Cardin, Van Hollen to appear jointly in GSC forum

The Greater Salisbury Committee will present its second “A Conversation With” this month, bringing together, for the first time in recent memory, two sitting senators who will talk with locals.

U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen will be at Assembly Hall in the Guerrieri Academic Commons at Salisbury University at noon on Friday,  Feb. 16.

Last year, Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot came to Salisbury for the inaugural A Conversation With and it was an upbeat and informative event.

“We’re building on the success of what we did last year,” Mike Dunn, CEO of the GSC, said this week.

“We’re going to have a conversation. This is not meant to be political and it’s not partisan. It is an opportunity for the community to have a conversation with two U.S. senators, much like we did last year with Gov. Hogan and Comptroller Franchot.

“Last year we were in favor of the bipartisan approach. This is not a political thing, not partisan. Both senators are Democrats.

“We don’t think this has ever happened. It’s rare for two U.S. senators from any state to be sitting side by side anywhere,” he said, adding he is grateful to both men’s staff members, who worked well with him.

Invitations will be sent to community members and some Salisbury University students and, probably, public school classes, will be there.

“Our first Conversation was an overwhelming success. Gov. Hogan and Comptroller Franchot were impressed with what they saw and we’re hoping to have the same impact with the senators. We want them to know that, when they come to town, the town responds,” Dunn said.

Cardin, 74, the state’s senior senator, is a Democrat and native of Baltimore. He was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1966, while still attending law school. In 2006, he was elected to the U.S.  Senate, succeeding longtime Sen. Paul Sarbanes.

Married since 1964 and the father of two, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District from 1987 to 2007 and of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967 to 1987, the youngest to hold the position in the state’s history.

In his half-century career as an elected official, he has never lost an election.

Van Hollen, 59, born in Karachi, Pakistan, is a Democrat elected senator in 2017.

His father was a foreign service officer who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs in the late 1960s and early 1970s and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the 1970s.

His mother worked in the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department, where she served as chief of the intelligence bureau for South Asia.

From 2003 to 2017, Van Hollen, who is married and has three children, was U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.

At last year’s Conversation, Hogan and Franchot were seated in comfortable chairs in front of a standing room only crowd at Headquarters Live, in  a comfortable atmosphere. Franchot said constituents regularly told him they disliked arguing and name calling and want to see safe schools and streets – desires that aren’t Republican or Democratic, but Maryland based.

Although he and the governor don’t agree on every issue, they don’t “tear each other down in public” and have become friends, Franchot said.


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