Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-5th) enjoys his annual bull roast in Prince George’s County because he gets to hug, shake hands and nibble on hot food alongside fellow Democrats and other friends.
The event celebrates various accomplishments made during the year and coincides with his birthday in June, but was postponed due the poor air quality from the Canadian wildfires. It resumed Friday as orange, red and white balloons were stationed at various places at Newton White Mansion as hundreds came to pay homage to Maryland’s longest-serving member of the House of Representatives.
Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) attended his first bull roast and began with a joke.
“It’s normally a June event, right? So about three months later, we thought it was because of Canadian wildfires. It actually was because…[Hoyer] was going to have brief remarks. We thought if we just arrived today, he’d be done with that. It’s a bull roast, right?” Ferguson said to a few laughs, oohs and ahhs.
As Hoyer thanked everyone for coming, a woman yelled to congratulate the congressman for his “84 years on this Earth.”
The woman was joined by several others who call themselves Climate Defiance, a youth-led group that challenges elected officials and companies to end the reliance on fossil fuels.
Slightly more than a minute later, while Hoyer was still talking, the group walked toward the representative to stand on some steps and chanted, “End fossil fuels, Hoyer! End fossil fuels!”
Attorney General Anthony Brown (D) suggested the group “sit at a table and have a meaningful discussion around these important issues.”
“It’s not meaningful if we don’t get any answers,” a woman yelled.
A few minutes later, a disc jokey played some music and Hoyer’s remarks ended early. As the protesters calmly left, a few attendees yelled at them for interrupting the congressman. Another person shouted, “You need to respect your elders!”
About 20 minutes later during a brief interview, Hoyer said the bull roast is a public event and the protesters were speaking about democracy.
“They have a point they want to make [about] fossil fuels. We’ve got to transition to renewable fuels, but we don’t have the capacity at this point and time to simply shut our economy down using only renewable fuels,” he said. “They have a sense of urgency, which we all have. Climate change is real.”
Meanwhile, Hoyer hasn’t formally announced his intention to seek a 22nd term to represent Maryland’s 5th Congressional District.
“I can’t tell you because I don’t really know,” he said. “I’m going to take it a month at a time and we’ll see what happens.”
Others have announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination in the district that includes all three Southern Maryland counties of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s and parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.
Mckayla Wilkes, 33, announced in June she will seek the Democratic nomination for a third time.
Wilkes, who co-founded a nonprofit organization three years ago called Schools Not Jails, seeks to become the first Black woman and first queer person to represent the district.
Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, Andrea L. Crooms, filed papers to challenge Hoyer in the May 14, 2024, Democratic primary a few months ago.
Hoyer’s longtime colleague and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her intentions to seek reelection Friday on social media.
“Now more than ever our City needs us to advance San Francisco values and further our recovery. Our country needs America to show the world that our flag is still there, with liberty and justice for ALL,” Pelosi, 83, wrote on X, previously called Twitter. “That is why I am running for reelection — and respectfully ask for your vote.”
Back at Newton White Mansion, some attendees at Hoyer’s roast tapped their foreheads to wipe off sweat as Friday’s high temperature reached 91 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. To keep cool, some sucked on popsicles and gulped down bottled water.
Another of the elected officials on hand, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman (D), said he believes the congressman will continue working on Capitol Hill to ensure Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives.
“Steny Hoyer will be there to make sure that happens,” Pittman said.