In a video message released today, Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) announced her plan to run for U.S. Senate and fill the seat to be vacated by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who will retire in 2016. If elected, Rep. Edwards would become second Black woman and the tenth Black person in history to serve in the Senate,.
Multiple politicians have expressed interest in Sen. Mikulski’s spot, including Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who is backed by Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-NV). However, Rep. Edwards has garnered the support of various liberal organizations, such as Emily’s List and the Feminist Majority.
Since being elected to Congress in 2008, Rep. Edwards has been a voice for minorities and women. The congresswoman has helped provide funding to HBCUs, advocated for equal pay and access to childcare, fought for women’s reproductive rights and worked to increase female Congressional participation.
In her announcement, Rep. Edwards reflected on her struggles as a single, working mother. If elected in November 2016, she said she’d continue fighting for everyone who has stood in her shoes. “I’ve lived the American Dream: the middle-class American Dream, the one you have to work hard for just to hold on to, the one that’s slipping away for far too many Maryland families,” Edwards remarked. “These are the people I fight for.”
Rep. Edwards is the second Black woman to announce her 2016 bid—California Attorney General Kamala Harris is seeking to fill the seat left by retiring Dem Barbara Boxer.