Maryland's gerrymandered congressional districts leave little question about who our representatives in Congress will be, but a U.S. Senate seat vacated by Democrat Barbara Mikulski — who is retiring after 30 years in the Senate and nearly four decades in Congress overall — has created some intrigue.
For senator, we support Kathy Szeliga, Republican. The minority whip in the Maryland House of Delegates has an uphill battle to win a statewide election against Congressman Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who has represented Carroll, along with Frederick and Montgomery counties, since the 8th district was redrawn in 2010.
Szeliga's message, however, is one that should resonate with Carroll voters and, she hopes, the same voters statewide who swept Republican Larry Hogan into the governor's mansion two years ago. Like Hogan, who has endorsed Szeliga, the Baltimore County Republican has avoided wading into the muck on socially divisive issues, instead focusing on job creation and small business development and taking care of our veterans.
On the former issue, rather than supporting an increase in the federal minimum wage, Szeliga — who previously worked as a dishwasher and a maid, and now co-owns a construction company with her husband — says what individuals in low-paying jobs really want is a career, and believes sharp minimum wage increases will crush small businesses and startups. On the latter, Szeliga, the daughter of a retired Army lieutenant colonel, wants to serve on the Veterans Affairs Committee to help clean up some of the red tape keeping those who have served our country from the benefits they've earned. Szeliga has also pledged to work to control spending and taxes in Washington.
For representative in Congress, District 1, we support Andy Harris, Republican. Harris has a track record as the lone conservative voice representing Marylanders in Washington. Harris, who represents the northernmost portions of Carroll, Baltimore and Harford counties, as well as the Eastern Shore, has been a friend to farmers in those historically agricultural areas, pushing back against onerous regulations that limit their ability to farm their land. Harris is also seeking to become chair of the Republican Study Committee in an attempt to create party unity among conservatives that has been fractured in Washington.
For representative in Congress, District 8, we support Jamie Raskin, Democrat. Raskin certainly leans further left than we'd like on issues such as additional taxes for environmental causes that we don't think county voters or much of the country has an appetite for right now, but we find his attitude on those issues easier to swallow than his opponent's denial of climate change, and other hard-line stances with little substance.
Raskin has shown the ability to work across the aisle in Annapolis, something he'll need to do if elected and the GOP remains in control of House. For example, he championed the bipartisan Maryland Second Chance Act in 2015, which gave people convicted of certain nonviolent misdemeanors an opportunity to petition the court to shield that information from public view in an effort to re-enter the workforce. The bill was co-sponsored by Carroll/Frederick Republican Sen. Michael Hough, received a favorable vote from Carroll Republican Sen. Justin Ready in committee and was supported by Hogan.