News & Politics

Jamie Raskin: 6 Things to Know About the House Impeachment Manager

The Maryland Democrat was born in DC and represents some of the region's most progressive suburbs.

Photograph by Jeff Elkins

US Representative Jamie Raskin has become a key player in this season’s impeachment drama, serving as the lead manager of the House of Representatives’ case against Donald Trump. The congressman has repped his district since 2017, but his roots in the region extend back to the day he was born. Here’s what to know about the Maryland Democrat:

He is a DC native

Although his district is in Maryland, Raskin himself was born in the District in 1962. Dad Marcus Raskin co-founded the progressive think tank Institute for Policy Study while mom Barbara Raskin was a journalist and a bestselling author. The congressman graduated from Georgetown Day School in 1979, where he honed his leadership skills as captain of the soccer team and editor of student newspaper the Augur Bit.

He’s had a long career in Maryland politics

Before he won his congressional election in 2016, Raskin scooped up victories in state-level elections. He was elected to a Maryland state senate seat in 2006, rising to the role of majority whip. Raskin’s constituency included liberal enclaves like Takoma Park and parts of Silver Spring—both part of the district he now represents in the US Congress. The Democrat has emerged as a progressive during his legislative career, backing the legalization of medical marijuana and the abolition of the death penalty.

He taught at American University

Raskin knows a thing or two about constitutional law—after all, he taught the subject for more than 25 years as a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law. Now a professor emeritus, Raskin also taught courses about the legislative process and political rhetoric. According to a former student on Rate My Professor, Raskin is a “Super Hottie, extremely funny and truly a master of constitutional law.”

His district trends progressive—even for the area

Sure, the DC-area as a whole tends to swing blue. But Raskin’s constituency in Takoma Park is positively cerulean. Dubbed “the Berkeley of the East,” the zany suburb has made headlines for building a silo to store maize for corn-burning stoves, as well as strict protections for the city’s tree canopy. No wonder Raskin was among the Democrats who skipped out on Donald Trump’s inauguration four years ago.

He supported DC statehood before it was hip

Raskin was arguing for the autonomy of his birthplace before supporting DC statehood became de rigueur among Dems. He has written legal and constitutional arguments in favor of statehood for decades and has even testified about statehood in front of the legislative body he now serves in. Boldly, Raskin has even suggested incorporating DC’s residential areas into a city or county in Maryland.

The Capitol riot was personal for him

The congressman was visibly emotional during his impeachment testimony on Tuesday, recounting his experience hiding from the pro-Trump insurgents on January 6. Raskin wasn’t just fearful for his own safety: the representative had brought daughter Tabitha and son-in-law Hank Kronick to the Capitol that day, the day after burying his 25-year-old son, Tommy. Facing the Senate, the father of three discussed how he promised his daughter her next visit to the legislative house would be different. “She said, ‘Dad, I don’t want to come back to the Capitol,” Raskin said.

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Daniella Byck
Assistant Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture.