Md. Legislator to Lead Recruitment Efforts

By Ann E. Marimow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 19, 2006; 1:10 PM

House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi has tapped Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen to lead the Democrat's recruitment and fundraising for House races in the 2008 election cycle, she announced today.

Van Hollen, who arrived on Capitol Hill four years ago, worked closely with the outgoing chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), in helping the party win control of Congress last month.

Emanuel, who was elected chairman of the Democratic Caucus, applauded the choice of Van Hollen to succeed him, calling Van Hollen a "political strategist and thinker of the first order."

"Throughout this election, I sought his advice and counsel in every critical decision I had to make," Emanuel said in a statement.

Van Hollen, 47, led Democrats' efforts to recruit House candidates in the last election and will be charged with trying to strengthen his party's narrow majority. He is considered part of a younger generation of Democrats that Pelosi is promoting in her new position.

"We are going to continue recruiting to make sure we're in a position to continue the momentum to change direction in Washington," Van Hollen said today of his new role.

In addition to his political role, Pelosi (D-Calif.) has appointed Van Hollen to the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax and trade policy, Social Security and Medicare.

"His work during the last four years advocating for common sense policies that benefit American families will make him a great asset to the work of the committee," Pelosi said in announcing Van Hollen's appointment.

Van Hollen was elected to Maryland's 8th District in 2002, after a difficult four-way Democratic primary and a costly general election battle to unseat the longtime Republican incumbent Constance A. Morella.

Before coming to Congress, he served 12 years in the Maryland General Assembly and was a staff member on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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