Democrat Chris Van Hollen

House
Chris Van Hollen

Birthdate: Jan. 10, 1959
Birth Place: Karachi, , Pakistan
Residence: Kensington, MD
First Elected: 2002
Gender: Male

Candidacy

Party: Democratic
State: Maryland
Office: House
District: District 8

Education

Undergraduate: Swarthmore College

Degree: BA

Graduate: Harvard University

Degree: MPP

Graduate: Georgetown University

Degree: JD

Chris Van Hollen was born in Karachi, Pakistan, where his father was a foreign service officer. He now lives in Kensington, Md. He earned a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College, a master's degree from Harvard University and a law degree from Georgetown University.

Van Hollen began a private law practice in 1991. He was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1990. After serving one four-year term, he was elected to the state Senate in 1994.

He won election to the U.S. House in 2002, unseating longtime incumbent Connie Morella, one of the few liberal-leaning Republicans left in Congress.

Van Hollen and his wife, Katherine, have three children.

Profile

Chris Van Hollen is the ranking minority member of the House Budget Committee. From that position, he is the point man for Democrats on attacking Republican budget plans.

"Billionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas would receive millions while seniors are forced to pay more for their health care," Van Hollen wrote in a March 2012 campaign fundraising letter, asking for recipients to contribute $3 "right now" to his party's effort to reclaim the House majority.

Also in March 2012, he attacked a contentious GOP budget plan to sharply cut federal health care spending and safety-net programs like food stamps as the chief means to battle trillion-dollar-plus deficits.

"The choices made in the Republican budget are simply wrong for America," Van Hollen said. "It is not bold to provide tax breaks to millionaires while ending the Medicare guarantee for seniors and sticking seniors with the bill for rising health care costs."

He also speaks out to tighten campaign fundraising rules. In February 2012, top Democrats introduced legislation that would require outside groups running campaign ads to quickly identify themselves and their top contributors.

"The American people have a right to know who is bank-rolling these television ads," said Van Hollen, who is a chief sponsor of the bill.

Van Hollen has long appeared to be on the rise, having held prominent Democratic positions on Capitol Hill, including as the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of the party that raises money for Democratic candidates. He also served as assistant to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the 2009 to 2010 election cycle.

Van Hollen's liberal Democratic views were shaped during his youth. As the son of a foreign service officer, he spent parts of his childhood in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Turkey. He said the experience left a deep impression on him about the advantages Americans enjoy, and how others in the world look to America to lead the way.

When Van Hollen mulled a 2002 bid for the U.S. House, some friends in the Maryland Legislature told him he was making a mistake by giving up a promising career in the state Senate to run for Congress against two formidable opponents.

But Van Hollen defeated Mark Shriver, a nephew of John F. Kennedy, in the Democratic primary and upset liberal Republican Rep. Connie Morella in the general election to win the seat of the Maryland's wealthy 8th District in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Source: Associated Press

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