Christopher J. Van Hollen Jr. born on January 10, 1959, is an American politician and attorney who has been the junior United States Senator from Maryland starting January 3, 2017. He was the U.S. representative for Maryland’s 8th congressional district from 2003 to 2017. He belongs to the Democratic Party. Chris Van Hollen won Democratic nominations for his second term in Maryland primary elections in July 2022. 

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Political Career

Van Hollen was appointed chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2007. He was in charge of directing efforts to defend weak Democrats and elect more Democrats to Congress in 2008, which he accomplished. In 2006, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created a new leadership position, Assistant to the Speaker, so that Van Hollen could attend all leadership meetings.

On November 17, 2010, he was appointed as a ranking member of the Budget Committee. Van Hollen was selected by Pelosi to the 12-member bipartisan Committee on Deficit Reduction, which was tasked with identifying large budget cuts by late 2011. Pelosi appointed Van Hollen to the bicameral conference committee on October 17, 2013.

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Van Hollen competed for the United States Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski in 2016. He defeated Congresswoman Donna Edwards in the Democratic primary and defeated her in the general election by a margin of 61 to 36 percent. Van Hollen was the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) chair from 2017 to 2019.

Early life and education

Van Hollen was the eldest of three children born in Karachi, Pakistan, to American parents Edith Eliza (née Farnsworth) and Christopher Van Hollen. His father was a Foreign Service officer who acted as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 1969 to 1972 and as the United States’ Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives from 1972 to 1976.

His mother worked for the CIA and the State Department, where she was the chief of the intelligence department for South Asia. He spent his childhood in Pakistan, Turkey, India, and Sri Lanka. For his junior year of high school, he returned to the United States and enrolled at Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, where his grandpa had previously taught.

He attended Kodaikanal International School in southern India. Van Hollen earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Swarthmore College in 1982. He continued his studies at Harvard University, where he received a Master of Public Policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1985, with a concentration on national security studies. In 1990, he received his Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center.

Personal life

Anna, Nicholas, and Alexander are Van Hollen’s three children with his wife Katherine. Van Hollen’s family has roots in Netherlands.

Van Hollen said on May 15, 2022, that he had a small stroke over the weekend and would be staying at George Washington University Hospital for a few days. He also stated that he expected to make a full recovery with no long-term consequences and returned to work in the Senate later that week.