To contest Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s congressional seat.
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: Kumar P. Barve became the first lawmaker to announce a run at Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s congressional seat on Monday, which became available when the congressman announced he’d be vying to replace Barbara Mikulski when she retires from the Senate.
A Democrat who represents Montgomery County in the Maryland House of Delegates, Barve was the first Indian American to be elected to a state legislature in the U.S. Having been a member of the state House for 24 years, he also served as the majority leader from 2003 until earlier this year.
“I am ready to take my experience working for economic growth and fighting for our middle class to the federal level,” Barve wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “This isn’t going to be easy. Offering bold and innovative proposals to rebuild our middle class and grow our economy never is.”
Barve, 56, currently operates as chairman of the House Environment and Transportation Committee, a position he ascended to at the very end of 2014.
According to The Washington Post, the committee recently voted down legislation proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, that would have nixed a requirement that major counties collect a fee to fund cleaning pollution from storm drainage before it reaches the Chesapeake Bay.
With his announcement, Barve pointed to his work in the state legislature to improve the state’s public school system, increase the minimum wage, invest in biotechnology and information technology, keep college tuition from drastically increasing, and expand health insurance availability.
He will most likely face stiff competition from other Democrats for the vacant seat in Congress, and while a number of politicians have expressed interest in Van Hollen’s post, Barve is the first to make a formal announcement declaring his intention to run.