Name: Chris Van Hollen
Political party: Democrat
Where you live: Kensington in Montgomery County
Current occupation and employers (may also list up to two previous jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: U.S. senator
Political experience (public offices held and when; as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years; do not include political party positions): Prior to my election to the U.S. Senate in November 2016, I served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Maryland's Eighth Congressional District. I have also served the people of Maryland in elected office in the Maryland Senate and Maryland House of Delegates. Early in my career, I worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Charles Mathias (R-Md.) and a legislative advisor for federal affairs to then-Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)
I'm running for re-election to the U.S. Senate to continue delivering results for all Marylanders and uphold our values of justice, equality, and freedom. I’ve worked successfully to bring key investments to our state — to support our schools, infrastructure, the Chesapeake Bay, access to affordable health care and housing, and help for seniors and veterans. At this moment, we must strengthen our democracy and end the hatred and violence that threatens our future.
2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)
The most important issue is what kind of country we'll be going forward. Will we protect the right to vote for all Americans? A woman's right to reproductive freedom? Will we build a more inclusive country where all, not just the mega-wealthy, have access to good-paying jobs, affordable child care, prescription drugs, housing, quality education, and dignity in retirement? Will we protect the future of our planet and our environment? Will we act to address the violence in our communities? I have introduced legislation to advance all of these goals and will continue working to make them a reality.
3 – What experience (work, political or other has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)
Maryland is my home. We raised our family here. I've had the privilege of getting to know our communities and the people across our state well. I have been honored to represent Marylanders in the U.S. Senate these last six years and in the U.S. Congress and the Maryland state legislature before that. I believe my experience as a legislator, appropriator, and consensus builder ready to work with anyone to make progress for our state and country, as well as my deep knowledge of and love for our state, have prepared me well to serve as your senator.
4. What is one major issue the current Senate has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)
Every voice must be heard to achieve the goals of our democracy. I’m a sponsor of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to fortify our democracy against the Big Lie, protect the right to vote, and end voter suppression. Both go hand in hand with my fight to rid our elections of secret, dark money that puts special interests ahead of the American people. I am very disappointed that the Senate has failed to muster the votes to pass these measures. I would change the undemocratic filibuster rule.
5 – How well is the Senate addressing climate change? What, if anything, would you do differently? (100 words max)
We must address the climate crisis and the damage it wreaks on our state. We’ve seen communities impacted by its daily tolls — such as increased flooding and extreme weather. That’s why I am fighting to pass my Polluters Pay Climate Fund plan to require the worst emitters — mostly Big Oil companies — to help pay the costs of climate clean-up.
I also helped write a Senate budget plan that spurs investments in clean energy and helps homeowners save on home energy costs. And worked to pass an infrastructure bill that funds clean alternatives, like transit and electric vehicles.
6 – Would you change the U.S. health care system? How? (100 words max)
All Americans need affordable health care. I have defended the Affordable Care Act against GOP attacks and worked to increase access to mental health and other services with the goal of universal care. I have championed bills to reduce our unconscionably high prescription drug and health care costs, including allowing Medicare to negotiate on drug prices, tackle the medical debt crisis, and end health disparities. It's also vital that we protect Americans' freedoms and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify the legal right to reproductive choice.
7 – Does the U.S. need more gun control laws? Which ones? (100 words max)
Our country faces a gun violence epidemic today — and we are not doing our jobs if we continue to fail to act to stop the loss of life. Too many Americans and too many Marylanders face the loss of loved ones from gun violence. We need common-sense reforms, like universal background checks, and reinstating federal bans on high-capacity magazines and semiautomatic assault weapons. We can build on executive actions on limiting ghost guns, expand community violence prevention programs, and pass my legislation for stronger oversight to enhance gun safety in our country. This needs to be a top priority.
8 – What should be the country’s top foreign policy concern? Why? (100 words max)
Our biggest concern should be the rise of authoritarianism and the decline of freedom worldwide. We are now confronting two major threats — Putin’s attack on democracy in Ukraine and China’s use of unfair trade and economic practices to export its model. We must continue to work with our allies to support the people of Ukraine and isolate Putin. And we must invest in innovation and education at home to strengthen our economic competitiveness, crack down on China’s unfair practices, and work with partners around the world to counter Beijing’s malign influence.
9 – Would you change U.S. immigration policy and enforcement? How? (100 words max)
America is a nation of immigrants, from our founding to today. I believe that enabling immigrants to become a strong and vital part of our country is not only consistent with our values, but is a proven path to strengthening our economic future. I support comprehensive immigration reform initiatives, which would combine a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and others with effective border security.