Former U.S. Representative (MD-4) Donna Edwards is a lifelong organizer, community leader and a mom. After earning her B.A. from Wake Forest University, where she was one of only six black women in the class of 1980, Donna moved back to Maryland, and early in her career worked at the United Nations Development Program and the Lockheed Corporation at the Goddard Space Flight Center.
In 1989, Donna earned her law degree from the University of New Hampshire before going on to lead several national fights for justice. As a consumer advocate for Public Citizen, Donna fought for campaign and ethics reform. She also successfully overturned a lobbying effort to keep affordable arthritis medication out of the reach of seniors. She co-founded and led the National Network to End Domestic Violence, spearheading the campaign to pass the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 and successfully taking on the NRA to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Donna was elected to Congress in 2008, the first African American woman to represent Maryland in Congress. She served five terms representing much of Prince George’s County. In Congress, Donna was a tireless advocate for her constituents and was instrumental in the passage of the Affordable Care Act, writing a provision to limit how much insurance companies could increase prices year to year. She also led efforts to enable Maryland schools to provide dinner for hungry kids through the Afterschool Suppers Program, for young people to have access to college and career opportunities and to bring regional economic opportunities to Prince George’s County.
In 2016, just as she was wrapping up her final months in Congress after her run for the U.S. Senate, Donna was diagnosed with MS. This was a wake up call about the challenges that many face and the importance of having access to quality, affordable healthcare. In July 2017, Donna wrote an open letter to her former Congressional colleagues that appeared in the Washington Post: “To my colleagues in Congress: I have MS. Don’t make my insurance unaffordable.”