U.S. Rep Donna Edwards, D-Md., has been as vocal as any other member of Congress during her tenure. And while many say she’s emerging as a liberal star, she says she’s just representing her constituents.

“I am who I am,” Edwards said. “I feel that I do fairly represent the interests of my district and others around the country who understand what it means to wake up in the morning, go to a job, get a paycheck and meet their responsibilities.

“That’s kind of how I grew up and it’s how I’ve worked as an adult,” she continued.
Edwards has not been one to mince words either. She’s shown the will to speak out against anyone—Republican and Democrat alike. She says she’s in office to protect her constituents and everything she does is for their benefit.

“The people of the fourth Congressional District did not elect me to be a go-along to get-along and to just take up space in Congress,” she said. “We have real challenges in front of us.

“We have a lot of communities and families that are really struggling,” Edwards continued. “They’re struggling to put food on the table, struggling to educate their children and struggling to create greater opportunities for themselves and their families. So as a member of Congress, if I don’t fight for them, who will do that?”

While she’s not opposed to keeping him honest, Edwards largely approves of the job that President Obama has done in doing his term. She says he’s done a good job given the situation he inherited.

“We can quibble here and there about whether the president could’ve done more or less or better on any given thing,” she said. “Overall, President Obama has managed the difficulties of this economy in a very responsible way.”

Edwards has also been frustrated lately. After November’s elections, which saw the House majority switch to the GOP, she’s found it hard to push for the changes she and many of her Democratic colleagues would like to see. Despite that, she says it’s important that she continues to push forward.

“If anybody had to guess about it, it’s better to be in the majority than in the minority,” Edwards joked. “That said, I think it’s still important to articulate on behalf of the people in my district, our state and the American people the concerns that people bring to their everyday lives.”

That articulation was on display in the wake of the passing of the Budget Control Act, which she had several issues with. Edwards says she’s happy that the country avoided default, but there were several things in the legislation that may come back to hurt American citizens.

“The potential in six months for across the board, pretty severe cuts to virtually every single program that impacts vulnerable people from student loans to school nutrition programs to job training,” said Edwards. “I think one of the major drivers of our long-term debt is the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and this debt ceiling agreement actually walled off the ability to not fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Edwards says she still has work to do, but never plans to compromise what she believes in going forward.

“This is who I am and it’s not likely to change,” Edwards said. “Some people describe me as liberal and progressive. I describe it as who I am; fighting for working families.” 


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO