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Nearing the end of his first term in the nation’s legislature, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D) said he “loves” his job and is “thrilled to deliver specific goods and services to constituents.”
“We’ve closed over 3,500 constituent cases helping people access Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements,” he said. “It’s extremely satisfying.”
Elected in 2016 to serve Maryland’s 8th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, the first term congressman explained that, despite being in the minority, he managed to work with other lawmakers to secure funding for the National Institutes of Health and address airplane noise pollution. Rep. Raskin will be sworn for his second term on Jan. 3, 2019.
Since entering office in Jan. 2017 to represent portions of Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll counties, Raskin sponsored 13 bills and cosponsored 853 others including the Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act, the Executive Branch Comprehensive Ethics Enforcement Act, the Free Flow of Information Act, the Presidential Disclosure of Foreign Business Transactions Act and the Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act.
He also sponsored continuing resolutions on climate change, ensuring President Donald J. Trump retains a press pool and requiring the House of Representatives observe a one minute silence for those killed in acts of gun violence.
Although none of Raskin’s primary sponsor bills became law, legislation included his amendments on the federal budget, transparency, and financial regulation.
One accomplishment the Congressman noted, included raising federal juror pay from $40 to $50 per day which he and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) inserted into a bill to avert a government shutdown in March.
His committee assignments include the Committees on House Administration; Judiciary; and Oversight and Government Reform as well as the subcommittees on Constitution and Civil Justice; Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations; Information Technology, and Interior, Energy and Environment.
Raskin, a former constitutional law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, explained that he intends to introduce a comprehensive bill on election reform as the new Congress commences using portions of the Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act and the Heightened Oversight of Travel, Eating, and Lodging Act.
Previously serving as a Maryland State Senator representing District 20 (Takoma Park, Silver Spring and White Oak) from 2007-2016, Raskin served on the Judicial Proceedings Committee, the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, the Executive Nominations Committee and as Senate Majority Whip during his final year in office.
While in Annapolis, Raskin led efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, abolish the death penalty, permit medical marijuana use, and expand ignition interlock device programs in DUI cases.
In March 2015, then Rep. Chris Van Hollen announced his bid to replace then Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who announced her retirement. Entering as one of the earliest candidates for the open House seat, Raskin defeated eight other Democratic primary opponents that included current Rep.-elect David Trone (MD-6), former Maryland Democratic Chair Kathleen Matthews, Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D18) and current County Council member Will Jawando (at-large) before winning the general election over Republican Dan Cox, Libertarian Jasen Wunder and Green Party candidate Nancy Wallace. In 2018, Raskin defeated a smaller field of candidates in the primary and general elections.
Comparing his tenures on Capitol Hill and Annapolis, Raskin said the lack of hearings in Congress “trampled legislative norms” adding that the “115th House was one of the least open and transparent of any Congress.”
He explained that the Maryland General Assembly holds regular hearings on legislation allowing “all sides to learn” adding that “without a hearing, both parties would descend into rival legislative camps.”
In the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election, numerous protests and marches including the Women’s March, the March for Science, the Tax March, and the People’s Climate March took place to oppose the policies of the Trump Administration.
Raskin said “he will never forget” participating in the Women’s March, which occurred one day after Trump’s inauguration, and being “alongside scientists from NIH” during the March for Science on Apr. 22, 2017.
Outside the Congressional chambers, Raskin explained that holding teach-ins on white supremacy, town halls on Medicare and Social Security, and pinning ceremonies for Vietnam War veterans are just a few memorable events from his first term.
Following the death of his father, Marcus Raskin in 2017, a public policy professor at George Washington University’s School of Public Policy and Public Administration, co-founder of the Institute on Policy Studies think tank, and a prominent anti-war activist during the 1960s, the congressman, said he “was overwhelmed by support from constituents.”
With Democrats taking control of Congress following the 2018 Midterm election and recently elected as the Caucus Leadership Representative for the House Democratic Caucus, Raskin said he is “excited” to be in the majority and named mental health background checks, the Dream Act, infrastructure, and the Green New Deal as his legislative priorities.