Ben Cardin

From Academic Kids

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Ben Cardin

Benjamin Louis Cardin (born October 5 1943) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 3rd district of the State of Maryland (map ( since 1987.


Family connections

Cardin was raised in a political family and much of his early success can be attributed to family political connections. The family name was originally ďKardonskyĒ before it was changed to ďCardin.Ē

Ben Cardinís father, Meyer M. Cardin, was elected a Delegate representing District 2 of Baltimore City at the age of 27. He served from 1935 to 1937. The family lived at 1730 E. Baltimore St.. In 1967, Meyer was appointed as a Judge on the Baltimore City Circuit Court and served a 10 year term.

Benís Uncle, Maurice A. Cardin, formerly known as Morris Kardonsky, served as a Delegate representing District 5 of Baltimore City from 1951 to 1966. Maurice would play a big part in jump-starting young Benís political career. Meyer and Maurice were lawyers with the family law firm of Cardin & Cardin. The other partner being Jacob L. Cardin. Shoshana S. Cardin was appointed a delegate from Baltimore County District 2 to the 1967-68 Constitutional Convention, which was rejected by voters of Maryland on May 14, 1968.

In 1966, Maurice decided to not run for the District 5 seat so that his 22-year-old law student nephew Ben could run. The Cardin name proved unstoppable and Ben won, becoming a Delegate in 1967. Ben graduated from law school later that year. Ben subsequently served as Delegate representing District 42 after redistricting. Ben went on to serve as chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee at the age of 31 and as Speaker at the age of 36.

In 2002, Benís 32-year-old nephew, Jon S. Cardin, having similarly just graduated from law school in 2001, ran for election as a Delegate representing District 11 of western Baltimore County. With state legislative District 11 overlapping Congressional District 3, there were two Cardins on the ticket in this area in 2002. Another Cardin won their race. At Jonís swearing-in ( was the oldest living former member of the House of Delegates at 95 years of age, Meyer Cardin, Jonís grandfather and Benís father. Also in attendance was Ben, who stated, "The next generation's taking over." After Ben announced that he would vacate his Congressional seat to run for the U.S. Senate, Jon Cardin stated that he was exploring a campaign for his Uncle Ben's Congressional seat.

Maryland House of Delegates

As a Maryland legislator, Cardin served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967-1986. He was Speaker from 1979-1986 and prior to that served as chairman of the Ways & Means Committee from 1974-1979. As Speaker, he was credited with reforming Maryland's property tax system, the school financing formula and the ethical standards for elected officials.

Political success

In 1986, with then Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Charles Mathias, Jr., Cardin ran for Mikulskiís seat representing the 3rd Congressional District. Cardin won the Democratic nomination with 82% of the vote and became Congressman in the general election with 79% of the vote against Republican Ross Z. Pierpont.

Over the years, Cardin beat Republican Congressional nominees Harwood Nichols, Robert Tousey, William Bricker, Patrick McDonough, Colin Harby, Scott Conwell, and Bob Duckworth by impressive margins. In the two most recent elections, however, Cardin received the lowest vote totals of any incumbent Maryland Congressman.

U.S. Congress

In the House, Cardin has been a leader on fiscal issues, pension reform, and health care. His legislation to increase the amount Americans can put into their 401k plans and IRAs was enacted into law in 2001. His proposal to expand Medicare to include preventive benefits such as colorectal, prostate, mammogram, and osteoporosis screening was also enacted into law. He also has authored legislation to provide a Medicare prescription drug benefit for chronic illnesses; fund graduate medical education; and guarantee coverage for emergency services.

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Rep. Cardin (at podium) (D-MD) joins Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (center) (R-MD) and Jo Ann Davis (left) (R-VA) in calling for a study of homeland security needs of the National Capital region, including Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

As the leading Democrat on the Human Resources Subcommittee, Cardin has introduced legislation to improve welfare reform by helping those who leave public assistance get the skills they need so they can work their way out of poverty. His bill to increase education and support services for foster care children between ages 18 and 21 was signed into law in 1999. He has authored bills to expand child support, hold fathers more accountable, improve the welfare-to-work program and increase the child care tax credit.

In 1998, Cardin was appointed Chairman of the Special Study Commission on Maryland Public Ethics Law by the Maryland General Assembly. In 1997, he co-chaired the Bipartisan Ethics Task Force in an effort to reform ethics procedures in the House of Representatives. He also holds leadership positions on the Organization, Study and Review Committee and the Steering Committee of the Democratic Caucus and serves as Senior Democratic Whip.

Cardin currently serves on the following U.S. House committees:

Education & honors

A 1967 graduate—first in his class—from the University of Maryland School of Law, he earned his B.A. degree cum laude in 1964 from University of Pittsburgh.

Cardin also holds honorary degrees from several institutions, including the University of Baltimore School of Law (1990); University of Maryland, Baltimore (1993); Baltimore Hebrew University (1994); and Goucher College (1996). From 1988-1995, he chaired the Maryland Legal Services Corp.

From 1988-1999, he served on the St. Mary's College of Maryland Board of Trustees, and in 2002, he was appointed to the St. Mary's Advisory Board for the Study of Democracy. In 1999, he was appointed to the Goucher College Board of Trustees.

2006 U.S. Senate election

On April 26, 2005, Cardin announced that he will seek the U.S. Senate seat of current long-standing senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), following the announcement by Sarbanes that he will not be running for re-election in 2006. [1] (,1,7586254.story?coll=bal-home-headlines)

External links

Preceded by:
Barbara Mikulski
U.S. Congressman, Maryland 3rd District
Succeeded by:

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