Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), after being away from Capitol Hill for 103 days, says that he is not only ready to return to Congress after undergoing a heart procedure, but he is also going to run for another term.
“I will be filing to run for re-election,” he told the AFRO. “What happened to me has renewed my passion. It is important that we have people in government who can fight for people who have no voice. I want to make a difference and I can’t do [that] had I not come back.” Cummings left Congress to have a Trans Arterial Aortic Valve Replacement to correct narrowing of the aortic valve on May 24. He returned to his position on Sept. 12.
When Cumming entered John Hopkins University Hospital he thought he would undergo a minor surgical procedure and be discharged within three days. But, Cummings said, following his procedure he got an infection that resulted in him being hospitalized for more than three months and recovering at home for two more months.
Cummings spent 60 days in the hospital and 43 more days recovering, and after all that he said he is still going to fight for his constituents. According to a spokesperson from his office, Cummings will follow his doctor’s advice in regards to his work schedule, but plans to carry out all of his congressional duties.
“When bad things happen people [wonder] why did it happen to me, but they should say why did it happen for me,” Cummings told the AFRO. “God gave me an inside view to people and their need for medical care. My mother had a stroke 19 months ago and this gives me an opportunity to [understand] what [she] is going through.” Cummings said he will work with members of Congress to make prescription drugs affordable.
In addition to experiencing what it’s like to be a patient, Cummings said that his experience enabled him to gain a new appreciation for healthcare workers.
“I got an up close view and a new respect for caregivers,” Cummings said. “I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anybody, but I come back stronger and more passionate about what I do.”
Cummings thanked his wife, Maya Rockeymoore, who he said played a critical role as a care provider, and while there is talk that she plans to run for governor he said: “She has not made a decision, but if she does I will support her 100 percent.” He declined to speculate on how the couple would work if husband and wife held to influential political offices in the state.
In July Rockeymoore told the AFRO, “I want the voters to read my resume and learn more about my work. I have years of experience of advocacy on issues that affect people’s lives and I will be able to run this state based on the work I have done. My record is comparable to any candidate in the race and I will be happy to talk to any group about my plans for Maryland.”
Cummings said that the recent historically large storms are proof that global warming is making a big impact on the environment and now is the time for the Republicans to acknowledge that fact. “I am hoping that the Republicans and their friends wake up and admit what 99.9 percent of the scientists are saying ‘That what is going on has a lot to do with global warming,’” he said.
Cummings, who serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said that he took note on Trump communicating a greater willingness to work with House Democrats. He said that maybe Trump is coming to a new reality.
“If the President wants to get anything done he needs to work with us,” Cummings said. “He can’t depend on the Republicans because they don’t want to work with Democrats. People sent us to Washington to get something done and if the President is for uplifting our country then I want to work with him.”