Hoyer Remarks in Support of Resolution Allowing the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby

WASHINGTON, DC - This afternoon, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) spoke on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.Con.Res. 19, his resolution to allow the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby to take place on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The annual event, which will take place on June 15, includes youth from across the Washington Metropolitan area, including many from the Fifth District. Congressman Hoyer has sponsored a resolution in support of the race for the past 28 years. The resolution passed this evening. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video:

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Click here to view the video.

“I want to thank the gentlelady from Minnesota, Ms. [Angie] Craig, for yielding, and I want to thank my friend, Mr. [Mark] Meadows, for his comments, for his support of this effort, which is, as he said and… as Congresswoman Craig said, very much about giving young people a sense of competition, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of creating a vehicle through their own hands and their own work and their own efforts. So this is a very good effort for us and for young people.

“One of my favorite events of the year is the soapbox derby. I’m speaking, of course, from experience in terms of our district which I’m going to talk about. This resolution I am calling up today or has been called up today, along with other members of the region's Congressional Delegation: Representative [Gerry] Connolly, [Don] Beyer, and [Jennifer] Wexton from Virginia and David Trone and John Sarbanes and Anthony Brown from Maryland and, of course, the Representative of the District of Columbia, Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is a big supporter of this.

“Now, Mr. Speaker, this is my 28th year sponsoring the Soapbox Derby Resolution, and I’m pleased that its passed every year unanimously. This is the Greater Washington Soapbox Derby's 78th year. It will be held on, as has been said, June 15, and we'll see soapbox racers from ages eight to seventeen compete in three divisions: stock, super stock, and masters. The winners from each division, as has been said, will each have a chance to compete at the National All-American Soapbox Derby in Akron.

“Soapbox derbies have been called the greatest amateur racing event in the world. In America, we have a long history of families participating and many adults carry fond memories with them throughout their lives of having built soapbox racers with their parents or other relatives during their childhood. Soapbox derbies are educational, teaching children about sportsmanship, engineering, manufacturing, and leadership. Many of the racers are sponsored by civic groups, police and fire departments, and service organizations with members coming out to cheer on their participants.

“Several Greater Washington Soapbox champions – as it will not surprise you I’m sure, Mr. Speaker – have come from Maryland’s Fifth District in recent years, including the winners from 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, and last year, 2018. So we are really into this, and we have some very, very talented young people who are excited about participating and obviously do well. Our racers, Mr. Speaker, even won the national championship in both 2007 and 2008. So soapbox derby is a big deal in the Fifth Congressional District.

“Last year, Tyler Jameson from Hollywood, Maryland won the stock division. His brother, Ryan Jameson, won best decorated soapbox racer, decorated as a Maryland flag which we love very much. Aspen Tomasello from Waldorf, Maryland, which I represent, won in super stock and then went on to win third place at the National All-American race in Akron. Kenny Tomasello, her brother, prevailed in the masters division and took fifth place in Akron, so I have a lot of confidence in our Fifth District folks.

“Mr. Speaker, you can imagine I would be in a lot of trouble if this resolution didn't pass, allowing them to compete in this wonderful event.

“I want to thank the organizers of the Greater Washington Soapbox Derby, as well as the co-sponsors of this resolution, and in particular, Congresswoman Craig and Congressman Meadows for their support and help in getting this passed. It's a fun event, but also a great event to teach young people values and participation and competition. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I yield back the balance of my time."

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