In the “Not At All Surprising” Department, the Baltimore Sun endorsed Chris Van Hollen for Senate yesterday in grand style, heaping praise on his well-known skills at everything from the nuances of policy details to negotiating deals with a Republican Party that pretty much doesn’t want to do much of anything.
Mr. Van Hollen understands the nuances of issues ranging from the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo to the need to expand Baltimore’s Howard Street rail tunnel. Even among veterans of Washington, few can match his depth of knowledge. That’s been a crucial ingredient in his success. He’s not the kind of politician who’s just out to score invitations to appear on Meet the Press (though he’s gotten plenty). He’s the kind who is willing to do the kind of hard work that is the prerequisite to getting anything done in a highly partisan Congress.
The kind of legislation Mr. Van Hollen has pursued in the House and would make a priority in the Senate matches Maryland’s values. He is deeply involved in environmental issues, from addressing climate change to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. He is one of the leaders of the effort to get secret money out of politics. He has worked to encourage other states to adopt their own versions of Maryland’s life-saving handgun purchaser licensing law. He supports a higher federal minimum wage and equal pay for equal work.
Replacing Senator Mikulski means more than voting the way she would have. It means recognizing that you represent the entire state, not just those jurisdictions where you get most of your votes. It means working doggedly on behalf of your constituents and serving as something of a team captain among Maryland’s elected officials to serve the state’s interests. Mr. Van Hollen’s record of solving problems for people whether they live in his district or not and the broad support he has from leaders across the state testify to his ability to fulfill those roles. He’s not from Baltimore, but he does have family roots here and a record of working on issues that are important to the city, dating to his efforts to increase state funding for public schools while in the legislature.
Chris Van Hollen is going to be a great Senator. No doubt whatsoever about that.