Van Hollen Wins Democratic Nomination For U.S. Senate

Kensington, MD — Today Chris Van Hollen made remarks after winning the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate from Maryland. Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“Thank you, thank you Maryland Democrats. I love you all, each and every one of you. Thank all of you who spent time going door to door in every part of the state. Those of you making long calls, those of you up early in the morning and up late in the night. Thank all of you Maryland Democrats in this room and across this great state.

“You inspire me every day. You are the life-blood of the Democratic Party. In fact, you’re the life-blood of our American democracy. And you understand the great saying that you are the change that you seek in this world, and together — together — we’re going to go forth from this evening and win the general election. And we’re going to be going to the new Democratic majority in the United States Senate. We’re going to say goodbye to Mitch McConnell.

“I want to thank my family. My wonderful wife, Katherine. My partner in life, as well as every step of the way on the campaign trail. My three wonderful children: Anna, Nick, and Alex. And some of my sisters and aunts and cousins that make up a precinct all by themselves.

“And I want to thank our entire extended family. We had a great campaign team. Thank all of you who were part of this from day one, and all of you out there who were part of our extended family. Thank you.

“I also want to thank all of the elected officials who are here. Great leaders in the state of Maryland. Local officials, state officials, federal officials. People who understand that at the end of the day, regardless of whether we’re at the county level, state level, or national level, we all serve the same constituents and they all expect us to get the work done for them.

“And I know many of our county executives were already introduced. I also want to say thank you to our great Attorney General Brian Frosh.

“And I also want to thank and acknowledge Congresswoman Donna Edwards for being a strong advocate for Democratic party values and priorities and I’m grateful for the call I just received from her. And I know we will go forth in unity to win the general election.

Tonight I also want to salute another great Marylander, a unique Marylander. Maryland’s own Senator Barbara Mikulski.

“As I said long before the new Star Wars movie came out, if Barbara Mikulski is with you, the force is with you. And she understood that the job of a Maryland Senator was, yes, to engage the big battles at the national level — but she understood that you never forget the people back home in our neighborhoods and communities, and bringing results on the ground.

“So tonight I want to say to all Marylanders, whether you’re from Baltimore City or Baltimore County, or the Baltimore area, whether you’re from the Washington suburbs, or from Western Maryland, or Southern Maryland, or the Eastern shore — I will fight hard for you everyday in the United States Senate.

“Now, you’ve all been following this crazy Presidential election. This is a crazy time in American politics. You’ve got the Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump trying to raise himself up by dividing Americans against each other, by trying to pit people against each other based on religion or ethnicity or race. That is not who we are in the United States of America.

“And I’ve got news for Donald Trump. You may have won the Maryland Republican primary, but that’s not who we are in the state of Maryland. All my public life I’ve worked with many of you to try to bring people together to fight for the common good. And that’s what we’ve got to do as Democrats to make sure that we win the White House in 2016. Are we gonna do that?

“And you know, winning the White House is not enough. We’ve got to take the majority in the United States Senate. And let me tell you the difference.

“I remember when President Obama was first elected. That was a great day for all of America. And during that first two years of President Obama’s presidency, with a Democratic Congress, we did great things. It’s easy to forget these things. But the economy was sinking like a rock. We were losing 700,000 jobs every month in this country.

And President Obama, with a Democratic Congress, we passed the economic recovery bill, and helped rebuild the economy. And then we passed the Wall Street reform bill — not perfect, but we want to make sure that never again is your money put at risk by gambling on Wall Street. And of course we passed the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, which provides affordable healthcare to over 18 million Americans.

“So thank you, President Obama and Vice President Biden, for all your leadership and work. Now, since 2010 it’s been a different time on Capitol Hill. And we’ve gone from doing good things, to doing good things by having simply to stop the Tea Party Republicans from doing bad things.

“And I’m pleased that, as the Senior Democrat on the Budget Committee, we’ve been able to lead those fights to block the Tea Party efforts and their trickle-down agenda. But that’s not enough to move our country forward. We need to regain the initiative.

“But that’s not enough to move our country forward. We need to regain the initiative, because we have so much work to do as a country. We need to make sure every child in our state and in our country, regardless of their neighborhood, gets the very best start in life and has the chance to succeed.

“And we need to build an economy that works for everybody — not just the folks who are in the top 1 percent. So we got a lot of work to do, we got a lot of work to end the scourge of gun violence that is plaguing communities every day.

“We have to end the scandal of mass incarceration, because it’s simply wrong to treat nonviolent substance abuse as a criminal matter rather than a health care matter. We have 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of world’s prison population. That is not right in America, and we’re going to change that.

“And we’re going to address climate change, and you all know we’ve got a lot of work to do to move this country forward. But the first step in doing that is, yes, to elect a Democratic President, but also to elect that Democratic President a majority in the United States Senate.

“And you know what, ladies and gentlemen? You know where that fight starts? Right here in Maryland. Because there is no political path unless the Democrats win a majority in the United States Senate, without winning right here in Maryland.

“Senator Mikulski’s fond of saying, you know, Maryland is not cobalt blue. So we’re going to have to work very hard in every part of the state, in every corner of the state. Sometimes Democrats only campaign in the big Democratic areas. We’ve got to campaign for every vote in every part of the state.

“Fired up, ready to go? Fired up, ready to go? Well let’s go get ‘em.”