Congressional Candidate Roger Manno Engages with Frostburg Students
On Nov. 8, 2017, Frostburg State’s College Democrats hosted State Senator Roger Manno (D-Md.) on campus to talk about his life as a politician, his campaign for Congress, and to hold a brief question and answer session.
Senator Manno currently represents Maryland’s 19th legislative district of Montgomery County in the Maryland State Senate. With John Delaney’s decision to forgo re-election in 2018 to the United States House of Representatives to instead run for President of the United States, Maryland’s 6th Congressional district, spanning from Garrett County in the west to parts of Montgomery County in the east, has been left without an incumbent congressman seeking re-election.
Roger Manno is running for that seat and hopes to be a United States Congressman come election time in 2018.
The event at Frostburg State was held in the Gira Center and brought in around twenty eager listeners to hear the senator speak. Senator Manno informed the audience of his bid for Congress and shared several political issues that hold significant importance to him, including healthcare, the environment, student debt, and tax reform.
The Bottom Line was able to sit down with Senator Manno after his speech for a quick interview on several issues pertinent in today’s society, including healthcare, education policy, and the environment.
Regarding healthcare, Roger Manno delivered a very compelling personal story to exemplify his views on healthcare. When the senator was young, his family didn’t have much to call their own. His father was a carpenter and his mother was a student. His father became ill but was turned away at the hospital because he could not afford health insurance. As a result, Senator Manno’s father tragically passed away.
Throughout his extensive career in government, Manno has fought to “make government work for everyone,” including playing a part in Rep. John Conyers’ (D-Mi.) single-payer healthcare bill proposed to Congress in 2003. Senator Manno firmly believes in universal healthcare as a right, and doesn’t want any family to have to go through what his has regarding healthcare. When asked if his views on healthcare resembled the likes of Bernie Sanders, the current leading proponent for universal healthcare in Congress, Senator Manno said “absolutely.”
The Bottom Line also asked how Manno would advocate for university students if he were elected to Congress. Senator Manno acknowledged the crisis that is student debt and affirmed that there must be some way for students to acquire a two-year or four-year degree without massive amounts of debt. Some ideas Senator Manno proposed were service in programs like AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps, where service would equal loan forgiveness. In addition to loan forgiveness programs, Senator Manno stated that we need more Pell Grants from the federal government, citing that he benefited greatly from government assistance in college.
On the environment, Senator Manno stated that, as a society, we need to “reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and increase our use of renewable sources of energy.” Senator Manno believes technology that will be developed in the near future will play a major role in the reduction of our carbon footprint. He cited the various strides already being made by renewable energy sources, including windmill farms, the increasingly inexpensiveness of solar panels, and the advancement of hydrokinetic turbines, turbines that sit on the ocean floor. Senator Manno was pivotal in Maryland’s efforts to ban fracking.
Since District 6 is a district that spans over diverse portions of the state including both rural areas in the west and D.C. suburbs in the east, The Bottom Line asked Senator Manno how the needs of Allegany and Garrett County residents will be accounted for. Senator Manno responded by reaffirming that he works for regular people. A staple of his campaign is that he will strive to make government work for everyone. The Senator also stated that he prefers to take a hands-on approach towards governing. He enjoys going out into the communities of his constituents, getting ideas directly from the people and then taking them back to the legislature. He went as far to say that residents will get sick of seeing him out in the community, displaying a passion for active service to his constituents.
Senator Roger Manno received his bachelor’s degree from Hunter College in political science before acquiring a law degree from the Franklin Pierce Law Center. Manno has worked in several capacities in government, working in several congressional offices before being elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2007 and then the Maryland State Senate in 2011. Senator Manno currently serves as the Majority Whip in the Maryland State Senate.