In speaking with MACo Summer Conference attendees, US Senator Ben Cardin related his work on Capitol Hill to issues facing Maryland’s local governments and stated that those at the county-level are the closest to the people and they know the problems in their community.
Senator Cardin’s town hall-style meeting at the MACo Conference was moderated by Matt Chase, Executive Director, National Association of Counties. Director Chase introduced the session with a brief description of some of the recent work of Congress that relates to counties, including transportation, health, environment, and corrections.
In his introductory remarks, Senator Cardin described recent interactions he has had with local governments officials in Maryland, including:
- Meeting with Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett in Silvery Spring following the explosion there and seeing how the federal government can help
- Meeting with Howard County Executive Alan Kittleman following the floods in Ellicott City and
- Meeting with officials in Hagerstown, Cumberland and Salisbury regarding rural healthcare needs, and
- Holding several round-tables throughout Maryland on the opioid crisis
Senator Cardin spoke about legislation passed in Congress including:
- Federal reauthorization of the Surface transportation act and the funding flexibility for county governments provided through transportation alternative program funds.
- The Every Child Succeeds Act in education
- The bi-partisan CARA Act for comprehensive addiction and recovery treatment
The Senator shared his to-do list for the coming Congressional session, including
- Passing a budget in September to allow for greater funding predictability for local governments,
- Issuing an emergency appropriation to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus, and
- Passing the Water Resources Development Act.
Cardin was asked questions from the audience about:
- Racial profiling,
- Legalization of marijuana, and
- Prevention of opioid-related deaths.
For more information, watch the video of the Town Hall on C-SPAN.