Volume 14, Issue 4 ~ January 26 - February 1, 2006


Dancing with Steny Hoyer

with Sandra Olivetti Martin

If anybody knows Maryland politics, it’s Steny Hoyer. First elected to the United States Congress in 1981, Hoyer is dean of the Maryland House delegation, its longest serving congressman.

He’s elected to represent the Fifth Congressional District (Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s and parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties), and you’d think he did nothing else so familiar is his face at military bases, tobacco barns and the many byways of a district where he can switch from tailored suits to blue jeans.

At the same time, Hoyer is a force within the Democratic Party. His job for the last year has been whip, marshalling votes for the Democratic minority in the U.S. House. He’s also a potent fund-raiser, and he travels the country stumping for other Democrats. If anybody can read the future of his colleagues, Hoyer can.

Last week, Hoyer sat with reporters to handicap the political year ahead.

His Bright Idea

Resolving our energy problems is essential for national security and global health. It will take a Manhattan-style Project of massive investment, bringing together the academic community, business and government with the short-term goal of putting America on the path to greater energy independence.

On the Democratic Candidate to Run for Paul Sarbanes’ Seat in the U.S. Senate

Ben Cardin is far and away the best candidate. He’s extraordinary. Visionary. Capable. The most remarkable legislator I’ve ever served with. He and I came to the General Assembly in the same year. He was 23, and I was 27. He’s an expert on health care, which we’ll need, and also brings innovative legislative skills for forging new policies. He has the same intellect and integrity as Paul Sarbanes.

It’s nothing about race. I like Kweisi Mfume. It’s all about capability, particularly in health care and taxation.

On the Democratic Race to Replace Ben Cardin in the Third Congressional District

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens [if she enters the race, which she has said she’s considering] would be a formidable opponent. Since 1992, Anne Arundel has had no resident member of Congress.

On Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s 2002 Victory

He had the Perfect Storm. The voters were unhappy with Parris Glendening his last year and a half, and they did not believe Kathleen Kennedy Townsend conveyed her vision.

On Who Should be the Democratic Candidate for Governor in 2006

Martin O’Malley and Doug Duncan are both very strong candidates. I would hope both would run positive campaigns based on how they’ll changes the priorities Ehrlich has effected.

I think [either] will have sufficient money to make a winning race. We Democrats will be working hard to raise money.

I’ve been at this a long time, and you’re not going to get me to say [who I favor]. I’m going to continue to dance.

On His Own Race

I’m not going to do anything different.

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