Current Position: US Representative for MD District 6 since 2019
Candidate: 2022 US Representative for District 6
Former Position(s): State Senator from 1984 – 2006
I came to Congress to help make recovery a real possibility for more Americans. I thank my all my colleagues for joining me today in #CongressGoesPurple in honor of National #RecoveryMonth to bring awareness and support to those with mental and substance use disorders.
TIEN WONG interviews DAVID TRONE, Co-Founder and Owner, Total Wine & More
The Fredrick News-Post, – August 30, 2021
As the deadline for the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan arrives, Frederick County’s representatives in Congress say they expect hearings to examine the chaotic nature of the departure and acknowledge the crises of recent weeks were the result of failures from several administrations.
Congress will certainly conduct oversight hearings of the downfall of the Afghan government and the Biden administration’s response, but the immediate concern is dealing with the “humanitarian crisis” of getting as many people as possible out of harm’s way, said Sen. Ben Cardin (D), the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. […]
[…] U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-Dist. 6) tweeted Sunday that he and his team have been working with other members of Congress “around the clock” to get as many Americans and Afghan allies to safety as possible.
In a statement Monday, Trone mourned the American service members and the Afghans killed in Thursday’s attack.
“The evolving situation in Afghanistan is difficult to watch unfold, particularly for those who served in the area and hold meaningful relationships with the Afghan people … It’s clear that we need a full briefing in the coming weeks and months to understand the intelligence that informed this decision,” he said.
Source: Government page
David grew up on a chicken and hog farm with his mother, a grade school teacher, and his father, a WWII veteran and member of the U.S. Army Reserves. Though the family lost the farm to bankruptcy, David was given an opportunity through education. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Furman University and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the Wharton School of Business by taking out student loans.
It was in graduate school that he met his wife, June, and opened his first store selling soda and beer. Through a lot of hard work and good fortune, that single store grew into a business with more than 200 stores in over 25 states and 10,000 employees nationwide – 800 of whom are in Montgomery County, Maryland. It is this expertise in business and management that David brings to his time in Congress.
David lives in Montgomery County with his wife June. They have four children: Michelle, Julie, Natalie, and Rob, and two dogs: Lyndon and Hubert.
- New Democrat Coalition
- Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force
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House Appropriations Committee
- Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee
- Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
- Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity
Joint Economic Committee
TRONE, DAVID JOHN has run in 3 races for public office, winning 2 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $34,829,909.
Source: Follow the Money
See: Vote Smart
Source: Campaign page
From growing up on a struggling family farm to starting a business with one store and building it into a successful company, David Trone’s story is an American story. In Congress, he’s been a leader in working to end the addiction epidemic, improving our mental healthcare, reforming our broken criminal justice system, and fighting for our students by improving our education system.
Democracy & Governance
Economy & Jobs
Let’s raise the minimum wage, give equal pay for equal work, and provide a fair tax system. It’s time to invest in the American people.
I’ve been fortunate in my life to start and grow a successful business. But I didn’t start out with much. I grew up on my family’s struggling farm, working 12 hour shifts, cleaning hog and chicken pens, and went to college and graduate school on student loans. I know the struggles that hard working Americans face trying to make ends meet.
Some argue that businesses have to choose between paying fair wages and remaining competitive. I know that’s a false choice. Paying our employees more is an investment in our people. And when you invest in people, you get great returns on that investment.
It’s time that Congress took the same approach by investing in the American people. Here’s what I propose.
A Fair Tax System
Republican tax cuts will strangle our children and grandchildren with $1.9 trillion in debt. It’s fiscally irresponsible to be giving giant tax breaks to corporations that do not need them. The effective tax rate that the wealthiest corporations paid before tax reform was about 24%, which is comparable to other developed nations. There was no need to lower it.
We need to ensure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. Many wealthy people make most of their money on capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate than income. I support the Buffett Rule that people making over 1 million a year should pay no less than 30% in taxes. I also support removing the carried interest loophole that allows hedge fund managers to pay lower tax rates on their profits than working Americans. Removing the loophole would raise $180 billion of revenue over 10 years. $100 billion of this could be used to pay for a fully funded response to the opioid crisis and $60 billion could be used for tuition-free community college for all Americans.
We should raise the minimum wage immediately
Raise the Minimum Wage and Tie it to Inflation
First, we should raise the minimum wage immediately. Increasing the minimum wage is the best way to reduce poverty and increase worker productivity. With that, we also need to pass a law tying the minimum wage to inflation. The federal minimum wage has not gone up since 2009, and it hasn’t kept pace with the rising cost of living. It would be almost $11 today if it had kept up with inflation. 35 million Americans would directly benefit from a minimum wage increase. 89% of them are 20 years or older and 30% of them are women. It’s one of the best things we can do to reduce poverty. As a business owner, I know firsthand that higher wages pay off in the long run by reducing turnover rates and training costs by making employees more productive. That’s why I helped lead the charge for the Raise the Wage Act, which passed the House in 2019.
Protect Workers from Misclassification
I support cracking down on companies that violate workers’ rights by misclassifying them as supervisors and independent contractors. Predatory companies often engage in these practices to avoid paying unemployment and other taxes. Employees who have been misclassified also do not receive protections and benefits like wage and hour laws, workers compensation and unemployment benefits. This is wrong, and we need to enact stiff penalties on unethical companies who try to game the system.
Misclassification not only hurts workers and their families, it hurts responsible businesses who play by the rules. Companies that provide benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and medical leave shouldn’t be put at a disadvantage. That’s why I’m committed to leveling the playing field for all employers. Through tougher enforcement and better education, we can make sure that companies follow the law and workers get the pay and benefits they deserve.
Make Banking Easier
We should make banking more accessible to people in every community by having basic banking services at our post offices. This keeps people from falling victim to outrageous interest rates at payday lenders and high banking fees they can’t afford. This will be particularly important as market forces push banks to close branches and move their services online. Wal-Mart has already capitalized on this trend by offering check cashing services at their stores, with fees of $3-$6 per check. That may not seem like a lot, but those fees can really add up for struggling families. Banking services at post offices will help those families save money and help the USPS retain its important position serving our country.
Women are paid 82 cents for every dollar that a man earns and it’s even worse for women of color.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
I have three daughters who are young adults. For all of the progress we’ve made, they’re still entering a workforce where women are only paid 82 cents for every dollar that a man earns for the same work. The picture is even worse for black and Hispanic women, who earn 68 and 62 cents respectively for every dollar white men earn.
Studies show that closing the pay gap for women, who make up 46% of the workforce, would be a great boon to the economy. President Trump likes to talk about economic growth, but he’s rolled back Obama-era equal pay protections. This is bad for women and bad for the economy.
Congress needs to get us back on the right track by codifying former President Obama’s equal pay protections into law and by finally passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes that employers use to pay women less than men. I was proud to help pass this important bill through the House of Representatives in 2019.
Creating good-paying jobs in the Sixth District will be a top priority of mine and our district is a great place to start and grow a business – we just need government to make the right investments.
Environment & Energy
Protecting our environment is crucial. Climate change is real and it’s a serious threat to our economy and our way of life.
We need a Congress that will take immediate action to protect our environment. As a father, I know that if we don’t act now, my children will have to live with the consequences. That’s why I will push for a strong environmental protection agenda in Congress.
Keep our Air Clean
The Clean Air Act of 1963 has had extraordinary public health and safety benefits. The law along with subsequent proposals to strengthen had support from both parties. Unfortunately, House Republicans are breaking with the longtime tradition of bipartisan support for clean air and are trying to weaken the act’s ozone standards. I strongly oppose bills like the Ozone Standards Implementation Act that would turn back the clock on the progress we have made on reducing ozone pollution.
Protect our Wildlife
House Republicans are also trying to weaken wildlife protections with bills like H.R. 2406. This bill would have several negative consequences including making it easier for poachers to bring illegal ivory into the United States. Wildlife protections are crucial to ensuring that we leave our planet better off for the next generation.
Invest in Green Technology
We can help transition the United States to a greener economy by providing grants to make green technology affordable and accessible. Solar energy usage has doubled every two years for the past three decades as the technology becomes cheaper. If solar continues to grow at this rate, it could provide all of the world’s energy within the next two decades. But in order for it to keep growing at this rate, we need new technologies to keep making it cheaper. Businesses, universities, and even our own military are working on developing these technologies every day. Let’s give them the start-up capital they need to bring these technologies to market and make 100% green power a reality.
Solving a major problem like climate change requires us to make sure that nobody gets left behind. Many communities, including several here in Western Maryland, have been economically dependent on coal and other traditional sources of energy. I support investments to help revitalize these communities that have been harmed by the transition to renewable energy.
Make Federal Buildings Energy Efficient
As the nation’s largest landlord and energy consumer, the federal government needs to lead the way on sustainable buildings. President Obama showed this leadership by issuing executive orders to reduce the federal government’s carbon footprint by building new green buildings and upgrading existing ones. Congress should codify Obama’s most green buildings executive order into law.
Protect Fuel Efficiency Standards
Republicans in Washington are trying to roll back the CAFÉ standards that have driven tremendous gains in fuel efficiency and dramatically reduced air pollution from automobiles and other vehicles. We should fight to keep these standards in place. From 1975 to 2010 the fuel efficiency of cars doubled. We need to continue on this trajectory, not go backward.
Preserve the Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is a vital natural resource not only to Marylanders but to all Americans and the federal government must play a role in its preservation. I will oppose efforts by Republicans in Congress to undermine the EPA’s plans to clean up the Chesapeake.
Access to reliable internet is critical to our way of life, especially as COVID-19 continues to impact the way we work, go to school, and interact with our family.
When I was growing up on a farm in a rural town near Gettysburg, we relied on the electricity and reliable roads to do our business and support our family. It wasn’t private enterprise installing those amenities to make a profit, it was the government recognizing that access to these was vital to our way of life. Families across America, in rural communities like Western Maryland and in underserved urban neighborhoods like Baltimore are going through the same thing with broadband right now.
COVID-19 Highlighted the Need for Broadband Expansion
I’ve heard from countless constituents across the district, and especially in Western Maryland, that they don’t have reliable access to internet, something that makes it difficult to telework and engage in distance learning. Students without reliable internet access are put at a disadvantage to learn and succeed, further expanding the achievement gap. There is also a growing need for tele-health treatment right now. Solving some of the most pressing challenges in our communities like addiction and substance use means doing more to improve the mental health of Americans. The best way to access mental health treatment while staying safe is through the internet. American families have enough to worry about right now. The federal government must do more to ensure that every household has the reliable access to internet that the pandemic has made even more necessary.
What We’ve Done
Through my position on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and with the historic investments in America’s infrastructure led by the Democrats, we invested $85 million nationwide in broadband expansion — much of which will go to Western Maryland and other parts of the state.
Working with my colleagues in the House, I helped to secure nearly $3 million in funding specifically for broadband expansion in Garrett County.
I fought tirelessly to help secure an additional $345 million in funding for nationwide broadband expansion, among other priorities for Western Maryland and the 6th District.
We convened a roundtable in Hagerstown, bringing an FCC Commissioner and the Director of the Maryland Office of Rural Broadband into our community with leaders from Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties to discuss the steps we need to take going forward to continue the broadband expansion.
As a member of the Rural Broadband Task Force, I joined with colleagues to introduce the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, a bold $100 billion investment that would build out broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved communities across America. I also organized over 80 members of the House of Representatives to request $86 billion be included in a COVID-19 relief package for broadband precisely because internet access has become essential to all Americans during the pandemic.
Reliable High-Speed Internet Is Essential for Job Creation, Entrepreneurship and Innovation
More and more each year, businesses and entrepreneurs depend on the internet to innovate, connect with their customers, and participate in e-commerce. If we want businesses to be be able to take advantage of all that our rural communities have to offer, we have to ensure that they have reliable access to internet as well. Doing so doesn’t just benefit the businesses, it benefits the communities by creating jobs and stimulating the local economy.
If federal, state, and local governments continue to partner together and put our communities first, we can ensure that every person in the 6th District has access to reliable, affordable internet in their home.
Health & Education
We need to ensure that every American has access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. Including mental health.
Quality healthcare is a basic human right, and the government’s job is to ensure that right for all Americans. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we made great strides towards realizing the goal of universal health coverage for all Americans. We are on the right track toward universal coverage. Uninsured rates are at historic lows, and millions of people have gained coverage because of the law.
Protect and Expand Coverage
In Congress I am fighting to preserve protections for those with pre-existing conditions, prohibitions on lifetime and annual caps, and requirements that essential health benefits be covered.
When it comes to expanding coverage, we need to close the Medicaid coverage gap and expand Medicaid in all 50 states. The Republican plan takes us in the wrong direction by gutting the funding for Medicaid expansion. However, Republican Governors who were skeptical at first are now admitting that Medicaid expansion has been good for their states, and thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have expanded the program. Let’s keep the funding and work with the remaining 19 states to close the Medicaid gap.
We also need to ensure we expand coverage to support Medicaid long-term services and support (LTSS). Medicaid pays for a lot of the services that allow people with a disability to thrive in our community.
Additionally, I support the creation of a public healthcare option and allowing people to buy into Medicare at age 55. By expanding Medicaid across the country and making these additional options available, we can achieve universal coverage.
Let’s make health care affordable for everyone.
Control Premium Increases
America has the most expensive health care system in the world, and we don’t get better results because of it. Health care providers are incentivized to perform costly tests that aren’t necessary. We should find ways to change the incentives so that providers are rewarded for treating patients not for performing tests.
We also need to focus on wellness and prevention. When people are empowered to make good decisions about diet, exercise, not smoking, and getting yearly checkups, healthcare costs go down.
Finally, we need to get everyone covered. The U.S. spent $38.3 billion on uncompensated medical coverage in 2016. A large part of that is people without insurance having to go to the emergency room, which is far more expensive than preventative care. That cost is then passed on to the rest of us. Covering everyone will help drive down costs in the long run.
Nobody should think twice about getting the care they need.
Limit Out of Pocket Costs
People should be able to afford to use the coverage they have. Too many people can only afford high deductible plans that discourage them from seeing a doctor when they need to because of high deductibles. This is not only wrong, but it’s costly. Studies show that dealing with medical problems sooner rather than later saves money. It’s particularly a problem for mental health services. Too many plans have higher co-pays and deductibles for these crucial services. I support stricter limits on deductibles and other out of pocket costs so that nobody has to think twice about getting the care they need.
Focus on Mental Health From an Early Age
American is facing the highest suicide rate in 30 years, and it’s especially a problem for young people. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among people ages 18 to 24. And the pandemic made it even worse.
Mental health is also highly correlated with substance abuse. My nephew Ian died from an opioid overdose in 2016. He had a “dual diagnosis” of mental health and substance abuse issues. This is why my Family Foundation made a grant to Suburban Hospital in 2017 to expand mental health treatment.
New research shows that half of lifetime mental illness cases begin by age 14,49 but an astounding 80% of children and adolescents 6-17 years old who need mental health treatment do not receive it.
Additionally, we have to do a better job removing the stigma that keeps people from seeking treatment. Our leaders can and must draw attention to this important issue and encourage anyone who needs it to seek treatment.
We also need to ensure that we are fully enforcing the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA), which requires insurance companies to cover mental health and substance abuse treatments the same way that they cover other health benefits.
Finally, we desperately need more brain and behavioral sciences research to develop better treatments for mental health issues. This is why I support doubling the budget of NIH.
Working parents, especially single mothers, often can’t afford to stay home with their children and struggle to afford quality childcare. Quality childcare is not just important for a child’s safety and well-being, it’s critical for their future educational development. A landmark study in 1995 showed that children from low-income families will have heard 30 million fewer words by age three than their more affluent peers.
Affordable quality childcare is particularly a problem in the Sixth District. According to the University of New Hampshire, the average share of family income spent on childcare is 8.8%. But Sixth District families in all five counties spend a much larger percentage of their income on childcare.
I support the Childcare for Working Families Act, which will ensure that families earning less than 150% of state median income will pay no more than 7% percent of their income towards childcare costs. Furthermore, it will also improve the childcare workforce by providing training and compensation improvements.
“Ian was my nephew and like a son to me… This is personal”
David came to Congress with the promise to fight addiction and the opioid crisis. Since taking office in 2019, he has been widely recognized as a champion on this issue in Congress.
In early 2019, David formed the Bipartisan Freshman Working Group on Addiction, a working group made up of 60+ freshmen Members of Congress. The group led the charge by drafting numerous pieces of legislation aimed at responding to the crisis. In his second term, David helped form the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, recognizing the strong ties between mental health and substance use. And, in recognition of his commitment to tackling this crisis, Speaker Pelosi appointed David as co-Chair of the National Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, a group of leaders from across the federal government who ultimately released a report with recommendations on how to curb the flow of synthetic opioids like fentanyl into the United States.
2021 was the worst year on record for opioid overdoses. It’s now estimated that over 1 million Americans have died from a drug overdose. David’s nephew Ian was one of them.
“Ian struggled with addiction for years. We did everything we knew to do — and everything experts told us to do — but it wasn’t enough. After several days of searching, Ian was found dead from an opioid overdose.”
In 2021, over 100,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose.
The statistics in Maryland are even more frightening. We have the 6th highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the nation.
Overdose deaths in Maryland increased by 20% from 2019 to 2020.
I’m running for reelection because we need leaders in Congress who are serious about tackling this crisis. In the following link, you will find 12 action steps that I will continue to advocate for in Washington. These are just the beginning of what must be done to mount a serious response.
“Nelson Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. David Trone not only believes that, he lives by it. With so many people who seem bent on destroying public education, it’s so important to have someone who champions it. We need David Trone in Congress.”
– Former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley
Education has played a critical role in my life. It gave me the opportunity to go from working on a struggling family farm to starting a successful business. Every child should have that same opportunity, regardless of where they start in life. But too many don’t get this opportunity because of their race or socioeconomic status, disability, or because they are from a rural area.
That’s why, in Congress, I’ve made it one of my top priorities to continue to invest in world-class education for every student across the country. In my first term, I was proud to serve on the Education and Labor Committee — ensuring that Congress was thinking long-term and investing in our students, our educators, and our schools. In partnership with my friend Senator Cardin, we introduced legislation modeled after the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, with the goal of taking that vision nationwide.
I’ve also made it my focus to ensure that every student has access to the mental and behavioral health support that they need — an issue made even worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. I introduced legislation to provide comprehensive mental health to every student. And it’s my goal to get it across the finish line.
Too often politicians are focused on doing what helps them win the next election when they should be focused on what helps the next generation. We need to innovate and try new approaches, set high standards for students, teachers, and administrators, and pay teachers as if our future depends on it – because it does.
There’s no question that higher income kids start off with an advantage before Kindergarten even begins. One study shows that higher income kids will have heard 30 million more words by age three than their low-income peers. We need early education, not just early care.
Unfortunately, politicians are all-too-eager to skimp on early childhood education to save a few dollars in the short term. The inability of even progressive states like Maryland, which only has public pre-k for 41% of 4-year-olds, to ensure all children are ready for kindergarten demonstrates the need for a national solution.
Pre-k is one of the best investments government can make. Oklahoma implemented a Universal Pre-K program in 1998, and a decade-long study conducted by Georgetown University researchers showed that students who participate are ahead of their peers in reading, writing, and math.
Close the Achievement Gap
In addition to universal pre-k there are other steps that we must take to close the achievement gap. In too many places across the country, schools are funded by local property taxes, which puts schools in poor neighborhoods at a disadvantage. That’s why I support increases in Title I federal funding for schools that serve low-income students to help level the playing field.
I also support a strong federal Department of Education so that it can provide consistent nationwide guardrails while still encouraging state flexibility and innovation. Laws like the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensure accountability for all students, including those with disabilities. We must make sure every student has access to a good education and is held to high standards and expectations.
We also need to consider innovative programs like community schools that provide programs like health and social services and community development. These schools are open outside of normal school hours and the programs are available to anyone who needs them.
Broadband access is also a crucial component of closing the achievement gap in rural areas. In the 21st century broadband is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Every student should have broadband access at school and at home.
My mother was a public school teacher, and I know how hard teachers work to make sure the next generation has the best opportunities.
I took out student loans to help pay for graduate school. Back then, the debt was reasonable, and you could work to pay it off after graduation. But today, Americans carry an average of $30,000 in student debt. This is bad for students and bad for the economy. Young people can’t buy their first homes or their first cars because of their crippling student loan debt.
We should protect and expand the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL) program so that students who go into public service careers can get out of debt. And for students who want to work in other sectors, let’s expand federally subsidized loan programs and educate students about their options so that they don’t fall victim to predatory lenders.
Community College and Career Readiness
I support free community college. Garrett County has had free community college for years, and their program has helped spur economic growth in the county. There’s no reason we can’t make this available to every American. While Maryland has taken some recent steps to expand community college access, it’s still an area we can continue to improve upon so everyone will have access to a good education.
We should also make investments in career readiness for all students, including students with disabilities and regardless of whether or not students graduate with a full diploma. There are opportunities for students with all different skills, and everyone has something to contribute to society.
We also need to expand skilled trade and apprenticeship opportunities for high school students. Students who have these opportunities can be ready for the job market upon graduation. Middle College High School Programs, like the one Prince George’s County opened in 2011, can provide these opportunities.
We need to do more to recruit, train, and retain high quality teachers.
Investing in Teachers
My mother was a public-school teacher, and I know how much hard work teachers invest in making sure the next generation has the best opportunities. We need to do more to recruit, train, and retain high quality teachers.
The first step is recruiting talented people to become teachers. Many young people are interested in the profession but won’t go into it because of heavy student debt burdens. Let’s create loan forgiveness programs for people who agree to become teachers and teach for five years.
Next, we should ensure that teachers have appropriate training and support. I support inclusive education from preschool through 12th grade and beyond, as well as expanding inclusive postsecondary education to ensure every student can thrive. I support incentives for comprehensive teacher residency programs that provide hands-on training. I also support funding for professional development and continuing education opportunities for teachers, in both general and special education.
Finally, we need to offer teachers competitive pay that’s in line with comparable professions. In business, I’ve always paid my people more than our competitors. It costs more initially, but it also reduces turnover which helps us better serve our customers.
Unfortunately, teachers are paid almost $1,700 less per year now than they were in 2000. When teacher salaries aren’t competitive, talented teachers leave the profession, and it’s our kids who pay the price. Paying teachers what they deserve is the right thing to do, and it’s a good investment.
Protecting the Right to Choose
“I owe it to my daughters, and yours. This isn’t the time to sit on the sidelines.”
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade leaves a stain on our country’s history. I refuse to stand idly by while the rights of women across the country are stripped away. In Congress, I will make it a priority to codify Roe and make access to safe abortion available to women across the country.
I’m 100% pro-choice. Medical decisions should be made by women and their doctors, not politicians. The Supreme Court, Republicans in Congress, and Republican state legislatures all around the country are actively eliminating access to reproductive health services. I will fight these efforts and support legislation that ensures women have access to contraception and safe and legal abortion. In Congress, my legislative priorities to protect the right to choose will include:
Fighting Barriers to Abortion Access – Politicians are creating ridiculous barriers for women to access safe and legal abortion under the guise of “protection”. Clinics are forced to close because of these restrictions and women are often forced to drive hundreds of miles to receive the treatment they need. Many states are also passing demeaning waiting period laws requiring women to drive to the clinic two different times for no medical reason. I support the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would stop these laws and put health decisions back into the hands of women and their doctors.
Repealing the Hyde Amendment – The Hyde Amendment is a provision barring the use of federal funds for abortions services. Millions of women who depend on Medicaid for health coverage are denied access to safe and legal abortion because of this antiquated provision. I will work to repeal the Hyde Amendment in Congress.
Supporting Planned Parenthood – Millions of women across the country depend on Planned Parenthood for health services like cancer screenings, contraception, STI testing, and safe and legal abortion. I will oppose any effort to defund Planned Parenthood. I will fight for this vital organization.
“The thoughts and prayers of politicians have done nothing to protect Americans from mass shootings. Proper regulation and safety from Congress will.”
Over the years, we’ve all watched in horror as one school shooting after another has plagued our country. Every year, there are over 30,000 gun-related deaths in America, and we must take action to stop the violence.
Year after year, month after month, and shooting after shooting we commit to doing something to stop the gun violence tearing apart our communities and taking innocent lives. But we consistently fail to get it done. I’m glad that the House and Senate are taking steps to work in a bipartisan way to make progress — but that should be the first step of money to combat gun violence.
Reject all special interest money, including from the NRA
The first thing we need to do is reject political dark money. I will never take a penny from any special interest, and I’ll never back down when it comes to confronting the NRA and fighting for our families.
Among my top priorities for action is expanding background checks that keep guns out of the hands of people with a history of violence or serious mental illness by closing the gun-show and internet loopholes.
Keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers
As part of a new effort to expand background checks, we must pass laws that keep guns out of the hands of those who have a history of domestic abuse. Violent people must not have easy access to firearms.
Ban assault-rifles and bump stocks
Most of the mass shootings our country has suffered have been young people who have been able to purchase military-style assault weapons. These are weapons of war, and they must be banned. I also favor banning so called ‘bump stocks’ that turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons, like the one used by the deranged shooter in Las Vegas.
Violence Against Women
Violence against women is an all too common problem in the United States. The 1994 Violence Against Women Act was a positive step in helping to give law enforcement the tools they need to prosecute abusers and providing support for victims. But more than two decades later, domestic abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking remain serious problems – and we need to do more to combat them. In Congress, my legislative priorities to combat violence against women will include:
• Keep Abusers from Obtaining Guns – Domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women in the United States, and abusers often use guns to threaten or even kill victims. Domestic violence incidents involving a firearm are 12 times more likely to result in death. Keeping convicted abusers and stalkers from obtaining guns is a long-overdue common-sense measure that will save lives. I support the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, which would make these prohibitions federal law.
• Enforce Title IX Sexual Assault Protections – Sexual assault on college campuses is a significant threat to the safety of female students. One in five undergraduate women experiences sexual assault on campus. In response to this epidemic, the Obama administration released new guidelines for how colleges should protect students from sexual assault, which they are legally required to do under Title IX. Unfortunately, Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have rolled back these guidelines. Congress should act to write the Obama administration’s provisions into law so that we can continue making progress on protecting women on campus.
• Allow Trafficking Victims to Expunge Convictions – Women who have been victims of forced prostitution and human trafficking often find themselves further victimized by our criminal justice system by laws criminalizing prostitution. These women (including many right here in our district) often find it even harder to get out of prostitution after a criminal conviction, because it’s more difficult for them to find legal employment with a criminal record. To help survivors who have been further victimized by these misguided laws, I support the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act, which would allow women who have been victims of trafficking to have their criminal convictions vacated and their arrests expunged.
LGBTQ individuals deserve equal treatment and protection against discrimination at work, school, and in their community nationwide.
The Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same sex marriage was a great victory for this country, but the fight for equal rights isn’t over. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is still legal in many states, so businesses can refuse to serve someone food or lease an apartment simply because of their sexual orientation. The problem is exacerbated for transgender people. They face everyday discrimination that often goes unnoticed, from workplace dress codes to ridiculous regulations about which bathrooms they use. Transgender people are 50% more likely to be unemployed, and tragically 50% of transgender youth attempt suicide before their 20th birthday. This is unacceptable.
We need to pass the Full Equality Act to ensure LGBT individuals are protected against discrimination at work, school, and in their community nationwide. And we need to pass laws that protect and recognize transgender individuals as important members of our society instead of outsiders.
Foreign Policy and National Security
I am a strong supporter of the State of Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. Israel is our most important ally in the region, and its safety and security are critical to the interests of the United States. In Congress, I will place a very high priority on nurturing and deepening ties with Israel because our nations share common values with a strong and unwavering commitment to democracy and freedom. In a region consumed by volatility and intractable conflict, Israel remains firmly anchored in freedom and justice. I will be a reliable champion for a strong and enduring US-Israel relationship.
The Jewish Homeland & Vibrant Democracy. Israel is the homeland of the Jewish People, one to which my family and I are deeply committed. I visited Israel in 1999 and again in February 2018. On both trips, I was deeply impressed with Israel’s dynamism, its unique history, and especially with its robust democratic institutions and civil society. The establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948 – in the ancient land of the Jewish People – fulfilled a 2,000-year-old dream for Jews who fled persecution over the centuries in Spain, Western and Central Europe, Poland, Russia, and throughout the Pale of Settlement. Though that age-old dream was realized, we must always remember that millions of Jewish lives could have been saved had there been a sovereign Jewish nation during the darkest chapter in Jewish history, the Holocaust. That is a stark lesson I will never forget.
Today, Israel continues to be not only a safe-haven for the Jewish People, but it is the world’s “Start Up Nation” – a remarkable oasis of economic, medical, and high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship, something I witnessed first-hand on my recent trip last February. My wife, children, and I also have an emotional tie to Israel. As b’nai mitzvot, my children read from the Torah in the ancient Hebrew language of their fore-fathers and fore-mothers, and two of them have taken part in Birthright Israel trips. My wife prays to Jerusalem whenever she attends services at our synagogue in Rockville, Maryland. Our family’s ties to Israel are deep and enduring.
American military assistance to Israel has historically served as Israel’s lifeline, bolstering its defense capabilities and enabling Israel to purchase state-of-the-art systems to defend itself in a very hostile neighborhood. I whole-heartedly support foreign military assistance to Israel, now at $3.1 billion per year, consistent with the current Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Israel. In Congress, I commit to supporting the overall foreign assistance package, including early disbursal of the portion for Israel, as has been the case for many years. Most foreign assistance to Israel is spent in the United States, creating jobs here at home, including in Maryland. Not only is foreign assistance vitally important for Israel, it is a smart investment that will continue to pay dividends into the future.
I also strongly support America’s continued assistance for Israel’s missile defense systems. Given the array of very real threats against Israel – from Iran’s ballistic missiles, to Hezbollah missiles in Lebanon and Hamas’ rockets in Gaza, numbering well over 120,000 according to many experts – it is in America’s interest to support programs like Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the Arrow missile program. I witnessed this threat to Israel on my recent trip when I stood on Israel’s northern border and looked at the hills in Lebanon where Hezbollah has installed thousands of rockets, all aimed at Israeli civilians and infrastructure; many of those rockets are embedded in schools, private homes, and other private facilities, which is a common, yet demented, Hezbollah tactic.
Iron Dome helped protect innocent Israeli lives when Hamas rockets attacked Israeli civilian areas in 2012 and again in 2014 – and this defense system helped prevent a wider war. More recently, on August 9 of this year alone, Hamas launched 180 missiles from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, part of an ongoing and very troubling pattern of terror that includes incendiary kites and balloons that have inflicted severe damage to Israeli farms and communities. This is simply not acceptable, and Israel has the duty to defend its citizens against such attacks. Last February, I visited the southern Israeli community of Sderot, whose citizens live in daily fear of rocket attacks from Hamas, and was shocked to see how they only have a few minutes to find shelter when Hamas rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip. I am therefore proud that key components of its radar system are made by a company that has its North American headquarters in Maryland, ELTA Industries – and I’ll do what I can in Congress to attract other Israeli companies to Maryland.
Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge & Fighting Against Extremism. By law, all sales of defense technologies to the Middle East must ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge (QME) – a law I will be proud to vigorously uphold. Meanwhile, we should bring more capabilities to our allies and partners across the Middle East, such as Jordan and Egypt – two countries that courageously struck peace deals with Israel; they, too, deserve our support.
The chief concern in the Middle East today is Iran, an autocratic regime that refers to America as the “Great Satan” and repeatedly threatens to “wipe Israel off the map.” Despite support among many Iranians for needed reform, the clerics who seized power in 1979 remain in place and maintain an iron grip on the nation, even while there are signs of growing unrest among the populace. Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. It supports both Hamas and Hezbollah, which threaten Israel on its southwestern and northern borders, respectively. In Syria, Iran’s persistent meddling and arming of Syrian President Assad’s ruthless army and allies, including its shipment of deadly missiles, continue to destabilize that war-torn nation neighboring Israel. Further, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force has been sowing instability in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere – all contrary to American and Israeli security interests.
Like virtually all Democratic leaders in the House and Senate – including Sens. Ben Cardin and Charles Schumer – I was disappointed that the President decided to unilaterally withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran. It is imperative now, more than ever, that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon. If Iran takes any steps in that direction, the consequences must be swift and severe. All options must be on the table to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb that threatens not only Israel, but also other allies in the Middle East and beyond. Iran has tested ballistic missiles, giving rise to action by the UN Security Council, which I support. Further, the IAEA needs to make robust inspections of Iranian military sites, and we should increase sanctions for Iran’s non-nuclear activities in supporting Hezbollah with weapons, shooting ballistic missiles, and funding terrorist activities throughout the Middle East. In Congress, I will support legislation that clarifies that Iran must be sanctioned for any resumption of its missile program, as well as its nefarious actions that undermine US interests in the region.
The Cuban embargo is a policy failure. It’s been in place for more than 50 years, and it simply hasn’t achieved its goals. The American public knows this. One poll shows that 71% of Americans believe the embargo has not worked. When a policy doesn’t work, you need to try something new. That’s why I believe engagement and trade with Cuba is the best way to help the Cuban people and foster change.
We are the only country that is not a signatory to the Paris Accords. It’s an embarrassment and hurts us on the world stage. Additionally, the military and the state department believe that climate change is a threat to our national security but Trump doesn’t even think it’s real.
Investing in Research
In Congress, I will fight to protect funding for Fort Detrick. Not only does it create 9,100 jobs in the 6th District, but it’s vital to our national security. They have the NBACC which is the only lab of its kind that processes bio-forensic evidence for the FBI for bioterrorism cases.
The Trump Administration tried to gut the funding, and thankfully Congressman Delaney was able to save it. But we need to be vigilant to make sure that the funding does not find its way back to the chopping block.
As the US faces the coronavirus pandemic, the need for a larger investment in medical research is clear. We need to double the budget of the NIH so that we are better prepared to respond to deadly pandemics in the future.
Criminal Justice Reform
My passion for criminal justice reform stems from personal experience.
Early in my business career, I was arrested and charged by a corrupt prosecutor. I was fortunate to have the resources to defend myself but far too many people, especially people of color, are not so fortunate.
That’s why for over 20 years, I’ve supported the ACLU’s efforts to fix our broken justice system. In 2015 the ACLU created the Trone Center for Justice and Equality in recognition of June and I’s longtime support.
I’m also proud to chair the ACLU’s Private Sector and Education Advisory Council. The council recently released a report showing how hiring returning citizens is good for business. The report uses data from my own company, where we’ve banned the box and hired over 100 returning citizens. We’ve found that they are some of our best employees.
In Congress, I am fighting for criminal justice reform. Our country needs a comprehensive approach that tackles problems on the streets, in our courts, and in our prisons. My top priorities on this issue are:
When implemented in San Diego, the police department received 40.5% fewer complaints and police officers used force 46.5% less when they wore body cameras.
Body Cameras for Police Officers
We need to address the role of police officers in our communities. Body cameras for police officers are a no-brainer first step. Congress should use every means available to have body cameras adopted nationwide and make sure police departments have strict rules to ensure they remain turned on during all police encounters.
Congress needs to focus on community-based policing.
Community-Based Policing and Prevention
Congress also needs to focus on community-based policing. From 2009 to 2014 the federal government gave police departments tens of thousands of machine guns, ammunition magazines, camouflage and night vision equipment, and armored cars. Police should have the tools necessary to ensure public safety, but that does not require us to turn our cities and towns into war zones, as we witnessed with the excessive militarization of police in Ferguson. Police departments need the resources to work with communities to disrupt gang activity and prevent more violent crime. Interlock devices in cars will also help reduce drunk driving and keep our communities and police officers safe.
A Fair Trial
Every defendant should have the right to an attorney with the experience and time necessary to devote to their defense. Across the country, our public defender system is in shambles. In Fresno County, California, public defenders are expected to handle 700 cases a year. Congress should lead the way by funding more public defenders in the federal court system and limiting the number of cases that they have to take.
In addition, we need to overhaul the bail and pretrial detention system. A 2013 study found that 50% of pretrial detainees were in jail because they could not afford to pay bail of less than $2,500. It’s even worse for Latino and Black defendants who often receive higher bail than white defendants. This causes an undue financial burden on the defendants and their families, limits the defendants’ ability to participate in their own defense, and wastes taxpayer money.
We spend $38 million every day in this country to keep these mostly nonviolent offenders behind bars before they’re convicted of anything.
Congress should pass the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act. This bipartisan bill would use Justice Department grants to incentivize states to implement pretrial detention reform and require them to show that they’re meeting certain guidelines as a condition for receiving the grants.
America has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners.
End the War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration
Our prison population has increased by over 630% since 1972. This explosion in incarceration is due to our failed war on drugs.
We should treat substance abuse as a public health issue not as a criminal one. And we need to repeal mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses so that judges can use their discretion to get low-level offenders into treatment programs rather than sending them to prison for decades.
End Long-Term Solitary Confinement
We need to end long-term solitary confinement, ensuring that it is only used for limited periods of time and only when necessary. Each year 80,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement in the U.S., many of them for infractions as minor as having a pack of cigarettes. Long-term solitary confinement has severe psychological effects on inmates and is considered torture under international law.
We need to value the lives of inmates and get them the resources they need to positively contribute to society.
We also need to redefine success in our prisons. This is not just a criminal justice reform issue but a public safety one, too. Preparing inmates to earn a living once they’re out of prison lowers crime rates because they’re not forced to turn back to crime to support themselves.
There’s no reason we can’t adopt a rehabilitative approach to our prison system. European countries like Germany actively prepare inmates to reenter society successfully and have lower recidivism rates as a result. We ought to value the lives of inmates and get them the resources they need to positively contribute to society. Former prisoners should be eligible to receive Pell Grants and access to student-aid programs if they want to develop their skills and credentials to become meaningful contributors to society. Prisons should be able to serve as places of training and education. Over 60% of inmates in the United States are functionally illiterate and over 70% cannot read above a fourth-grade level. We shouldn’t waste money on incarceration simply because people don’t have the educational skills they need to succeed. A majority of states spend more on incarceration than on education per person. It’s a moral and economic disgrace.
Right now, we fund prisons based on the number of inmates that they have, giving them no incentive to stop inmates from reoffending. Let’s change this by providing bonuses to wardens and staff in prisons where inmates do not re-offend after being released. This will help encourage prison wardens and staff to develop innovative programs for education, job training, and other areas that can help people succeed when they get out of prison. The bonuses can be paid with money saved on incarceration with no additional cost to the taxpayers.
“As hardworking Americans, they deserve to stay here.”
Immigrants are an important part of American society and should have a path to citizenship.
We all benefit from the rich cultural and economic diversity immigrants bring to our community. Research shows that immigrants improve the quality of life for all Americans. Immigrants and their children founded over 40% of Fortune 500 companies, and these companies employ more than ten million people worldwide. Notably, Steve Jobs’s father was an immigrant from Syria.
H-1B visas allow for employers to hire highly skilled immigrants for which there are not enough skilled American workers to fill available jobs. Immigrants with H-1B visas bring a global business perspective and set of diverse experiences to an organization. As a system vital to American innovation, the Trump Administration’s policy to make it more difficult for immigrants to receive these visas undermines economic growth and American competitiveness. We will easily start losing this highly-skilled talent to other countries that are more welcoming to immigrant workers and their families. As a country of immigrants, we should welcome this talent with open arms.
We are a nation of immigrants and that is one of our greatest strengths.
“These are America’s best and they deserve ours, but America’s veterans are not always getting it.”
My father was a quartermaster in the U.S. Navy During World War II. He served aboard the U.S. Aircraft Carrier Bon Homme Richard and saw combat in the Pacific.
When my father came home from the war, he was returning to a nation that was both eager and ready to help. President Roosevelt understood that re-adjusting millions of veterans to civilian life after the war would be no easy task, so he began preparations well in advance. These efforts culminated in his signing of the G.I. Bill of Rights in 1944, often referred to as the “G.I. Bill.” It guaranteed veterans a range of educational, housing, unemployment, and medical benefits.
Unfortunately, the picture is very different for returning veterans today. While our nation is all too eager to thank them with words, we’re not nearly as prepared to act. Unlike President Roosevelt, who understood the importance of long-term thinking, our leaders didn’t have a plan in place to support veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As a result, veterans today are facing many serious challenges with medical care, education, employment, and homelessness. We have a moral obligation to do better.
“Nothing is more important than serving those who have served us.”
It’s an honor to serve on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, where I’m able to make a real difference in the lives of our veterans who have given so much in service to their country. Working across the aisle, we’ve made real progress on improving mental health and access to resources for veterans across the country.
Healthcare and mental health
We’re all familiar with the scandals of 2014 where it was revealed that veterans were dying waiting in line for care, and VA officials were falsifying records saying that people were being treated when they were not. In response, Congress created the Veterans Choice program.
Under the Veterans Choice Program, veterans are allowed to seek care from outside providers if their wait time for an appointment is more than 30 days or if they live more than 40 miles from the closest VA facility. Many people in Allegany and Garrett counties live more than 40 miles from the closest VA hospital.
Unfortunately, the program has suffered from budget shortfall and the rules have left many veterans who need outside care unable to receive it. Furthermore, it was never intended to be a permanent fix to the problem. Congress needs to pass real reform that fixes the underlying problems at the VA so that it can deliver the excellent care that it once did.
We especially need to focus on mental health and traumatic brain injuries. It’s estimated that around 300,000 servicemembers have sustained TBI since the year 2000. About 22% of people who served in Afghanistan and Iraq returned with TBI compared to 12% in Vietnam.
“The only acceptable number of homeless veterans is zero.”
TBI and other disabilities are also major contributing factors to veteran homelessness. After 9/11 our leaders failed to anticipate this problem and prepare for it. By 2009 there were about 500,000 homeless veterans. But the VA that year was only serving 92,000 of those. In response to these alarming numbers, President Obama set an ambitious goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.
While his administration made great strides, reducing veteran homelessness 50% by 2016, the goal remains unmet.
Many cities and counties have made commitments to end veteran homelessness – Montgomery County is among them. We need more municipalities to step up and more resources from the federal government to support them. The only acceptable number of homeless veterans is zero.
We need to provide veterans the flexibility that they need to finish their degrees.
Education is another area where our leaders failed to anticipate the needs of today’s veterans. Tuition costs have risen dramatically in recent years and benefits were not being adjusted accordingly. In 2000 some veterans were finding that the G.I. Bill now only covered 1/10th of their education costs.
Congress finally took action in 2008 by passing the post-9/11 G.I. Bill which brings tuition benefits in line with today’s costs. But many veterans still don’t have the resources or support that they need to finish school.
Veterans are nontraditional students and we need to do more to support their needs. My company has a program that allows our employees to earn a four-year degree at company expense. All of the coursework in the program is done online. Most of the people who take advantage of it are older than a typical college student and all are working full time to support themselves. The online courses give them the flexibility needed to complete their degree. We need to look at options like this to give veterans the flexibility that they need to finish their degrees.
We need to incentivize employers to hire veterans and educate them on the valuable skills that they provide to the workforce.
Employment has also been a challenge for post-9/11 veterans. At the beginning of 2011 post-9/11 veterans were over 50% more likely to be unemployed than the overall workforce. Progress has been made since then and post-9/11 veteran unemployment has fallen to levels comparable to civilian unemployment.
But underemployment remains a serious issue. Today’s jobs require more skills and education than ever before. Veterans can be at a disadvantage because while they are serving our country, they’re missing out on opportunities to get the education and skills needed to advance in the civilian workforce.
Compounding the problem, employers are far less likely to understand the needs of military veterans because they are less likely to have served themselves. In my father’s generation, 12% of the population served in the armed forces. Almost everyone either served or had friends and family who served. Today less than 1% serve in the military.
We need to do more to incentivize employers to hire veterans and educate them on the skills that veterans can provide to their workforce.
“Thank you for your service” must be more than words. Governments at all levels, the private sector, and nonprofits all need to step up to find and implement solutions. It’s imperative that we fulfill our commitment to serve those who have served us.
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David John Trone (born September 21, 1955) is an American politician and businessman. A Democrat, he is a member of the United States House of Representatives from Maryland’s 6th congressional district. The district includes most of the western third of the state, but the bulk of its population is located in the outer northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. He co-founded and co-owns Total Wine & More, along with his brother, and served as the company’s president until December 2016.
In 2016, Trone spent more than $13 million of his own money on his unsuccessful Democratic primary campaign to succeed Chris Van Hollen in Maryland’s 8th congressional district, setting a record for the most expensive self-funded House campaign. In 2018, Trone was the Democratic nominee for the 6th district and won the general election to succeed John Delaney beginning in 2019.
Early life and education
Trone was born in Maryland and raised on a 200-acre (81 ha) farm in East Berlin, Pennsylvania, where his father Thomas ran a chicken and hog operation. Thomas also owned a soda and beer store. When Trone’s parents separated, his father kept the farm and his mother took over the store. Thomas and his farm went into bankruptcy, but Trone kept working at his mother’s store.
Trone graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Furman University in 1977, and earned a Master of Business Administration in 1985 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Total Wine & More
Having seen the potential of the beer sales at his mother’s store, Trone began his career by founding the beer-only retailer Beer World in Pennsylvania in 1984, during his second semester of graduate school. Months before graduating from Wharton, in 1985, Trone expanded into the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Over time, he opened additional stores, called Beer and Pop Warehouse and, later, Beer World, which were owned by friends and family members because Pennsylvania state law prohibited individuals from owning more than one beer retail outlet.
Trone, with the assistance of his brother Robert, then opened two stores in Delaware in 1991, adding wine and spirits to the company’s offerings. Using knowledge acquired at Wharton, the brothers chose to replicate the family store’s model across Pennsylvania. The beverage company had slim margins, but was immediately profitable and allowed the brothers to focus on operations. The brothers familiarized themselves with regulators and industry leaders, and began changing laws that restrict wholesalers from offering retailers discounts in exchange for large volume purchases, among others in their attempt to promote beverage consumption.
The business has since expanded into what is known today as Total Wine & More, the largest privately owned beer, wine, and spirits retailer in the United States. In December 2016, Trone gave up his title of president to chief executive Kevin Peters.
Arrests and indictments
Beginning in 1989 and for the following three years, Pennsylvania authorities arrested Trone three times following complaints from an association of smaller, individually owned stores. One arrest was for negotiating volume discounts on behalf of multiple stores and illegally advertising beer prices, and another was for circumventing state transportation regulations. These charges were later dismissed.
In 1992, Trone, his wife, June, and brother were indicted by a grand jury in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, for owning multiple stores through Trone’s consulting company, among other charges, all of which were later dropped and expunged. In 1994, a state judge dismissed 19 of the 23 counts based on “prosecutorial overreaching”, and the remaining counts were withdrawn after Trone paid a $40,000 fee to cover investigation costs.
During these legal proceedings, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) broke the law by providing records of his consulting firm to government officials, prompting Trone to sue the agency in federal court. Trone won and was awarded $400,000. The lawyer who had represented Trone also served as a national board member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which would begin the start of a long-term relationship between Trone and the organization. The Trones’ difficulties in Pennsylvania prompted them to leave the state; Total Wine & More grew from the remaining two stores in Delaware and an additional retail outlet in New Jersey, which had been opened by Trone during the early 1990s.
In 2016, Total Wine was served with a license suspension by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission for selling liquor below its costs. The company appealed the commission’s decision, and in mid 2017 the Suffolk Superior Court sided with Total Wine.
U.S. House of Representatives
Trone has been active in Democratic politics and hosted fundraisers for the party. In 2014, he hosted a fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Anthony G. Brown, which was attended by former President Bill Clinton, and in November 2015, he held a fundraiser at his home for the Democratic National Committee, which was attended by President Obama. Trone had also contributed to Republican politicians; according to a database operated by OpenSecrets, he donated more than $150,000 to Republicans in multiple U.S. states between 2000 and 2015. The Washington Post reported that Trone contributed more than $90,000 to Democratic state officials during the same period, and said the donations made to Republicans were to support “legislation or regulatory changes favorable to his company”. Trone said the donations “represented the cost of doing business, especially in states with Republican-controlled state houses and governor’s mansions”.
In January 2016, Trone entered the Democratic primary campaign to succeed Chris Van Hollen in Maryland’s 8th congressional district; this was the real contest in the heavily Democratic district. He ran on reducing unemployment and gun violence, criminal justice reform, environmental protection, and education and foreign policy. Trone pledged to support early education, work with the National Institutes of Health to reduce health care costs, improve infrastructure, and forgive more student loans for government employees.
Trone spent more than $13 million on his unsuccessful campaign, which became the most expensive self-funded House campaign ever. The first-time candidate said a large personal investment was necessary in order to stand out in a crowded race which included recognizable competitors, including news anchor and Marriott International executive Kathleen Matthews and election winner State Senator Jamie Raskin. Following the election, Trone told NPR, “We knew it would be very expensive. We’re not surprised by what it cost at all. We anticipated that, and it was a thoughtful choice my wife and I made… It was the right decision to take no money from anybody.”
On August 2, 2017, Trone announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Maryland’s 6th district, an open seat being vacated by John Delaney, who chose not to seek reelection and retire from Congress to focus on his 2020 presidential campaign. Trone had endorsed Delaney for president several days prior. Trone told Washington Jewish Week in early 2018 that lessons learned from his prior run include not entering the race early enough and not raising money.
Trone toured throughout Maryland in late 2017, and filed his candidacy in January 2018. His filing was accompanied by a press release expressing his support for education, environmental protections, health care, Social Security, and women’s rights. Trone also made combating the opioid epidemic a central focus of his platform, releasing an action plan and hosting a series of town hall meetings to address the crisis. In March 2018, Trone, gubernatorial candidate Rushern Baker, and John Delaney organized free bus trips from Maryland to Washington, D.C., in support of the March for Our Lives demonstration.
In the general election, Trone faced Republican Amie Hoeber and candidates from other parties. He received an endorsement from the Washington Post. On election day on November 6, 2018, Trone won the U.S. House seat with 57.5 percent of the vote.
On January 23, 2020, Trone announced his intention to run for re-election to Congress to serve a second term.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
- United States Congress Joint Economic Committee
|Democratic||Ana Sol Gutierrez||7,185||5.5|
|Democratic||David M. Anderson||1,511||1.2|
|Democratic||Andrew J. Duck||2,758||4.9|
|Democratic||David Trone (incumbent)||215,540||58.8|
In addition to political contributions, Trone and his wife have supported a number of philanthropic efforts. They have been major contributors to the ACLU since 1994. Their $15 million donation in 2015 supported the organization’s efforts to promote criminal justice reform and improve employment opportunities for former prisoners, and established the Trone Center for Justice and Equality at the organization’s national headquarters. In 2016, the couple pledged $5 million to establish the Trone Family Public Policy Initiative Fund at their alma mater, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
In mid-2017, the Trones donated $2.5 million to Bethesda, Maryland‘s Suburban Hospital to support mental and behavioral health services and make improvements to the Old Georgetown Road campus. The couple’s donation was inspired by their nephew’s death from an opioid overdose in late 2016. The David and June Trone Family Foundation contributed $100,000 to the Catholic Legal Immigration Network in mid 2017 to support locals affected by Trump’s travel ban, which the couple called “outrageously egregious”. The Trones also donated to the ACLU’s Montgomery County affiliate, the Latino immigrant organization CASA, and Interfaith Works.
Trone’s contributions to Furman University include a $5 million grant for a student center and to create men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, and the lead $500,000 gift for the Riley Foundation’s endowment to support disadvantaged South Carolina students. The Trone Student Center was dedicated in 2013 and named for Trone and his wife, in honor of their $3.5 million contribution.
In 2021, Trone and his wife donated $5 million to American University to help support research on addiction and behavioral health.
In 2012, Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) Greater DC gave Trone the “Distinguished Service Award” for his many contributions to the organization, which provides recreational programs for children with developmental and physical disabilities. He was honored at the 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Greater Washington, in the “large company” category. In 2015, Trone was invited by the American University‘s Kennedy Political Union and the Kogod School of Business to speak to students and faculty about entrepreneurship and business leadership. He was awarded the Anti-Defamation League‘s annual achievement award in 2016. In 2016, Trone joined the boards of American University and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
In 2017, Trone received Furman University’s Carl F. Kohrt Distinguished Alumni Award, which is presented “to an alumnus in recognition of significant professional or personal accomplishments and in gratitude for continued loyalty”. He served on Furman University’s board of trustees from 2010 to 2016.
During his 2018 campaign, Trone was diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemotherapy and surgery to remove a kidney; he was declared cancer-free by October.
As of 2016, the Trones live in Potomac, a suburb of Washington. His home is just outside the 6th’s borders. Members of the House are only required to live in the state they represent, and not the particular district.
- “Two Hundred Twenty-Ninth Commencement for the Conferring of Degrees” (PDF). University of Pennsylvania. May 20, 1985. p. 34. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 13, 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
- “David Trone’s Biography”. Vote Smart. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
- Teague, Lettie (December 14, 2016). “The Man Behind ‘America’s Wine Superstore’“. The Wall Street Journal. Eastern Edition. New York City: Dow Jones & Company. ISSN 0099-9660. OCLC 781541372. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
- Rozen, Courtney (November 24, 2015). “David Trone encourages students to embrace failure and experiment with innovative business ventures at KPU event”. The Eagle. American University. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
- Heath, Thomas (December 18, 2011). “Value Added: Potomac’s Total Wine”. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
- Turque, Bill (April 3, 2016). “For Wine Mogul David Trone, Congressional Race Is Unfinished Business (Posted 2016-04-03 23:45:35); First in a Series of Profiles of Democratic Primary Candidates in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District”. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 2, 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2017 – via HighBeam Research.
The archived link does not provide access to the article content, only the first 100 or so words, as Highbeam originally provided for free.
- Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (March 5, 2016). “Maryland House Race a ‘Caldron of Power Couples and Washington, D.C., Politics’“. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
- Gaines, Danielle E. (March 8, 2016). “U.S. House race: First-time candidate Trone looks to bring business acumen to Congress”. Frederick News-Post. Frederick, Maryland: Randall Family, LLC. ISBN 9780316441407. OCLC 31371730. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
- Pulcini, Max (January 21, 2016). “Wine Retailer CEO Speaks at Kogod Leadership Speaker Series”. MetroMBA. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
- “Furman Dedicates Trone Student Center”. Furman University. September 20, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
- “The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative Announces $5 Million Gift from David Trone and June Malament Trone” (Press release). Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. March 8, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
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- “Total Wine co-owner will fund his run for Congress”. Washington Business Journal. American City Business Journals. January 28, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
- Briana Adhikusuma (March 12, 2020). “State delegate seeks law forcing congressional candidates to live in their district”. Bethesda Magazine.
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- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- “The Art of Leadership”. Montgomery Magazine. April–May 2017.
- Appearances on C-SPAN