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Democratic Sen. Cardin of Maryland announces retirement


Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland announced Monday that he will not seek reelection at the end of his third term in 2024, triggering what is likely to be a highly competitive primary to replace him in the blue-leaning state.

“I am proud of all I have done for Maryland. I have given my heart and soul to our great state, and I thank Marylanders for trusting me as your representative for all these years,” the 79-year-old said in a statement.

Cardin has served in the Senate since 2006 when he won a seat to replace retiring Democrat Paul Sarbanes. Before that, he was a congressman who represented a large part of Baltimore and several nearby suburbs, winning his first U.S. House race in 1986.

During his tenure in the Senate, Cardin has been a leader in health care, retirement security, the environment and fiscal issues. The senator has also been a leading advocate for clean water and the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary, which flows through his home state.

He helped write the Paycheck Protection Program that helped small businesses in Maryland and nationwide endure the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also created the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance Grant program to quickly get cash to small businesses in need.

His legislation to expand Medicare to include preventive benefits such as colorectal, prostate, mammogram, and osteoporosis screening was also enacted.

“I salute my friend and our state’s senior Senator Ben Cardin on his extraordinary public service to Maryland and our country,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said in a statement Monday. “It is a privilege to serve alongside him and in partnership every day for the people of our great state.”

Cardin also has worked in foreign affairs, supporting the integration of anti-corruption, transparency and respect for human rights into foreign policy. He chaired the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

Cardin counts among his achievements the passage of his legislation to increase the amount Americans can put into their 401(k) plans and IRAs, which was enacted in 2001.

Cardin also had a long career in state government before he became a congressman. He won a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1966. He served as the Maryland House speaker from 1979 to 1986.

As a state legislator and a member of Congress, Cardin has generally supported liberal views, emphasizing increased aid for education, tax relief for low-income people and protection of the environment.

Article Topic Follows: AP National

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