Benjamin L. Cardin is a Jewish American politician and currently the junior Senator from Maryland.
Cardin (born October 5, 1943) was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants and operated a grocery store; his father, Meyer, served in the Maryland House of Delegates and later sat on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City.
A 1964 graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, Cardin earned his law degree in 1967 from the University of Maryland School of Law. He also holds honorary degrees from the University of Baltimore School of Law (1990); University of Maryland at Baltimore (1993); Baltimore Hebrew University (1994); and Goucher College (1996).
From 1967 to 1986, Cardin served in the Maryland House of Delegates and held the role of Speaker from 1979 to 1986. As Speaker, he was credited with reforming Maryland's property tax system, the school financing formula and the ethical standards for elected officials.
In 1986, Cardin ran for, and won, Barbara Mikulski's vacated seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating Republican challenger Ross Pierpont with 79% of the vote. Cardin was reelected to the House nine consecutive times, rarely facing serious opposition and even running unopposed in 1992. As a member of the House, Cardin was a leader in shaping health care policy and authored legislation to provide a Medicare prescription drug benefit for chronic illnesses; fund graduate medical education; and guarantee coverage for emergency services.
In April 2005, Cardin announced that he would seek election to the U.S. Senate to fill the seat of Paul Sarbanes. In November 2006, Cardin won the election, defeating Michael Steele wutg 54% of the vote and became the third consecutive Representative from Maryland's 3rd Congressional District to be elected Senator. Cardin has served or continues to serve on the Senate Committe on Finance, Committee on Environment & Public Works and Committe on Foreign Relations. Cardin was re-elected in 2012 and won with 55% of the vote.
Senator Cardin is married to Myrna Edelman Cardin.