Congressman David Trone said he is running to keep representing the 6th District because “we have a lot more work to do.”
The Democrat said he wants to build on the progress of his first two-year term, working with a bipartisan approach to create “win-wins.”
The four areas he focuses on are addiction and opioids, the mental-health crisis, criminal-justice reform and funding for medical research.
The latter has become particularly topical in the past week as the Trump administration and lawmakers talk about how to fund the response to the recent coronavirus outbreak.
Trone said he was working with U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen to make sure that $104 million the Department of Defense withheld from Fort Detrick’s budget is restored to the base in Frederick County. Officials at Detrick are studying the coronavirus, he said.
Trone noted he expects to see movement this week on billions of dollars in supplemental aid to address the COVID-19 virus.
One of the efforts he supported in criminal-justice reform was a law prohibiting federal agencies and contractors, with few exceptions, from requesting a job applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional job offer is made.
Trone said he is getting ready to submit a bill requiring all businesses to “ban the box.”
Trone said the retail chain he co-owns, Total Wine & More, has “hired over 500 returning citizens” who are “great workers.”
“They aged out of crime,” he said.
Who we are at 17 or 18 is not who we are at 40, 50 or 60, he said, referring to people convicted at a young age who were dealing with addiction.
Trone also noted he supported getting an additional $550 million for Head Start. That ties into addiction and his work to address the opioid crisis because there are so many children growing up in homes where one or both parents are addicted or perhaps incarcerated, he said.
Trone, 64, said the most important thing he has learned as a first-term congressman also is what he saw in business, “the importance of customer service, and the customer is the voter.”
“I have to be where the customers are,” he said.
He has four district offices — in Hagerstown, Cumberland, Frederick and Gaithersburg — so a constituent doesn’t have to drive to Montgomery County to be seen, he said. Trone lives in the part of Montgomery County that is outside of the 6th District.
He said his office responded to 32,000 requests from emails, letters and calls in the first year.
While he has been in office for more than a year, Trone said it is “life experiences” that create qualifications to be a congressional representative.
He cited his background in business, starting with growing up on a farm, working around the clock every day, and experiencing failure when his father’s farm went bankrupt.
“Those things help form who you are,” he said.
Trone earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and started his own business, co-founding the retail wine and spirits chain that has stores in 27 states, he said.
“I know how to build businesses and get things done,” he said.
Once again, he is running on what he refers to as the three C’s — compassion, civility and competence.
He said he focuses on the work and tries not to get “involved in the craziness and name calling.”