Sprinting to the finish line in Washington

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First elected to the House of Delegates in 1966, the local statesman Ben Cardin will complete his public service to our citizenry 16 years after heading to D.C. as a Maryland Senator. Joining Nestor at MACO in Ocean City, the Baltimore champion says he’s got plenty left to do before he departs The Capitol in January 2025.


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Ben Cardin, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

What about W N S, T, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive. We are positively in Ocean City, Maryland. And every year this guy, you know, he works hard the other 364 days in there, but every year you get out of bed early. You come here in the breakfast at Mako and you demand crabcakes we welcome Senator Ben Cardin back onto the program. You know, I plan retrospective today with you. And you all you want to do is do Orioles with me, right? That’s

Ben Cardin  00:25

absolutely, look, we’re had the best record in the American League. No one expected the Orioles to do what they’re doing now. They’ve not only rebuilt a great team, they have a great future. And we’re very excited, though. Great to watch them a lot of fun.

Nestor Aparicio  00:38

Why not? You’re not charged a lease. So I’m gonna leave. I’m gonna leave that for Wes. And for the stadium authority. Tell me about this last year, you’ve made this decision that this that you would serve people long, long time, how’s this, this fading out party going for you? Are you sprinting to the finish line,

Ben Cardin  00:54

I still have a year and four months. So there’s still plenty of time left. And a lot of things I need to get done. I’m working very hard right now on small business issues to help our small business community. I was in Berlin yesterday and saw businesses that are doing great, but they have challenges. We’ve got them through COVID through legislation, and we got passed, but they need to continue to help Chesapeake Bay working on that still have a lot of things going to get done on the Chesapeake Bay, international human rights. I’m one of the leaders when that says there’s a lot of things Baltimore city,

Nestor Aparicio  01:23

city I that’s where I want to put my focus with federal money. What does this mean to the citizens? I mean, I I think there’s there’s a lot of people on our side of the aisle, I would say, we got Western Annapolis, we got Ben and Chris, their federal, what is this? Five or 10 years from now, when you come back and look at this, what’s getting done right now.

Ben Cardin  01:41

So it’s team Maryland, it really is we’re not trying to say this is a state problem, or this is a municipal problem, or we’re saying this is we have to be in partnership to Maryland to help Baltimore, they have challenges. The first issue is public safety. And we have to bring down the violence in Baltimore. And we’ve seen a decline in violence in Baltimore. So we’re seeing some progress being made, but more needs to be done. So the federal delegation has made this a priority. We’re working with the US attorney Eric Barron, we’ve got him some additional resources in order to help in regards to the partnership that he has in regards to the strike task force that has been set up. That includes all the law enforcement officers at the federal, state and local level, to help Baltimore city deal with public safety. We have a new State’s Attorney, as you know, we’re working with him to get the type of preparations from the police department so that they can prosecute successfully filing crimes. So we’re all working together to help Baltimore deal with public safety. Now, there’s a lot of other issues. We have a lot of economic development issues going on in Baltimore, under the infrastructure bill, Baltimore’s getting funds to reconnect the mulberry Franklin Carter, which is a real great opportunity. We have the state that’s provided money for the two stadiums, and there’s a lot of things going on there. We have Baltimore Peninsula, this is a very exciting project in Baltimore, we had the Frederick Douglass tunnel for Amtrak that we got the funds for that it’s going to make it easier to for for Baltimore to be a hub for for economic growth. We have now the proposal that came in under the chips and science bill from the Baltimore region to be a tech hub, where there’s so many things going on, that the federal government can work in partnership with the state and local government to help Baltimore grow. As Baltimore grows, Maryland grows. Well, I mean, you’re

Nestor Aparicio  03:27

sitting at a time when we had COVID, and a plague and PPCPs, and people are home. The inflation, the things that have happened in the economy, the inflation reduction, I would think for you and Senator Van Hollen to sit here today talk about work being people ask all the time, what’s being done in Washington, what’s being done? You know, I think our way of life has come back dramatically in the last 18 months to two years, just traveling the country and traveling it’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a lot better than it could have been given where we were in the plague.

Ben Cardin  03:58

Well, we’ve had incredible challenges that have been thrown at us, including the COVID pandemic, which really closed our economy down. We have a war in Ukraine caused by Russia’s aggression, that has caused a disruption in energy costs and inflation. We’ve had a lot of challenges, but we’ve responded to them. Under the Biden administration, we’ve seen record passage of bills that are making a difference once in a generation infrastructure, that’s building rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our transit systems, money for the Chesapeake Bay was included in that broadband, our ports, our airports, that was a once in a generation and those funds are now getting out there and we’re seeing the progress that are being made on our transportation, infrastructure and broadband. Well, we passed the inflation Reduction Act, the IRA, which is a once in a generation, opportunity to become energy independent and friendly towards our environment and to unleash technology in our region for good jobs in the future and friendlier to our investors. Armen, Look, we all mourn what happened in in Malley, it was horrible. But we also recognize we have a responsibility for a more gentle footprint on our environment on what we do. And we have a chance to do that under the inflation Reduction Act, bringing down health care costs also was in that bill. So there’s a lot of good things happening. But on top of that, there’s still challenges. We know that American families are struggling to make ends meet. And we have to deal with those bread and butter issues. We got to deal with energy costs, we have to deal with health care costs, we have to deal with good wages and wages, keeping up with productivity increases in America, which we fell behind for so many years. So there’s a lot of things we still need to do. So I am proud of the of the accomplishments that we’ve made. I’m proud of the job growth numbers that we’ve seen. But let’s keep that momentum going. And let’s try to find a way to bring civility into politics. I want to get as many Democrats elected election time as possible when when the election is over, let’s work together and get things done. I’ve always done that. Throughout my career. I believe in civility, I believe in working with Republicans to get things done. We need to have more of that in Washington, the Statesman

Nestor Aparicio  06:08

Senator Ben Cardin joining us here where it may go and Ocean City saw brought to you by the mayor of the modern window nation. We’re gonna be back on the crabcake tour on the 29th. We’re going to be Pappas with anaerobic county executive Steuart Pittman saw him the other day is looking forward to chatting with him. We’re going to have a mayor Brandon Scott on with us. So debt Ramos is going to be here as well as Emily calorie and a lot of things going on. But for you with inflation reduction, we talked about the COVID. And like my parents were born in 1992, a little older than you even and, you know, my dad would always talk about the New Deal. And FDR and I grew up in that household with, you know, Kennedy, all of the, you know, all of that 50s and 60s sort of idealism, and how the country got rebuilt. And I thought about COVID In this way, and what Biden sort of inherited on the backside of just a horrific four years of administration, right, and lies and all the things that we’re seeing now. But it’s almost like what all of you have been through was like sort of a post war time rebuild, to some degree, we don’t talk to me, we don’t want to talk about that, like in America, we were falling apart a little bit. But I think on the back end of the plague what you guys have inherited the last just two, three years sitting here with you having a crab cake every year to measure to say, How’s life today? Well, the masks are off. Yeah, gas prices are up. But we’re having we’re having a rejuvenation, I think in the country when I travelled and I feel like I see that, that there’s new energy on the back end of wasn’t a war, but it was a war with a with a virus really? Well, I

Ben Cardin  07:32

agree. I think we got a little bit too relaxed and keeping our country at its tops, Edge dealing with technology, dealing with job growth, dealing with education, we we lost our edge, and we need to get that back. And I think that’s what we’re doing right now. We have to identify the weakness, though, right? We unleashed something in this country that I didn’t think I would see in my lifetime. And that is the use of disinformation and conspiracy theories to unleash a lot of dangerous activities in America, including violent activities. So we have challenges that we have to deal with. But I think we recognize that we first have to identify it. I think we have identified it. I think we have a game plan. I think the key here is going to be let’s have a competitive elections. But when elections are over, let’s govern

Nestor Aparicio  08:19

our state just in general and the changes. We’ve been through this last couple of years. I’m gonna wind up talking about stadiums in the city. But But for you, Baltimore has always been home for you, right? I mean, it’s been the base of all of this. And when I hear people on the shore talking about Baltimore, I don’t go there. I think there’s a sense that the Orioles as much as any deliver and I had Carl Anderson over here, Republican. State delegate from the Eastern Shore, said we drive to Baltimore all the time we tell people drive to Baltimore, obviously, we need more people like you but it sports brings people to the city and Barry Manilow last night in our fire this week. I mean, there’s things going on in our city that everyone in the state should be proud of if they’re if they’re not watching the right news program, right.

Ben Cardin  09:03

Oh, you’re absolutely right. Look, I’m I’m a proud resident of Baltimore. I haven’t spent a night in Washington since I’ve been the United States Senator, I come home every night. That’s true. I love the Baltimore region every weekend. Every day, Myrna and I are out someplace in Baltimore, we’re walking and joined the neighborhoods and it’s a great city. It’s a safe city. You got to be smart. Wherever you are in this country. We recognize that there’s danger you have to try to avoid. So we recognize the risk factors. But we think this is a great city. It has great history and we think a great future. But it does need partners and its partners in the private sector. It needs partners and government. We needed the entire energy to keep Baltimore where it needs to be moving forward.

Nestor Aparicio  09:48

We mentioned Peninsula and you mentioned ships and we obviously were all waiting for something on our cars, things that were coming from Asia, things were coming from other countries. Being self reliant self that you said we Maybe we got away from that a little bit from manufacturing where we were maybe 100 years ago, the border Peninsula thing I’ve been in from the beginning on that where I’m so old that I remember Stedman wanting to put stadium down in Port Covington, right? And the port coming in, when we go by and see that and it looks a little ghost town in the beginning. And there were tips and there were all of these things. where’s that going to be? 10 years from now. I mean, there’s a vision that’s coming now, because you see this sort of shining city there now. And I’m like, there gonna be people living there. I’m going to drink beer there. I’m going to eat food there. I’m going to enjoy good people. I know we’re going to live there. It’s just not there yet. And I think that’s hard to see over the hill for some people. Well,

Ben Cardin  10:37

you know, our parents generation saw the Inner Harbor as a working harbor and nobody wanted to go down at all to other than fishing in Newark and all that now you see what the Inner Harbor is all about. I think Baltimore Peninsula is similar to that you can remember what used to be there. And when you try to project the future that just recently announced that is going to have the beachfront with the volleyball and the pickleball courts and open to the community. There’s going to be a lot of activity there that are going to strengthen the neighborhoods around Baltimore Peninsula, bring in economic growth and tourism. And when you think about that, if you can connect that to the improvements being made at the two stadiums, if you can connect that to the bar, mulberry Franklin Carter to have some type of a bridge, different communities, there’s a lot going on Pimlico racetrack, they’re talking about making that into a venue moreso than just a racetrack. All that connects communities strengthens the neighborhoods, which has been Baltimore strength over its history, strengthening the neighborhoods, if we can deal with the public safety and education in those issues. These economic development tools will be extremely valuable to Baltimore’s future. Yeah, I

Nestor Aparicio  11:42

did sports 25 years and the more over the last decade since I started talking to people like you, and I’m going to city every day, my life. I lived there. 20 years. I’ll be there for Earth Wind Fire, Lionel Richie on Saturday, I’ll be there for Norio game next week I did that I go into the city, I don’t think about barriers of Anoka County or Howard County or Harford County or Baltimore County. It just is what it is. But the red line thing is from being a city resident and being in other places where I go to New York and I get on the tube and boom, I’m in Brooklyn, or I go to Paris or other places like that. The red line is something that you’ve been fighting in and out on. And we talk about divisive politics and division. I mean, larry hogan sat next to me and Don Mohler said to him, why don’t you kill the red line? He said, I ran on and I won, I made a promise to kill it, and I killed it. And I’m thinking to myself, now we’re going the other direction, again, about moving people around and a federal investment in a city. People say, Well, why? Why are all of us investing in something that only some of us use, and I’m thinking to myself, This is how Baltimore we get back. The more I talked to people, transportation, food, affordable housing, jobs, crime, obviously sitting on top of all of that, but moving people around is such an issue, that that people in the car in the in the out of the suburbs don’t understand getting an hour and a half to get to your job and his boss, it’s just not a tenable situation for the employee or the employer, because I’ve talked to both of them. Public transportation

Ben Cardin  13:07

is critically important today, even more important tomorrow, when we try to project where we’re going to be 10 years or 15 years or 20 years from now, public transit becomes absolutely essential, we recognize that rapid rail is has to be part of public transit, because of the convenience and time and traffic that you you’re talking about. It also takes more of the vehicle traffic off the roads, help more friendly towards our environment, etc, etc, etc. Yes, it benefits the individuals directly, that are trying to get from point A to B either to work or to play or to see the family, whatever, it does help the individual, it makes it easier for that individual to be economically successful, because they’re not trapped in a community. They have a broader area in which they can seek to get economic growth. But it also helps the community generally everybody’s benefited by it. Because the the shop owners will have more customers, the the restaurants will have more sales. The Orioles have more people attending the games, it helps everybody helps the whole community. So this is about the health of Baltimore, Maryland in our nation. That’s why I’m such a strong proponent is for small businesses. To me Small businesses are the growth engine of America, but they have to have customers they have to have workers and they need up here and we’re in a rural part of our state here in Ocean City. They need to be able to have the ability to bring workers in they have to be able to get what they need for their small businesses to grow. And it’s a quality of life issues we want to have in our neighborhoods, stores and shops, transits all part of that transit development is another area that we can help a community grow a transit stop should be a growth hub for a community. And that’s been underutilized, certainly in Maryland. And we want to utilize that much more in the Baltimore region.

Nestor Aparicio  15:08

Anytime I go anywhere else, you see the real estate around traffic hubs worth more money because you can walk to play and be to work in 15 minutes. Senator Ben Cardin always kind enough to join us down here Mako in Ocean City. So I talk to city issues, I want to talk to them, you give me a hard time about always crabcakes going out to Western Merrilees. The one thing I’ve learned and I get off of 50. Now I was kidding. If former mayor Jake de, nobody gets all 50, you go straight to Ocean City struggle. I’ve been on all these back roads. Now. The communication issues for broadband. And I mean, we talked about public safety and transportation in the city and food deserts and things that are city issues. One of the biggest issues anywhere outside the Beltway, when you start moving into Southern Maryland, going into the mountains of western get anywhere off of 50 is my cell phone doesn’t work, I can’t text my wife, I can’t get commute, I can’t get information. And I think to myself, children in these environment, schooling, the zoom thing during the plague all of that, but basic communication, that 30 years ago, we never would have known we needed,

Ben Cardin  16:11

right? Connectivity is critically important. It’s important for businesses, it’s important for him, for people in their homes to be able to participate fully is important for students. It’s absolutely an essential part. It’s like a utility, and it’s a utility. I mean, it’s it is an essential part of your life. COVID really brought that home to the American people. We are fortunate in Maryland, and that we have what’s known as the superhighway for broadband. So every part of Maryland is within a close distance to high speed internet service. We need last mile connections, we’ve been pretty successful in getting last mile connections for our businesses. But there are still many homes that do not have that type of connection. So we are working under the infrastructure bill to bring in more broadband under the USDA and the Department of Agriculture has programs for broadband in the rural areas. Maryland has a game plan, we want to see every household connected with affordable high speed internet.

Nestor Aparicio  17:08


All right, I want to talk right, I said I’d be retrospect, do you put any thought into what happened 17 months from now what you know, just what the rest of your life is going to be? And what causes you’re going to start because you’re too you say I’m a full energy. You know, you’re you’re like the the duck paddling under the water and all come up top. But what’s the rest of your life going to be when you don’t do this? I’m sure you’ve studied some other friends of yours that have moved on. So right.

Ben Cardin  17:35

So first, let me tell you the thought process, I had to make a decision, which was basically an eight year decision. Because I have to do, it’s a two year term to run for the opposite a six year term afterwards. And how to recognize at the end of my next term, if I ran for reelection, I’d be 87 years old, and you have to recognize the realities of age, I am going to sprint to the finish line, I guarantee you I’m gonna be extremely busy dealing with the issues of very talked about. And I intend to continue in the priorities that I’ve always believed in our environment, the Chesapeake Bay, to deal with international human rights and human rights here at home, to deal with the Baltimore City to help Baltimore and to deal with quality education. These are issues that I’ve always dealt with health care, access to health care. One of the issues I’m very proud about was establishing the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities to deal with pediatric dental care after tragedy we had in Maryland, with DeMonte driver dying in 2007. So I’m going to continue those efforts, but just not as, as a United States Senator, there are other ways that I can contribute.

Nestor Aparicio  18:39

Anything you want to say about elections or where we’ve been from 2020 to 2024. Or the ideology. It is interesting coming to Mako and, you know, having a sitting democratic, more Democrats in office, probably based on the way Trump Trump ran the country but for the future. What do you feel when you’re out about divisive politics and Trump and indictments and all that? What what do people talk to you the most about when they bump into you?

Ben Cardin  19:03

Well, I guess my message is, as I said earlier, civility Let’s listen to each other. Let’s try to get more bridges, and let’s all resist the use of disinformation intentionally trying to mislead people. Donald Trump took that to a new level with the election deniers and the conspiracy theories concerning that which led to violence on January 6, we need to have a lesson in history and and civics and I would urge all of us to be advocates for better knowledgeable constituencies.

Nestor Aparicio  19:36

Who’s gonna win bring us the title first. Oreos are ravens I’m wearing orange today just so you know. I

Ben Cardin  19:41

think I think look, the Orioles will get there first because they’re the World Series will be October October. There’s still plenty of time for the Ravens won the Super Bowl in February from your

Nestor Aparicio  19:50

lips to our creators years that you and I would be together in March, celebrating two titles here. But you know you live through the late 60s You remember all this right?

Ben Cardin  19:59

Oh yes. Absolutely I know the championship years, pain of

Nestor Aparicio  20:03

losses to New York and the thrill of victory on the Baltimore Colts go back a while. You know, I got my belt buckle back in the day Senator Ben Cardin always spending time so you got to crabcake for me you will take me out for crabcake at some point

Ben Cardin  20:14

when this is all you got Pappas coming in, I’m sure they’re bringing you a crap good man.

Nestor Aparicio  20:18

I am so blessed. We’re going to be papists on the 29th. I do business with Coco’s and cost. We’re going to be fadeless downtown and let’s just go into the city and make this happen. We

Ben Cardin  20:28

didn’t talk about Lexington market reopening. There’s a lot going on.

Nestor Aparicio  20:32

I’m going down to the arena on Saturday night. And there’s a whole different experience there as well. And I have a vision for the Inner Harbor. I know you were there that day that Mayor Schaefer handed the keys over and part of that there’s gonna be another renaissance of that. I think that’s that project is so discussed that I don’t know that we can screw it up. I think we’re going to talk that that project is going to be great again, when we make it great.

Ben Cardin  20:56

Oh, absolutely. The redoing of the Inner Harbor is going to be very important. We will need someone to substitute for Donald Schaefer to jump into the fish pond, maybe later, maybe you’ll do that

Nestor Aparicio  21:06

I got a rubber ducky, I’ll even wear that little outfit. He will be there that day. I was Senator bank cards been there for everything. 16 more months, he’s sprinting to the finish line. It’s all brought to you by our friends at Maryland lottery in conjunction with our friends at window nation. I don’t let you go and serve the people and represent the people but it’s always fun to visit me and Dr. Dave Sigmund says hello to his Uncle Ben Carr. He’s a longtime listener.

Ben Cardin  21:29

David. I’ve known David since he was born and very proud of what he’s been able to do in health care for our community. He’s He’s a great guy. And he’s a lot of fun to be with. Well, I

Nestor Aparicio  21:39

mean, I’m a little man, if he went to Portugal a couple of weeks ago, he did bring me back to the states to not I probably would have gotten wrecked

Ben Cardin  21:44

he gave me that bottle. So that’s he said it was for you. And I’ll stop. I

Nestor Aparicio  21:48

will share that my appreciation to Senator Ben Cardin, out on the front lines and in DC, trying to make things so we covered all inflation reduction. We did chips in science. We did it through PAC DAC. They weren’t anything there. We did infrastructure jobs out

Ben Cardin  22:00

of high taxes to community, community health centers coming to Maryland revenue went to Prince George’s County in new one and Baltimore City, the seedbox. These are the community veterans facilities. So yes, that’s in addition to of course, covering our veterans on toxic exposure. So that was an incredibly important,

Nestor Aparicio  22:19

but we don’t do enough for our veterans. That’s my opinion.

Ben Cardin  22:22

We are you’re absolutely right. But we’re now changing that. Did you remember a few years ago the wait lines for veterans health care, we brought that down substantially? Were Secretary McDonough is really doing a great job as Secretary of Veterans Administration, we are really focused on not just saying how much we appreciate those who have worn the uniform but doing it by our action How does

Nestor Aparicio  22:42

give you a little I’ll give you citizen story that you know because we’re having fun here today and I and you’re just asking me what stories give me a look on my father in law’s a Vietnam veteran, and my wife had her life saved by man in Germany on the bone marrow registry, which I’m sure 20 years ago you were part of trying to set that up to save my wife’s life through medicine. So she wants to go over to Germany and she’s gonna go he loves the NFL. They’re gonna go to a football game over in Frankfort. See the Colts, Indianapolis Colts plate patriots and her dad’s passports expired. And he’s 78 years old. He’s perfect health, and he’s lazy to send it in. And I said the man served us in Vietnam. Does he not have Kenny have someone in the military advocate and just get his 78 years old gets get his passport on swing? Go over to Europe and expedite and I’m thinking how can people that served us not have a valet not I have a Marriott Rewards representative you know what I mean? Like how can we not ever representative to get him to us? That’s it. I just think veterans and people that serve us and war should move to the front of the line for everything.

Ben Cardin  23:45

Well, I believe we do have veterans Preferences. In my area small business we have veterans preferences in the in the Small Business Administration. I think your suggestion is a valid one and we do try to show our appreciation by our actions for our veterans in many different ways including priorities and certainly

Nestor Aparicio  24:03

I can’t get your passport to the office and pay the 80 bucks and get an expedited that’s from my father in law to send him over to Europe later on. Thank you for very much for always spending time with me. My gosh I you have a good sense of humor with me but one day we’ll sit in Oriole game together and have a have a beer and a hotdog and and cheer him on there. It’s been beautiful to have it back. It really has been on a daily basis. Absolutely pay to play less than I felt like what am I going to do the West Coast?

Ben Cardin  24:29

Well the West is a little late at night and you stay up for those late games

Nestor Aparicio  24:32

I did Monday I fell asleep to sitterbank Guard joannec route Mako brought to you by the Maryland lottery conjunction with our friends and window nation. Senator Chris Van Hollen Mayor Brandon Scott the honorable debt Ramos cancel we’re gonna be joining us here I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking Baltimore positive even with our 25th anniversary cupcake logo. Stay with us.

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