Today we salute the residents of Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, people in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Yesterday they elected one of the most outstanding people any of us has ever met who is willing to be a public servant. You have done yourselves a great service and you have done this nation a great service.

I also want to thank the approximately 1,800 Blue America donors who contributed $6,600 to Donna’s campaign in 2006, and then came back this year and helped fuel her grassroots campaign with another $62,868. Donna has told me that without our immediate help after the narrow but heartbreaking defeat in 2006 she might not have been able to make it back for her smashing victory this year.

And make no mistake, this is a victory of monumental importance. Today’s Washington Post mentions that Donna is the first African-American woman to represent Maryland in Congress and that is a great milestone for that state. But I was thinking of something else when I mentioned "monumental." Donna Edwards is an archetypal progressive leader– a human game changer– who epitomizes what Blue America is all about. I have every confidence that she is bound for glory– or, more likely the U.S. Senate– but as a congresswoman I expect that she will be, like a handful of representatives, someone who is working full time for ordinary Americans– and not just working, but working smart. I was just a child when I met JFK, and not much older when I worked for RFK, and I’ve met my share of politicians– and then some– since. But I have to say that I’ve never met anyone as committed to solid values and principles who’s even considered running for office. On top of that, Donna is one of the most strategically-minded people I ever met.

Today is a great day for Maryland, a great day for Blue America and a great day for the United States of America. We need more progressive leaders like Donna Edwards. As part of the insidious incumbent protection program, Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi worked hard to defeat Donna. But Hoyer celebrated with her last night and Nancy plans to swear her in tomorrow.

Edwards said her first order of business will be a bill that would increase the minimum wage and tie it to inflation. She has also promised that until her bill or a similar one is enacted, she will donate her congressional pay raise to a scholarship fund for 4th District graduating seniors who are continuing their education. While Edwards would like to sit on the same congressional committee as Wynn– Energy and Commerce– there are no openings, so she says she would be interested in Education and Labor or Transportation and Infrastructure, both useful positions for a district with a substantial union base that also has traffic problems.

Yesterday we raised over $70,000 in one day to help hold Steny Hoyer accountable for betraying the Constitution, the Democratic Party and the American people. I would so much rather use that money to elect more progressive candidates like Donna, but unless we let our elected leaders know that we expect them to work for us, not for the corporations and not for criminals like Bush, we will exist in a netherworld between democracy and fascism forever.

If you want to help us make Steny Hoyer wish he had never thrown his lot in with Bush and Cheney, here’s the page. If you would like to help a progressive candidate defeat a corrupt and reactionary Democratic stooge (like Al Wynn, but much worse), please donate to Georgia state Senator Regina Thomas here. Or if you want to just put your money into retiring exceptionally bad Republicans, you can find a whole gaggle of them on our Blue America page— from James Inhofe (R-OK), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH), David Dreier (R-CA) to Scott Garrett (R-NJ) and Tim Walberg (R-MI)– where we are helping solid progressives like (respectively) Andrew Rice, Debbie Cook, Vic Wulsin, Russ Warner, Dennis Shulman and Mark Schauer replace them.

But pat yourself on the back today because progressive America won a huge victory over the Insider power elite and you have been part of it. Thank you.

Howie Klein

Howie Klein

Howie Klein spent much of his life wandering around the world living in places like Afghanistan, Nepal, Holland and Morocco. He moved backed to America when Richard Nixon resigned and promptly helped start the first punk rock radio show in the country and then a DIY punk rock record label. His adventures in the music business ended a couple of years ago when he retired as president of Reprise Records. He began blogging almost immediately, starting Down With Tyranny. Jane taught him html while he held one of her dogs at a party. He is a raw foodist, lives in L.A., swims and hikes every day, thinks Howard Dean could be a president as great as FDR and will never be completely happy until Bush and Cheney are behind bars.