Meet Congresswoman Donna Edwards and you’ll immediately sense her strong energy and enthusiasm for her work on behalf of people in her community. According to Edwards – who represents portions of Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties – the experience so far has “been really invigorating – exciting.”
A Trailblazer for Maryland
Since June 2008, Congresswoman Edwards has represented the Fourth District of Maryland, where she’s lived for more than 20 years. Her election was trailblazing, much like the rest of her career. She broke glass ceilings leading top non-profit groups and is now the first black woman elected to represent Maryland in Congress.
Around the district, her story resonates with constituents. According to Edwards, “When I go around schools in my district and around the state – and I speak to young girls in particular – I hope that in me they see their own possibility.”
Congresswoman Edwards currently serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Science and Technology Committees in the House of Representatives, where she’s focused on investing in the innovation and infrastructure that will rebuild our economy and grow jobs for the long term. For example, one of the bills she introduced would support the development of clean water technologies. She also serves as a member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, which is a nonpartisan panel that advises Members of Congress and the public about human rights issues.
A Local Advocate in Washington
Donna Edwards was born June 28, 1958 as one of six children in a military family that traveled throughout the country during her childhood. She returned to North Carolina, her birth state, to attend Wake Forest University, where she met her future husband, Derek. At Wake Forest, she was one of only six African-American women in her class. She subsequently earned a law degree from Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire and settled in Maryland with her husband Derek and their newborn son Jared in 1989.
Congresswoman Edwards has enjoyed a long and diverse career serving the public through non-profit work and public interest advocacy. She co-founded and served as the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and received national recognition for her work leading the effort to pass the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
From 2000 until her election to Congress in 2008, she served as Executive Director for the Arca Foundation, which supports “transparent, accountable, and just” government policies. During her time at Arca, she gained national prominence for her efforts to secure a living wage for working people, ensure the independence of the federal judiciary, end capital punishment, protect social security, and promote labor and human rights – both nationally and abroad.