When Democrat Anthony Brown lost in the Maryland gubernatorial race to Republican Larry Hogan in 2014, he had to figure out what would be next in his career.
Brown, a 54-year-old Army veteran and lawyer, has said public service remained a part of his DNA. Three years later, he was sworn in Tuesday, Jan. 3 as a representative in the 115th Congress.
“Things are unpredictable and you can’t necessarily see today what is on the horizon for tomorrow,” the former lieutenant governor said after a short ceremony inside the James Madison Memorial Building in Southeast attended by more than 100 supporters. “I’ve always dedicated myself to public service. I’ve always believed if you worked hard and did the best you can that opportunities open up. When this opportunity presented itself … this is exciting.”
Brown, who resides in Mitchellville, also was sworn in earlier in the day with the Congressional Black Caucus’s 48 other members, the largest iteration in the organization’s history on Capitol Hill.
Even with the major accomplishment, members will face a Republican-controlled Congress with a heavy conservative agenda that includes repealing much of the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) was re-elected as the speaker of the House with 239 votes. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) received 190 votes, including Brown’s.
Brown said building a consensus remains key to working with Republicans.
“Any initiative, action, or proposal that threatens our values…[such as] marriage equality, voting rights, investments in public education, we’re going to resist and we’re going to oppose,” he said. “Where there’s common ground, if there is perhaps in transportation and investments in infrastructure, then we will look for that common ground. [But] we are never going to be abandon our principles of equality, opportunity and justice.”
Brown will represent more than 700,000 residents of 4th Congressional District, which includes portions of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.
He often stated during his campaign that one of his main focuses would be to place a moratorium on foreclosures. According to realtytrac.com, Maryland ranked fifth in the nation in November in foreclosure rates with one in every 976 units. The number of foreclosures actually decreased from the previous month of October from about 3,500 to more than 2,000.
Prince George’s County ranked third in the state behind Baltimore City and Charles County.
“A big part of why we’re seeing high foreclosure rates not just in Prince George’s but around the country is that federal regulators who didn’t have the tools to regulate and oversee the financial institutions,” he said, adding that “nothing is off the table” regarding measures to stem foreclosures.
Brown beat back a field of contenders during the April Democratic primary, including former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, who raised the most money and had the support of the county’s top lawmaker, Rushern L. Baker III.
Ivey and Baker sat beside each other at a table Tuesday to support Brown.
“For us in the county, he’s knows our issues very well,” said Baker, who mentioned the proposal to move the FBI headquarters from D.C. to the county and bringing federal dollars for transportation. “We know he’s going to do a great job.”
Maryland state Sen. Joanne Benson (D-District 24) of Landover, a loyal supporter of Brown since he first was elected in 1998 as a state delegate, said he will bring fresh leadership for the district.
Benson also said Brown will choose “a competent staff,” a slight shot at his predecessor Donna Edwards, who decided to run for Senate but lost in the Democratic primary to the eventual winner, former Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
“He understands constitute services. He understands the importance of working with all of the leaders from the top down,” said Benson, who also supported Van Hollen in the Senate rate. “[Brown] also knows how to work on both sides of the isle. He knows how to get things done.”