Chris Van Hollen: Wikis

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Chris Van Hollen


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 8th district
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 2003
Preceded by Connie Morella

Born January 10, 1959 (1959-01-10) (age 51)
Karachi, Pakistan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Katherine Van Hollen
Children Anna Van Hollen
Nicholas Van Hollen
Alexander Van Hollen
Residence Kensington, Maryland
Alma mater Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.)
Harvard University (M.P.P.)
Swarthmore College (B.A.)
Occupation Attorney
Religion Episcopalian
Signature

Christopher "Chris" Van Hollen, Jr. (born January 10, 1959) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Maryland's 8th congressional district since 2003. The district includes most of Montgomery County, a suburban county adjacent to Washington, D.C., as well as parts of Prince George's County, another county that borders Washington, D.C.

After the Democrats regained control of the House in the 2006 elections, Van Hollen became the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fifth-ranking position among House Democrats. In this post, Van Hollen is responsible for leading efforts to get more Democrats elected to Congress.

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Early life, career, and family

The son of a U.S. State Department Foreign Service officer, Van Hollen was born a United States Citizen in Karachi, Pakistan. Van Hollen has also lived in Turkey, Sri Lanka, and India.

Van Hollen received an undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College, a Master of Public Policy, concentrating in national security studies, from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. In the 1980s Van Hollen worked on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and as the Legislative Assistant to Republican Senator Charles Mathias.

Van Hollen served in the Maryland General Assembly from 1991 to 2003 — four years in the House of Delegates and eight years in the State Senate, where he served on the Budget and Taxation Committee and the Health and Human Services Subcommittee. In 2002, The Washington Post called Van Hollen "one of the most accomplished members of the General Assembly."[1]

Van Hollen and his wife Katherine live in the town of Kensington with their three children: Anna, Nicholas, and Alexander.

Congressional career

Congressman Van Hollen joins Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (at the podium and to the left of Van Hollen) for the announcement of the County’s Legislative Agenda for 2005.

Maryland's 8th District hugs the northern border of Washington, D.C. and is one of the most educated and wealthy congressional districts in the nation. The federal government is the largest single employer in the district, and many private companies are funded by the government.[2]

Prior to Van Hollen's election, incumbent Connie Morella had won eight elections in the district, despite the fact that she was a Republican in a district where Democrats far outnumbered Republicans. Morella's success was largely attributed to her political independence and relatively liberal voting record, including support for abortion rights, gay rights, gun control and increased environmental protections.

After Morella's re-election in 2000, Democratic Maryland Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller made no secret that he wanted to draw the 8th out from under Morella. Indeed, one redistricting plan after the 2000 Census went so far as to divide the 8th in two, giving one district to Van Hollen and forcing Morella to run against popular State Delegate Mark Kennedy Shriver in November. The final plan was far less ambitious, but made the district even more Democratic by adding heavily Democratic precincts from neighboring Prince George's County, an area that Morella had never represented. It also restored a heavily Democratic spur in eastern Montgomery County that had been cut out in the last round of redistricting.

In 2002, Van Hollen entered a competitive Democratic Party primary against Shriver and former Clinton administration aide Ira Shapiro. Though Shriver had the most money, Van Hollen launched a very successful grassroots effort that mobilized Democratic voters. After receiving the endorsement of the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and other local papers, Van Hollen defeated Shriver 43.5 percent to 40.6 percent.

During the campaign, Van Hollen emphasized that even when Morella voted with the district, her partisan affiliation kept Tom DeLay and the rest of the unpopular Republican leadership in power. Van Hollen also touted his leadership in the State Senate on issues such as education funding, HMO reform, trigger locks for handguns, and protecting the Chesapeake Bay from oil drilling. Ultimately, after a tight race, Van Hollen defeated Morella 51.7 percent to 48.2 percent.[2]

Van Hollen was reelected in 2004, 2006 and 2008, each time winning over 70 percent of the vote against token Republican opposition.

In 2003, Van Hollen was named Outstanding New Member of the Year by the Committee for Education Funding, the nation's largest and oldest non-partisan education coalition.[3] The first bill Van Hollen introduces every session is the Keep Our Promise to America's Children and Teachers (PACT) Act, which would fully fund No Child Left Behind and IDEA. He also introduced an amendment, which passed, that repealed a 9.5 percent loophole in student loans that had allowed lenders to pocket billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars. Now, that money is available for additional student loans.[4]

Because many federal employees live in his district, Van Hollen has worked on a number of issues relating to them. He supported pay parity in pay raises for civilian employees and introduced an amendment, which passed, to block attempts to outsource federal jobs.[5]

Van Hollen has secured federal funding for a number of local-interest projects, including transportation initiatives, local homeland security efforts, education programs and community development projects. Van Hollen has been a strong supporter of Palestinian Statehood throughout his career in Congress.

Van Hollen often joins his colleague, Adam Schiff (CA-29), to discuss issues of National Security on the floor of the House, with particular commentary on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.[6]

In May 2006, Van Hollen formed a Congressional Caucus on the Netherlands with Dutch-born Republican representative Pete Hoekstra. The goal of the caucus is to promote the U.S. relationship with the Netherlands and remember the Dutch role in establishing New York and the United States.

In July 2006, Van Hollen urged the Bush administration to support a ceasefire supported by a peacekeeping force that would end the Israeli-Lebanon War. He was heavily criticized by the Jewish and pro-Israel community, a large part of his constituency. According to the Washington Jewish Week, Van Hollen clarified but did not retract his position.[7]

Van Hollen speaks during the second day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, in his capacity as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He is flanked by Democratic House challengers.

In 2006, Van Hollen opted out of the race to succeed the retiring Senator Paul Sarbanes, saying he would rather spend time with his family and help elect more Democrats to Congress.[8] In keeping with that, Van Hollen was appointed the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In 2009, Van Hollen introduced a bill which establishes a Green Bank to catalyze the financing of clean energy and energy efficiency projects.[9]

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Committee assignments

Party leadership and Caucus membership

  • Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Vice Chairman of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus
  • Co-Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force
  • Vice Chairman of the Democratic Task Force on Budget and Tax Policy

Election history

Year Office Election Subject Party Votes  % Opponent Party Votes  % Opponent Party Votes  %
2002 Congress, 8th district General Christopher Van Hollen, Jr. Democratic 112,788 51.71 Connie Morella (incumbent) Republican 103,587 47.49
2004 Congress, 8th district General Christopher Van Hollen, Jr. Democratic 215,129 74.78 Chuck Floyd Republican 71,989 25.02
2006 Congress, 8th district General Christopher Van Hollen, Jr. Democratic 168,872 76.52 Jeffrey Stein Republican 48,324 21.90 Gerald Giblin Green 3,298 1.49
2008 Congress, 8th district General Christopher Van Hollen, Jr. Democratic 229,669 75.15 Steve Hudson Republican 66,345 21.71 Gordon S. Clark Green 6,825 2.23

References

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Connie Morella
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 8th congressional district

2003 – present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rahm Emanuel
Chairman of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
2007–present
Incumbent
Representatives to the 108th–111th United States Congresses from Maryland
108th Senate: P. Sarbanes | B. Mikulski House: S. Hoyer | B. Cardin | W. Gilchrest | R. Bartlett | A. Wynn | E. Cummings | D. Ruppersberger | C. Van Hollen
109th Senate: P. Sarbanes | B. Mikulski House: S. Hoyer | B. Cardin | W. Gilchrest | R. Bartlett | A. Wynn | E. Cummings | D. Ruppersberger | C. Van Hollen
110th Senate: B. Mikulski | B. Cardin House: S. Hoyer | W. Gilchrest | R. Bartlett | A. Wynn | E. Cummings | D. Ruppersberger | C. Van Hollen | J. Sarbanes
111th Senate: B. Mikulski | B. Cardin House: S. Hoyer | R. Bartlett | E. Cummings | D. Ruppersberger | C. Van Hollen | J. Sarbanes | D. Edwards | F. Kratovil

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