The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce recently partnered with the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce to host both of Maryland’s U.S. senators for a special “Fireside Chat” luncheon event, held at the Golden Sands Ocean Resort in Ocean City.
The event was presented by Perdue Farms and sponsored by NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Salisbury University, Pohanka Automotive of Salisbury and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
During the program, Bill Chambers, President/CEO of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, and Amy Thompson, Executive Director for the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, posed questions to Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.
Among the topics covered: the precarious financial position of the Social Security Trust Fund, offshore wind energy and alternate energy resources, the national debt and specific pieces of legislation that each senator has sponsored.
Cardin said that, when addressing the nation’s Social Security funding challenges, “sustaining the fund will be challenging moving forward, but it will be done.”
“Congress is exploring several possible future funding options,” Cardin said.
Addressing the continually rising $31 trillion national debt, Van Hollen said: “This is a significant concern, and efforts to live within our national means must be a priority moving forward.”
Both senators agreed that varied energy options, including wind, are essential sources of renewable resources.
“We need to do more to incentivize and not politicize nuclear energy opportunities in the mix of clean energy options,” said Cardin.
Van Hollen reminded the audience: “Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant across the Bay generates 20 percent of Maryland’s electricity demand. But it is not an either-or regarding wind and other clean energy sources.”
The Democratic senators also shared information about a few of the legislative initiatives they sponsor.
The creation of the Chesapeake National Recreation Area is something Van Hollen believes will bring economic vitality to the region.
“Increased tourism and many ancillary economic spinoffs are just two benefits this national designation will bring to our region,” he said.
Cardin commented on his legislation to allow Medicare to begin to cover the costs of multi-cancer screenings.
“As our population ages,” he said, “Medicare covering the cost of these essential cancer screenings is basic common sense.”