1. News & Issues
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Profile of Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland


Profile of Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland

Photo of Rep. Ben & Myrna Cardin Courtesy of the Ben Cardin for Senate Campaign

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland:

Ten-term Rep. Ben Cardin was elected in 2006 and reelected in 2012 as U.S. senator from Maryland.

Cardin is a respected bipartisan legislator who voted against the Iraq War in 2002. He opposes Social Security privatization, and supports embryonic stem cell research. He's widely respected for his ethical leadership.

Sen. Ben Cardin on the Issues:

As a member of the House, Ben Cardin voted against the Iraq War in 2002, and has steadfastly opposed the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. He strongly opposes privatization of Social Security.

Cardin considers universal health care a top national priority, and believes that women, "not judges and politicians," should make the decisions about their reproductive health.

Senate Committees in 112th Congress, 2011-2012:

  • Foreign Relations Committee
  • Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs
  • Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs
  • Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South & Central Asian Affairs
  • Environment & Public Works Committee
  • Environment Subcommittee on Superfund, Environmental Health
  • Environment Subcommittee on Transportation, Infrastructure
  • Budget Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee
  • Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe

Ben Cardin in the House of Representatives:

Ten-term Congressman Ben Cardin was first elected to the House in 1986, where he's focused on pension reform, Social Security, health care and welfare reform.

He's a senior member of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee. Cardin has sponsored a plethora of successful, bipartisan-based bills, and is widely regarded as an ethical leader and able legislator.

He's the ranking House Democrat on the Helsinki Commission, which oversees military, human rights and other US-European matters.

Ben Cardin before Congress:

While still a law school student, Cardin was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 20 years, until he won his first race for Congress in 1986. Cardin was Chair of the Ways & Means Committee from 1974-79, and House Speaker from 1979-86.

During his early years in the Maryland legislature, Cardin also worked as a family and commerical attorney.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - October 5, 1943 in Baltimore to a close-knit Jewish family prominent in state politics
  • Education - B.A., Economics, 1964, University of Pittsburgh. J.D., 1967, University of Maryland.
  • Family - Married in 1964 to Myrna. Daughter Deborah, and husband Jonathan. Two granddaughters. Son, Michael, died in 1998.
  • Faith - Jewish
  • Hobbies - Reading mysteries, playing poker
Deborah is Education Director at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Cardin's grandparents hailed from Russia and Lithuania.

Wife, Myrna Cardin:

Ben Cardin and Myrna Edelman grew up in the same middle-class immigrant Baltimore neighborhood, first met in grade school, started dating at age 15, and married in their early 20s. For many years, Myrna was a 4th grade teacher.

Myrna is on the Board of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, the Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and the University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation. She's earned numerous awards for her civic commitments and for her advocacy for special needs children.

Cardin Family Political Leadership:

The Cardin family is respected and well-known in Maryland politics, Ben's father, Meyer, served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1935-37, and was a Baltimore City judge for 10 years. Uncle Maurice was a state Delegate from 1951-66, until he stepped aside for Ben's successful run for the seat. Ben's nephew, Jon, has been a Maryland Delegate since 2002. Meyer and Maurice worked for decades as law partners in Cardin & Cardin.

The Ben Cardin Persona:

Articulate, bright and outspoken, Ben Cardin is a rare natural leader with little of a DC pol's flare and drive for publicity. He's a devoted family man who spends most Friday evenings at home celebrating the Jewish Sabbath. Ben is variously described as solid, not controversial, substantive and unflashy.

He was vice president of his high school senior class, and president of his undergraduate Jewish fraterity, Pi Lambda Phi.

Memorable Quotes by Rep. Ben Cardin:

On Working on a Bipartisan Basis

" I’m one of those Democrats who’s been able to work across party lines to get things done. I’ve been able to get major bills passed in a very partisan environment, because I know how to work with Republicans... I’ve done that in health care, I’ve done that in pension changes, I’ve done that in tax code. So I know how to get things done."

--- NBC's Meet the Press on October 29, 2006

On Health Care for All

"Congress should pass a program that provides for universal health insurance coverage. It is not acceptable for us to have 45 to 47 million Americans without health insurance.

It's not fair for those who have health insurance to pay for those who do not have health insurance. That was the frustration in Maryland, where you had companies that were not only paying for their own employees but literally paying for their competitors' employees because of the extra cost for the uninsured.

So the Congress should pass legislation that guarantees that every person in this country has health insurance... "

--- MyDD blog interview on February 6, 2006

On Education

"People on welfare need to have education and training. It should be our number one priority for all Americans. We shouldn't have a second standard for those that are on welfare."

--- Interview with newsman Jim Lehrer of PBS on May 14, 2002

On the Iraq War

"Iraq’s in the middle of a civil war. We need to combine withdrawing our troops with also a political and diplomatic solution. We need to engage the international community and recognize that there’s a civil war going on in Iraq. It’s not in our interests to continue the current policy...

On the first day that we start bringing our troops home, the international community will know that we’re no longer looking at Iraq as an occupational force... On the last day... we will have been successful in engaging the international community for a stable Iraq... "

--- NBC's Meet the Press on October 29, 2006

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.