrorism will require endurance and constant vigilance. At home, we must be careful not to allow the war on terrorism to undermine our freedoms and civil liberties.

* Are the residents of Montgomery County safe from acts of terror and bioterror? What additional measures are appropriate?

* It is apparent that no American is safe from acts of terror, and because of our proximity to Washington, we are more at risk than others. We need to be vigilant and improve our ability to rapidly detect and respond to chemical or biological attacks. We must provide our emergency personnel with the resources they need.

* How do you evaluate the effect of the federal response to the terrorist attacks on civil liberties? Are there any measures passed by Congress that you specifically disagree with? What additional measures are needed?

* While we should be prepared to live with more inconveniences to ensure our security, I am opposed to Attorney General Ashcroft’s proposals that undermine our constitutional rights and civil liberties. I am opposed to indefinite secret detentions. The courts, not the Executive Branch, should determine whether American citizens should be considered enemy combatants. And we should not turn the Postal Service into a domestic spying operation.

* How will you support federal employees in your district?

* I have a strong record of fighting for government employees in the General Assembly, and I will continue that leadership in Congress. I oppose the Republican effort to deny worker protections to employees in a new Department of Homeland Security.