In The News
The Daily Princetonian spoke to members of Congress who are University alums, and asked them how they believe they work “in the Nation’s Service." .... John Sarbanes ’84: Sarbanes is currently in his seventh term as the Representative for Maryland’s 3rd Congressional district. He got his start in politics during his time at the University. Sarbanes majored in the Wilson School, which he said he appreciated for its focus on public policy. He was a member of the Student Volunteer Council and the Democratic Club. He also worked on the Princeton mayoral campaign of Barbara Sigmund. “Certainly the public policy piece was there, the volunteerism piece was there, and the political opportunity to do some grassroots organizing was there as well. So I would say all of those things certainly set a good foundation for my interest in going into politics and to serve in public office,” he said.... When asked about his proudest moments during his time in Congress, Sarbanes described the passage of the Affordable Care Act. He serves on the Health Subcommittee in which the hearings on the ACA took place. “I would imagine, however long I serve in Congress, I will always view that as being at the top of the list or near the top of the list in terms of accomplishments,” he said. Sarbanes also highlighted his work on the No Child Left Inside Act and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Now, Sarbanes considers democracy reform to be his number one priority. As Democracy Reform Task Force Chair, he wrote H.R. 1, the For the People Act.
Thousands gathered at New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore Friday at a funeral for Rep. Elijah Cummings. The funeral brought former presidents and ordinary people alike to the Baltimore church where the congressman worshipped for four decades. Maryland lawmakers were also in attendance and reflected on the life of Rep. Cummings. Senator Ben Cardin was among the group of elected officials. “It’s a sad moment. We lost our champion for social justice,” Cardin said. “But it’s a day to celebrate what an incredible life, what an accomplishment. How he mentored so many people. The funeral will be sad, but it will also be a celebration of a person who had a remarkable life.” Rep. John Sarbanes said it will be “very tough” not to have Congressman Cummings anymore. “He was a giant. He was an anchor in the storm of what’s happening in our politics these days,” Sarbanes said. “We really relied on him heavily. But I like to think he left us with the power we need to continue the fight.”
Cummings was a shining example of making the most of the time we had on earth, speakers said. The day he was sworn into Congress, Cummings looked up and saw his father crying, Rep. John Sarbanes recalled, from a story his colleague told him. His father had to drop out of 3rd grade to plant cotton and pick strawberries, and told Cummings he was thinking about what he could have been. “We can’t afford to have anyone grow up to be 70 years old thinking about what they could have been,” Cummings said when he told the story to Sarbanes. Speakers said Cummings held up a mirror to our country’s failures and shortcomings and urged us to become better. “Elijah would not have left us if he thought we did not have the power to finish that fight without him,” Sarbanes said.
U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes said he was anxious about the loss of Cummings’ leadership on “the journey to reclaim our democracy.” “I was wondering whether we could get there without him, whether we could finish that fight without him,” Sarbanes said. “Then I realized that Elijah would not have left us unless he thought we had the power to finish the fight without him. And we will finish that fight for Elijah Cummings.”
A potential return of at least some of the hours Metro cut a few years ago and possible fare increases or naming rights sales were among issues that came up Tuesday at a congressional oversight hearing on the transit agency. Members also questioned Metro’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld.... Rep. John Sarbanes praised Wiedefeld for improved perceptions of Metro through both actual rush hour service improvements and more straightforward explanations of major shutdowns and track work. “Just the way a dog can smell fear, a commuter can smell when they feel like they’re not being leveled with in terms of safety issues, in terms of how long something’s going to take to get done, etc.,” said Sarbanes, a Democrat representing Maryland’s 3rd District.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) sat next to Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) on the floor of the U.S. House a few weeks ago, when Cummings cast what would be his last vote in Congress. The Maryland Democrat “didn’t know it was his last [vote], but it was,” Butterfield said. Cummings’ staff helped him get out of his chair. “He looked at me that day and said, ‘I’m so sick. I love you, man,’” recalled Butterfield, who was among the many lawmakers who paid tribute to Cummings on the House floor on Monday…. Cummings’ fellow Maryland lawmakers also mourned their former colleague on Monday. Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.) said, “I was thinking today as I drove from Baltimore through West Baltimore, the community he loved, about his fight for the soul of our democracy and I had anxiety. Can we finish that fight without him?” “But it occurred to me that Elijah would not have left us when he did if he didn’t believe that we had it within ourselves to finish that fight.”