ElijahCummings2

Elijah Cummings

Whenever I face a tough choice as a public servant, I just ask myself a simple question: 

What’s best for the people of Baltimore?  

So in considering which candidate is the right choice to succeed President Obama next January, I think first about who can make a positive difference for our city and our neighbors. Who has the strongest record working for children and families? Who has the best plans for revitalizing urban areas, expanding opportunities for struggling communities, and reforming the justice system? Who has the toughness to stand up to special interests and political attacks, and still get things done?  

To me, Hillary Clinton is the candidate to trust with these important issues, and I’m proud to endorse her campaign to be the next President of the United States. 

When I first met Hillary more than 20 years ago, she had already built an impressive record working on behalf of women, children, minorities, and poor communities.  Shortly after I arrived in Congress, she led the effort that gave us the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has helped tens of thousands of children in Maryland get coverage.  A few years later, when she became my colleague on at Capitol Hill, I admired her willingness to work across the aisle and get results without abandoning her principles or commitment to progressive values.  And today, she not only understands the challenges facing Baltimore and other cities, she’s laid out a clear and detailed agenda that meets those challenges head-on. 

Hillary plans to invest $125 billion in communities that have fallen behind, especially communities of color.  She’s committed to closing loopholes and fixing a broken background-check system that allows too many guns to fall into the wrong hands.  She wants to ensure that our school system offers every child a good education, no matter the color of their skin or the part of town where they live.  She understands the need to encourage entrepreneurship, expand job training, and provide support for incarcerated people reentering the workforce.  She will reroute the cradle-to-prison pipeline, so that more young people end up in college classrooms instead of behind bars.  And she has explained exactly what her proposals will cost and how she’ll pay for them. 

I’ve known Senator Sanders a long time, and I have great respect for him as a friend and a colleague.  We have worked together on Social Security and prescription drugs. I admire his passion for driving social change and his willingness to speak truth to the Wall Street actors who have driven our nation’s economy to the brink of disaster. 

While it’s important that we keep Wall Street in check, we must at the same time work to address the discrimination in our economic, educational, health and justice systems that contributes to unacceptable disparities in rates of pay, unemployment, healthcare coverage, educational attainment, and incarceration for far too many people. 

Families in Baltimore who are hurting right now need more than the promise of a political revolution. They need leadership that embraces equitable policies and practices that result in systemic reforms that substantially improves their lives. 

In fact, as someone who has spent three decades working for progress as an elected official, I know it’s never easy for a President to make change, but a good leader knows that the first step is building a strong team, from City Hall to the Statehouse to the Houses of Congress.  That’s why Hillary is working to help down-ballot Democrats get elected or stay in office.  This is good news for my constituents and for people across Maryland, because when Hillary is President, our leaders and lawmakers will have a strong ally in the White House. 

Voters sometimes tire of hearing an election is the most important election of their lifetimes, but in 2016, there’s no denying that old adage is true.  President Obama’s leadership brought the United States back from the brink of economic collapse and got us back on track.  But in Baltimore and in communities across the country, we know there’s still a long way to go before every person has a fair shot at the American dream.  And on day one, a Republican President would undo eight years of progress with the stroke of a pen. 

So we need a leader who will keep us on the path toward prosperity, who understands the work that remains to be done, and who is ready to do every part of the job. 

Hillary Clinton is that leader, and if we stand with her now, I know she’ll stand with us for years to come.

Congressman Elijah Cummings represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.