U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Letters From Ben


Cheers to the New Year

Dear Fellow Marylanders,

This past year was filled with successes and challenges for Maryland and our nation. The boom for small businesses continued and we have thus far avoided an economic recession. Maryland, in fact, set a record for lowest unemployment for any state since the record keepers have been keeping records.

The Chesapeake Bay also has set records, with the smallest oxygen dead zones ever. We cannot let up now on policies and programs that are helping to restore its health and resilience.

I’m also proud of the fiscally responsible, strategic investments that continue in Maryland and nationwide from the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. These bold packages are rebuilding our state and country from the pipes to the ports and everything in between. We are creating quality jobs and solidifying an equitable, clean energy future.

In addition, the Senate has confirmed a diverse group of exceptionally qualified judges, ambassadors and – finally – nonpartisan military officers. And we are bringing the FBI headquarters to Maryland!

The challenges were many, as a divided Congress fell prey to a minority of extremist in the House of Representatives intent on scoring political points in their cultural wars. This includes taking every opportunity to further attacks on gender-equality and women’s rights. Our slim Senate majority has held the line against everything we can at the federal level.

Around the country, daily shootings and mass gun violence are seemingly unabated, while we continue to be blocked from considering renewal of the federal assault weapons ban, enacting universal background checks, prohibiting high-capacity magazines and cracking down on ghost guns. A comprehensive approach to reducing violence also includes cracking down on illegal guns, many of which flow from other states into Maryland, as well as stricter regulation of legal gun purchases.

Threatening our very democracy are the hate and ignorance that are out from the shadows and fueling blatant antisemitic, racist, Islamophobic and other attacks at an alarming rate here in America and worldwide. Only if we work together can we extinguish the flames of extremism that are tearing apart communities, and degrading faith in institutions and the rule of law. We cannot allow such activity to become normalized. This task has grown exponentially more difficult in the wake of Hamas’ gruesome and deadly terrorist attack on October 7, and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Looking ahead to 2024, my last year serving the people of Maryland in elected office, despite many proud accomplishments, there is much unfinished business. I promise you that I do not intend to slow down at all. My priorities remain adding to our progress for the Bay; helping Baltimore City and other jurisdictions deal with the unique challenges they face; permanently expanding opportunities for telehealth, mental and behavioral health; and supporting small businesses, especially in underserved communities, access the tools they need to build and grow their livelihoods.

As Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I intend to leverage every opportunity to ensure human rights, anti-corruption and good governance are essential components of America’s foreign policy and national security. As we work to advance civil rights and protect our democracy at home, so, too, must we protect democracy around the globe and advance the cause of universal human rights. As I said last week, this includes support for Ukraine in its fight for survival against the illegal and unprovoked Russian war.

I head into 2024 confident of the tasks ahead and the resilience of our American democracy. However, I admit to a level of anxiousness of what lies ahead and what unknown challenges we will be forced to confront. I am calmed by the knowledge that even during the worst of times in our nation’s history we have witnessed unmatched courage and community spirit. Standing together, we will be the light that drives out the darkness.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to reply to this email with your thoughts on any topic of interest or concern. I appreciate hearing from you.

To all the first responders, health care professionals and front line workers who keep our country safe and running 24/7 regardless of holidays, thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Cheers to the New Year!


Ben Cardin