Chris Van Hollen is the consummate public service person, who has built his political and governmental career following a well defined path. His father was a U. S. State Department Foreign Service officer, and Van Hollen probably decided from an early age to serve his country in a similar governmental career. Van Hollen earned his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College. He then entered Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and earned his Master’s Degree in Public Policy. He then went to Georgetown Law School and earned his J.D. from there.
During the 1980’s, Van Hollen worked on the U. S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and served as the legislative assistant to Republican Senator Charles Mathias. Van Hollen’s first elected office was in the Maryland General Assembly, where he served for twelve years, first for eight years in the Maryland House of Delegates and then for the last four years in the Maryland State Senate. While in the Maryland State Senate he served on the Budget and Taxation committee, and on the Health and Human Services Subcommittee.
In the 2002 Federal election, Van Hollen entered the Democratic Party primary election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Maryland’s Eighth District. His opponents were well known figures and consisted of former Clinton Administration aide Ira Shapiro and Mark Shriver, son of Sargent Shriver of Kennedy fame. Shriver had the most money to spend, so it was a daunting contest. Fortunately, Van Hollen had the support of the Washington Post, and the Baltimore Sun. Van Hollen won the Democratic Party primary election defeating Mark Shriver 43.5% to 40.6%.
Van Hollen then had the more formidable task of defeating the incumbent who had been representing Maryland’s Eighth District for the past eight U. S. House Congresses. Since the district he would represent was strongly Democratic, Van Hollen was successful and defeated his Republican opponent, Connie Morella, 51.7% to 48.2%.
Van Hollen was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2004 federal election, retaining his seat by a vote of 74.78%, and he again won re-election in 2006 by a vote of 76.52%. The high winning percentages must be some indication of how well he was representing the people in his district.
In the 109th Congress, from 2005 to 2006, Van Hollen served on the House Committee of Education and the Workforce, the House Committee on Government Reform, and on the House Committee of the Judiciary. For the 110th Congress, Van Hollen was appointed to the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means, and he was also appointed to succeed Representative Ralph Emanuel as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The latter committee supports Democratic candidates for the U. S. Congress all over the U.S.A.
In May 2006, Van Hollen, who is of Dutch descent, joined his Republican colleague in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dutch-born Peter Hoekstra, to form a bipartisan Congressional Caucus on the Netherlands. The goal of the caucus is to promote and enhance the existing relationships between the Netherlands and the United States, and to remember the Dutch role in establishing New York City, the State of New York, and to no small measure, the United States. Other members of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus are: Senator Mary Landrieu [D-LA], Rep. Leonard Boswell [D-IA], Rep. Jo Ann Davis [R-VA], Rep. Vernon Ehlers [R-MI], Rep. Jim Gerlach [R-PA], Rep. Joseph Knollenberg [R-MI], Rep. Donald A. Manzulla [R-IL], Rep.Thaddeus McCotter [R-MI], Rep. Michael McNulty [D-NY], Rep. Collin Peterson [D-MN], Rep. Lliena Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL], and Rep. Edolphus Towns [D-NY].
Chris Van Hollen was born as a United States citizen in Karachi, Pakistan on January 10, 1959. His father, a U .S. Foreign Service officer, was stationed in Pakistan at the time. Van Hollen has lived in Turkey, Sri Lanka and India. Van Hollen currently lives in Kensington, Maryland with his wife Katherine. The couple has three children: Anna, Nicholas and Alexander.
Chris Van Hollen, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Van_Hollen
Rep.Hoekstra to co-chair Dutch Congressional Caucus, http://www.godutch.com/windmill/newsItem.asp?id=989
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