Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) joined other leading Democrats yesterday in condemning the Senate’s defeat of major gun control proposals, including an expanded background check system that polling showed most Americans supported.
Van Hollen, a leading Congressional Democrat who has made clear his positon for more gun control measures, called the vote “a sickening display of political cowardice.”
The Maryland General Assembly, behind the support of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and the efforts of State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Dist. 16), recently passed one of the most restrictive gun control bills in the county, with a ban on assault weapons, an ammunition limit of 10 rounds, a license and fingerprint requirement for all new handgun sales and a ban on gun ownership by the mentally ill.
A few days after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting, Frosh and other Maryland lawmakers introduced their gun control package, citing changing attitudes on the issue since the shooting.
That wasn’t enough to make gun control measures work on a national scale. Van Hollen’s full statement:
Today, in a sickening display of political cowardice, an undemocratic minority of senators blocked a series of bills that would help reduce gun violence, including a bipartisan compromise proposal to close gaping loopholes in current law and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and people with severe mental illnesses – a proposal that has the support of 90 percent of Americans. It is a sad day for our nation when an undemocratic minority bows to the special interest Washington, DC gun lobby to block an up-or-down vote on a common-sense idea that the vast majority of people support.
We have a long tradition in this country of responsible gun ownership – but in the wake of too many tragedies, including the massacre in Newtown, we are clearly not doing enough to keep our citizens safe. We cannot allow politics and misinformation to stand in the way of what is best for our nation, and I will keep fighting for this issue on behalf of our children, our families, and our community.
Local politicians mum on whether the Redskins should lose their trademark protection — A bill proposed in Congress would strip the Washington Redskins and any other entity of trademark protection for the term “Redskins,” but no area politician, including Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), seemed willing to take a position on the matter. There is also an ongoing case at the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. [Washington Post]
Planning White Flint’s Civic Green — Friends of White Flint and Just Up The Pike blogger Dan Reed looks at what features would work for a planned civic green south of Old Georgetown Road between Rockville Pike and Executive Boulevard, what planners hope can one day be a focal point and central gathering space of the new White Flint. [Friends of White Flint]
Brickyard Road Site Could Be Home To New Potomac Elementary — After Montgomery County decided against its controversial plan to uproot a local organic farm and build soccer fields at the Brickyard site, MCPS has now told parents the site could be home to a new Potomac Elementary School to quell overcrowding. [Washington Examiner]
Chevy Chase Water Main Break Hearing Today — The County Council’s Transportation & Environment Committee, led by Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) will hear from WSSC officials about last month’s 60-inch water main break in Chevy Chase Lake. The hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. in Rockville and can be viewed online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov. [Montgomery County Council]
Flickr photo by streetamatic
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) today opened the annual art competition for high school artists in his Eighth Congressional District. The winner gets his or her entry displayed in the U.S. Capitol building for a year. Runners-up will see their work displayed in Van Hollen’s offices.
This year, Van Hollen’s office is teaming up with the new Capitol Arts Network/Washington School of Photography in Rockville’s Twinbrook neighborhood.
You might remember the Washington School of Photography (WSP) from its nearly 40 years in downtown Bethesda. It recently moved up Rockville Pike after development forced it out of its longtime home on Rugby Avenue.
A juried selection of submitted work in the competition will be on display at WSP’s new home (12276 Wilkins Ave.), which it shares with the Capitol Arts Network. The Capital Arts Network is taking the lead in the partnership with Van Hollen’s office.
To participate, students must complete an entry form. The information can be found on Van Hollen’s website.
Entries can be delivered to three locations throughout the district, including CAN/WSP on Friday, April 19 between 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. or Saturday, April 20 between 10 a.m. and noon.
Van Hollen will host a reception to showcase the exhibit, honor all participants and announce the winners at WSP on Sunday, April 28 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
‘One-Man Crime Spree’ Faces 58 Years Behind Bars — Michael Bernard Dorsey, 47, of Silver Spring on Thursday was convicted in the last of five trials that saw him convicted of 20 counts of theft from autos over the last two years in Potomac and Bethesda. [The Washington Post]
Obama Stops By Strathmore For Daughter Sasha’s Recital — Barack Obama stopped in Saturday night at the venue in North Bethesda to see his daughter’s dance recital, according to pool reports. Obama left for the White House about an hour after arriving. [h/t @PoliticoKevin]
Walter Johnson Senior Wins State Swimming Title With Injured Arm — Barry Mangold, a University of Virginia recruit, dislocated his shoulder on Friday, then won the Class 4A/3A state titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle on Saturday. Mangold set the state record in the 50-yard event and helped Walter Johnson to its second straight team title. [The Gazette]
Is Chris Van Hollen Destined For House Speaker? — A profile portrays the Maryland Congressman and Kensington resident as a candidate for the House’s highest leadership position if the Democrats take control. [New Republic]
Flickr photo by ehpien
Close to 70 guest readers gathered at Chevy Chase’s Rock Creek Forest Elementary School Thursday morning to read and to emphasize the importance of reading to some of the school’s 600 students.
The sixth annual “Reading Rocks” event began when University of Maryland track coach Andrew Valmon, whose kids go to the school, asked former principal David Chia how his track athletes could volunteer.
Chia came up with the concept of the team members reading to the students, so they could ask college students about their favorite school subjects growing up.
“He asked to please have your student-athletes come to our school and read to our students so they will know there is such a thing as a college student and there is an expectation that they should think, ‘Oh, I can go to college, too,’” said Rock Creek Forest reading specialist Carla Register.
Valmon made the event mandatory and it’s grown. Today, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, County Executive Isiah Leggett, County Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Hans Riemer and Phil Andrews as well as a number of County Board of Education members, parents and former staff took turns reading to students.
“We felt that mixing the athletes with people in the community was a great way to get the kids excited,” Valmon said. “They talk about their experiences growing up and how they read. We felt like this was a way to give back. The parents do so much to keep this going.”
Rock Creek Forest will be moving to the Radnor Center over the summer for a year and a half as the existing building is demolished and rebuilt.
Principal Jennifer Lowndes said the school has a number of students for whom emphasizing the importance of reading is important. The school has an English Academy and Spanish Immersion program.
With details emerging from today’s mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, local officials have expressed condolences to all those affected.
Montgomery County Public Schools pointed to the system’s emergency preparedness procedures, which are rehearsed and reviewed on a regular basis.
MCPS spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala said each school has a total of four scenario based drills a year based on a weather event, community incident, hazardous materials and lockdown situation.
Montgomery County Police Department officers were detailed to county elementary schools this afternoon.
Meanwhile, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) released the following statement:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families touched by the senseless slaughter perpetrated today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Such violence directed toward anyone is unspeakable – aimed at little children all the more so. There is no point in trying to make sense of it for it makes no sense.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said ‘we find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.’ Tonight, though, hearts are broken into pieces in Newtown, in Montgomery County, and all across America. Some will take a long time to mend. Some never will.
And so we pray, we mourn, and we try to figure what we can do to make sure our classrooms resound to the sounds of laughter and learning, not tragic consequences.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) also released a statement:
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families of this tragedy. The entire nation stands with the community of Newtown. Today is a day for mourning and prayer, but we must immediately get to work to end these senseless, mass killings of innocent Americans. Together, we must act now to stop the carnage.
The Defense Department will provide Maryland with $18.3 million for work on a Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road intersection improvement project, members of the state’s congressional delegation announced today.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) and Senators Barbara Mikulski (D) and Ben Cardin (D) said the grant is the second of four they expect to be awarded to the state for traffic-mitigation issues around the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The Maryland Department of Transportation got a $7.3 million grant in September for a BRAC-related intersection upgrade at Old Georgetown Road and West Cedar Lane.
The State Highway Administration will manage the $23.1 million project.
Statements from Van Hollen, Mikulski and Cardin follow:
“Our community is proud to be the home of the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. In order to make sure it is a world-class center of excellence for our veterans, we must ensure patients, families, and base personnel are able to access the facility. We must also reduce BRAC-related congestion in the surrounding community,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “This funding will help do just that. It’s a win-win for everyone and key to making a successful transition at the new Walter Reed.”
“I fought in the Senate to BRAC-proof Maryland’s bases, now I am working to BRAC-ready our transportation systems. Our troops fight overseas to protect our freedom, they shouldn’t have to fight traffic to get the care they’ve earned when they get back,” said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee which funds the Department of Defense. “The Walter Reed National Military Center at Bethesda will be the frontline in delivering care to our wounded warriors. I am proud to partner with my Team Maryland colleagues to make BRAC a success and secure the federal funding needed to meet the increased demands on our community.”
“This additional funding will make a difference for the thousands of wounded warriors and their families who will use the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as well as Montgomery County’s beleaguered commuters,” said Senator Cardin. “As a delegation, we have been united in our efforts to ensure federal support for the expanded medical facility and the tens of thousands of new military and civilian jobs being brought to our state through the BRAC process. I am pleased that we will be able to provide much-needed road upgrades to improve safety and reduce BRAC-related congestion.”
Photo via TrafficLand.com
YMCA Repairs Water Main, Reopens — The Bethesda-Chevy Chase branch of the YMCA (9401 Old Georgetown Rd.) closed yesterday after a water main break on its grounds yesterday. After fixing the pipe overnight, the branch reopened with regular hours today. [YMCA via Facebook]
Duncan Will Start Campaign With Hefty Financial Advantage — Using funds left over from his aborted 2006 bid for governor, Doug Duncan will start the 2014 county executive campaign with a significant money advantage over Councilmembers Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg) and George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park, the other two to announce their candidacy. [The Gazette]
Van Hollen Again Voted As Ranking Member of Budget Committee — Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives remained the same yesterday, after members of the Democratic caucus reasserted Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer as minority leader and minority whip, respectively. Kensington native and local Rep. Chris Van Hollen remained the ranking member of the Budget Committee. [WAMU]
Somerset Poolhouse Wins Architectural Award — A $3 million, just more than year-old pool facility in the Town of Somerset recently won an architectural design award. The Town did not pass a proposal that would have included moveable glass walls to enclose the pool during the winter. [Chevy Chase Patch]
Walter Reed Adds Jobs, NIH Loses Some — Walter Reed National Military Medical Center added 700 jobs in the last year, in addition to the 2,900 added in 2011. NIH was down 1,140 jobs in the past year as was Lockheed Martin, the Bethesda-based private military contractor, which lost 1,000 Maryland jobs. [The Gazette]
Flickr photo by Bill in DC
(UPDATE at 3:55) Montgomery County Board of Elections spokeswoman Marjorie Roher says Timmerman’s request has been forwarded to the county attorney, per standard procedure. Upon conclusion of the provisional and absentee ballot counts, a response will be prepared within the 30 days required by law of all Public Information Act requests.
The defeated Republican candidate for Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s congressional seat yesterday questioned the accuracy of Montgomery County polling results, filing a Public Information Act request to obtain electronic voting machine records for last week’s election.
Ken Timmerman, the Kensington man who ran against Van Hollen, got 43,729 votes and lost by more than 115,000 votes, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections
In a letter to the Board dated Nov. 13, he questioned the security of voting machines, software and operating policies. He claimed voters in Montgomery County contacted him with “anecdotal evidence of irregularities during early voting and the Nov. 6 general election at various polling stations in Montgomery and Carroll Counties, many of which were brought to the attention of election judges on duty at the time.”
He also claimed there were voting machines in the district without a single Republican vote.
At Bethesda Elementary School, one of the most popular Bethesda voting precincts, Van Hollen got 77 percent of the vote. Timmerman got nearly 19 percent, slightly off from the split between presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and generally consistent throughout all Bethesda precincts.
Timmerman claims he asked to see voting machine print-outs detailing results from each machine, but was told they were discarded on election night. He said the state must enforce a 2007 law that established the replacement of touch-screen machines with optical scanner voting machines.
“It won’t change the outcome of this year’s elections,” Timmerman wrote. “But it could mean there will be less cheating in 2014.”
During the campaign, Timmerman had a number of testy exchanges with Van Hollen, a high-ranking member of the Democratic party. Timmerman espoused his belief in cutting government services and attacked Van Hollen’s leadership on the House Budget Committee.
Van Hollen, also a Kensington resident, said it was the worst case of “gutter politics” he had ever seen in the community.
Bethesda voters tomorrow will encounter the longest ballot in Montgomery County in 20 years, full of high profile ballot questions that, at least locally, will dominate much of the talk surrounding the election.
As you prepare to head to the polls, check out our quick primer:
Maryland’s 8th Congressional District: Few expect Republican challenger Ken Timmerman to put up much of a fight against five-term incumbent and leading Democratic lawmaker Chris Van Hollen, even in a radically altered district that reaches all the way up to parts of more conservative and rural Frederick and Carroll Counties.
Despite Timmerman’s claims of a competitive race, he’s received little attention in heavily Democratic downcounty Montgomery and Bethesda. Pollsters didn’t even conduct a poll. Van Hollen has spent much of the months leading up to the election helping others, both on the national stage and in other competitive House races.
Timmerman, a Kensington neighbor of Van Hollen’s, has run on a platform of less government and conservative views on many social issues. He has tried to position himself as the choice for Jewish voters by attacking Van Hollen’s record on Israel, calling Van Hollen “a fair weather friend of Israel.” Last week, a Tea Party group came to Kensington to support Timmerman, an investigative journalist and author.
In a contentious September debate, Van Hollen accused Timmerman of distorting his record and the facts, especially on the budget. Van Hollen is the ranking member on the House Budget Committee. At a later candidates forum, Van Hollen said he has “never seen such gutter politics in our community.”
Republican Congressional candidate Ken Timmerman claims his race with heavily favored incumbent Chris Van Hollen (D) is competitive, and a group of Tea Party supporters is coming to try to prove it.
In an email to supporters last night, the Kensington investigative journalist said his campaign’s internal polling shows that since May, Van Hollen has never polled above 48 percent.
No independent polls have been released for the race, according to The Gazette. Despite a reconfigured district that includes traditionally conservative areas in Frederick and Carroll Counties, Van Hollen is expected to cruise to a sixth term.
Since defeating incumbent Connie Morella in 2002, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee has never won less than 73 percent of the vote and has assumed a national leadership role in the Democratic party with a stint as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Timmerman, though, has managed to raise Van Hollen’s ire.
At an Oct. 14 candidates event, Van Hollen said he’s “never seen such gutter politics in our community,” according to The Gazette.
After a debate on Sept. 28 in Gaithersburg, Van Hollen could be heard telling Timmerman to “stop lying” as the two shook hands.
Van Hollen is also a resident of Kensington, where a Tea Party group called the 2012 Tea Party Express will stop on a bus tour on Monday, Oct. 29 to support Timmerman.
“The Tea Party Express organizers told us that they picked up my challenge to entrenched borrower and spender Chris Van Hollen because they consider Maryland’s 8th District to be a competitive race,” Timmerman said in the Tuesday night email.
Federal sequestration was the predominant topic of discussion among the business and professional leaders of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rotary Club, which invited the five-term congressman and ranking member on the House Budget Committee to its weekly meeting at the Kenwood Golf & Country Club.
Sequestration would mean $110 billion in federal cuts to defense and domestic programs a year for the next 10 years and, according to one report, the loss of 12,600 federal jobs in Maryland. It could also start a chain reaction that would hurt local federal contractors and negatively affect the still sluggish economy.
Van Hollen reiterated his stance that reducing the deficit will take a mixed approach of cutting spending and raising revenue by keeping Clinton-era tax rates for those making more than $250,000 a year when the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012.
The leading Democratic congressman, who recently portrayed Budget Committee foe Paul Ryan in Vice President Joe Biden’s debate prep, said he expects a historically busy lame duck session of Congress to address sequestration after the Nov. 6 election.
Of course, Van Hollen has an election of his own to win. But with few expecting Republican challenger Ken Timmerman to come close, even in a reconfigured 8th Congressional District, the question of Van Hollen’s reelection didn’t come up on Tuesday.
Timmerman, as well as the Libertarian and Green candidates for the 8th District seat, were invited to speak at the Rotary Club.
Van Hollen touched on a few local issues, including federally funded road and transportation improvements at and around NIH and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
He also said he hopes to focus on critical infrastructure issues in the next year, including finding federal money for transportation projects such as the Purple Line, while maintaining access to the Capital Crescent Trail that runs along it.
Bethesda Library Hosts Meet the Author Event — Mark Shriver will speak about his book, “A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver,” at 7:30 p.m. at the Bethesda branch of the Montgomery County Public Library (7400 Arlington Rd.). Sargent Shriver was the architect of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, and is known as the creator of the Peace Corps. [Montgomery County Public Libraries]
Sangamore Road Intelligence Campus Gets Approval — The National Capital Planning Commission has signed off on the final portion of plans for development to house various Intelligence agencies at the former home of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. [Washington Business Journal]
Timmerman Not Getting Much Attention in Downcounty Areas — Ken Timmerman, the Kensington investigative reporter and Republican challenger to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), has made many trips to traditionally conservative areas in Frederick and Carroll Counties. But in heavily liberal areas of the new 8th district, some say his message doesn’t get through. [MarylandReporter.com]
Flickr pool photo by AmyMarieMoore
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) faced off against his Republican District 8 challenger in an at-times testy debate Friday at a senior community in Gaithersburg.
“I’ve never seen so much misinformation in so little time,” Van Hollen said of Republican Ken Timmerman’s remarks.
Timmerman, a Kensington investigative journalist, is hoping to unseat the five-term incumbent and leader in the Democratic party on the strength of rural voters new to the reshaped district.
In a hour-long forum, Timmerman accused Van Hollen of lying about job growth, contributing to a federal government deficit that has become a “disgrace,” and imposing burdensome regulations on healthcare by supporting the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.”
“You can not ram this kind of compromise down the throats of the people,” Timmerman said of the Affordable Care Act. He said his first vote, if elected, would be to repeal the law.
Van Hollen responded by saying that would leave many aged 18 to 26 without healthcare, something that could “bankrupt” their families if they were to need medical care.
Timmerman emphasized his campaign work in rural Frederick and Carroll Counties, new to the 8th District, and criticized Van Hollen for proposing a sequestration alternative that would cut direct aid to farmers.
Van Hollen said the cuts in direct aid to farmers would not affect many Marylanders and was something that had bipartisan support.
“I have spent most of my life investigating career politicians, like my opponent,” Timmerman said in his opening remarks. “Democrats have been in control of the House since January 2007. They did absolutely nothing to avert the crisis that hit us that June and did nothing to make things right. They had their chance. It’s time for a change.”
As they shook hands after the forum, Van Hollen appeared to ask Timmerman to “stop lying.” Timmerman responded by telling Van Hollen to “show up,” a theme the Republican has been harping on in campaign mailers.
The forum was organized by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association and included a District 6 portion before Van Hollen and Timmerman squared off. Incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) did not attend to take audience questions with his Democratic challenger, financier John Delaney.