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Wednesday, February 24, 2016


George Wenschhof
Recently, voters in Maryland’s 8th congressional district have been introduced to Democratic candidate David Trone by way of a series of compelling television spots and direct mail. Some of the televised spots depicted have been his growing up on the family farm, his father losing the farm, the growing of his successful Total Wine & More business, his caring for his employees and how he is self funding his campaign.
Sitting down and interviewing him recently at Beans & Bagels in Frederick, I found him to be straight forward and focused on winning the 8th district congressional seat.
He grew up on a chicken farm in nearby Berlin, Pennsylvania.  After, his father lost the farm, David told me he would make money by helping farmers sell their eggs to distributors using a pay phone as his office.
David would go on to Wharton business school and start his business which has grown to 150 stores in 21 states that had $2.5 Billion is sales last year. He shared he has been married for 28 years and they have four children.
His experience with politics is not new and he shared with me he had held fundraisers at his home for President Obama that raised $850,000 and one for the 2014 Democratic candidate for Maryland Governor, Anthony Brown that raised $1.2 million.
The announcement by Maryland U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D) she would not seek reelection set off a series of domino like actions among elected officials in Maryland. Including, the announcement by Chris Van Hollen (D), the current Representative in the 8th district, he would run for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Barbara Mikulski.
This has led to 9 Democrats running for the 8th district seat.  The pundit frontrunners are state senator Jamie Raskin and Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews, followed by state delegates Kumar Barve and Ana-Sol Gutierrez.  Will Jawando, Joel Rubin, David Anderson and Dan Bolling are the others.
I asked David Trone why he was running and why he entered the race so late.  His answer was quick and one you might expect from a successful businessman, “I want to get things done”.
He acknowledged his late entry and the pundit thoughts on the race and said that the timing was right for him to run for office, saying he had just hired a CEO to run his business.  He told me he is not accepting contributions higher than $10 and is self funding his campaign.
When I asked if he had a favorite for president, Trone told me Hillary Clinton.
We would talk about many issues and his knowledge of Maryland politics.  A friend of Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), he hired Andrew Friedson, who accompanied him to this interview, from Franchot’s office to be his senior campaign adviser.
I mentioned I had read his position on 20 issues he had displayed on his campaign website,, asking him “what was the most important issue to him”?
He said “the federal budget and tax reform”.  He added he supports higher taxes to the wealthy, saying “I do not have a problem paying more taxes”.  Trone said he also supports the Infrastructure Bank proposal put forward by Maryland representative John Delaney (D) to help rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. I asked David if he supports the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal proposed by President Obama and he said he did.
Job creation was also among the first issues Trone mentioned to me.  Trone also wants to double the $31 Billion funding of the National Institute of Health (NIH) saying this is one of the premier places in the world.
Education was also important to Trone who supports universal pre-k and free college tuition to students in exchange for 5 years of public service.
On gun violence Trone supports background checks and reinstating the federal assault weapons ban.  He also supports police body cameras.
Trone also supports a women’s right to choose and equal pay for equal work.
In regard to social security, he supports raising the cap on income taxed.  When it came to energy, Trone felt all federal buildings should be energy efficient.
We discussed the gerrymandering that created the convoluted 8th district in Maryland where 13% of the district is in rural areas in Frederick and Carroll counties and the rest in Montgomery County.  Trone told me he supports election reform and an end to gerrymandering, adding districts should follow the natural lines of communities.
I would not get to an in depth discussion on foreign policy with my only question coming as he was leaving. I asked if he felt U.S. ground troops would be needed in the battle with ISIS and he replied “It may be necessary”.
I found David Trone to be a sincere man who was direct with his answers who also listened to the thoughts I shared.  I took note he took time to have a conversation with Richard Jackson who owns Beans & Bagels upon his arrival to be interviewed by me.  Richard and his wife live in the 8thdistrict and when I informed Rich I would be interviewing Trone at his Deli, Rich wrote up a series of questions for me to ask him.
I had informed Trone about the list of questions when we first sat down to begin the interview, but time flew by without me asking them.  I was struck by Trone reminding me of the questions Rich had given me and asked if I would send them to Andrew. He said he would answer and send back to me so I could give to Rich.
He then headed off to other scheduled meetings and to visit volunteers in his Frederick and Carroll county offices.
The Maryland primary is April 26.
Stay tuned.