Congressional candidate calls himself a middle-class savior
Chief among Anderson’s issues, aimed at Maryland’s 8th congressional district, which includes parts of Montgomery, Carroll and Frederick counties, is helping working families, especially middle-class families, balance work and family responsibilities.
“I argue that when our senators and congressmen are talking about trying to solve the excessive leverage problem … they need to see that these issues about families, hard-working middle-class families, are also about leveraging,” said Anderson.
That is why Anderson, 56, is seeking a national family policy that provides support for traditional and nontraditional families as part of his platform.
“Young families need a choice between getting paid leave and childcare support until your child is 5, or a paid leave and tax credit for stay-at-home mom or stay-at-home dad,” he explained.
Creating a national family policy has been a topic of concern for Anderson for 30 years. His views, he admits, have changed from the time he was 30 and “defended the more liberal progressive side of just paid leave” to when he turned 40 and became a father and stepfather.
“I changed my view,” he said. “I decided it was biased against those families who would prefer to have a parent at home.”
He also wants to tackle Social Security issues. As many seniors rely on the program for 90 to 100 percent of their retirement income, he wants to increase monthly payments by $70 a month. To ensure the program will be around, he wants to raise the eligibility age by two years from 62 to 64 for early retirement and from 67 to 69 for normal retirement age, to be implemented over a 10-year period.
Though he describes himself as a center-left progressive, that willingness to see the conservative point of view may help him in a crowded Democratic field.
Former Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews and state Sen. Jamie Raskin are seen as the leading contenders by virtue of funds raised; however, said Anderson, this primary can be won with 25 percent of the vote.
“If I went into a Republican-controlled Congress, I believe that I would have a better shot than Sen. Raskin, for example, would with the green economy,” said Anderson. “God bless him. I’ve read a lot of these books, too, but those ideas are dead on arrival. My ideas are not dead on arrival. It would take a few cycles to get through, [but] the time has come.”
Anderson already stands out from his Democratic competitors in that he was an early opponent of the Iran nuclear agreement and has made standing with Israel one of his platform issues.
“I do side with Sen. [Ben] Cardin against the deal, primarily because the money being given to Iran is going to be used for terrorism, for conventional war,” said Anderson. “It’s a lot of money — $100 billion — and it just fuels the largest sponsor of state terror.
“There are many voters, including Jewish voters, who would be sympathetic to my views on the Iran deal,” he added.
From 2002 to 2012, Anderson served on the board American Jewish Committee; he has been endorsed by the National Action Committee Political Action Committee, which bills itself as “the nation’s largest pro-Israel political action committee.”
Fixing the economy, strengthening the Affordable Care Act to work for American families and expanding universal pre-K and lowering the cost of higher education round out Anderson’s issue list.
Anderson is the senior vice president of state relations for The Washington Center, where he has worked for 11 years. His primary responsibility is to lobby state legislatures, including Maryland’s, for funds to send college students to Washington for a semester or summer term. In this capacity, he has worked with Democrats and Republicans.
He is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and taught ethics and political management at the George Washington University in Washington for 12 years. He is the editor ofLeveraging: A political, economic and societal framework.
Anderson does not live in the district which he seeks to serve. When the lines were redrawn in 2012 “to make District 6 more congenial to interests of Maryland Democrats,” he said, his home was placed just outside the district.
“I get my haircut in District 8; when I go to the Walgreens on the weekend, it’s in District 8; the JCC where I met my wife is in District 8; my synagogue is in District 8. … The only thing that’s not in District 8 is my house,” Anderson said with a chuckle.
He has pledged that if he wins the general election, he and his wife and children will move the eight blocks to be inside the district.
Anderson grew up in Margate, N.J., attending first a Conservative synagogue and later a Reform congregation. Today, he and his wife Adrienne are members of Adat Shalom Congregation, a Reconstructionist synagogue in Bethesda. Anderson is proud of his family’s historical contributions to Judaism; his mother’s family traces back to the Kimchi scholars of the Middle Ages and his great-aunt Deborah Melamed was the author of The Three Pillars.
This article originally appeared in Washington Jewish Week.