Pr. George's, Montgomery Legislators Rally for Wynn

U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.)
U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.) (Albert R. Wynn)
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By Annapolis Notebook
Thursday, February 7, 2008

In a show of local support, U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.) was joined yesterday by 27 delegates and senators from Prince George's and Montgomery counties at an Annapolis rally in support of his reelection effort.

The group represented a majority of the legislative delegations from the two counties.

Holding signs and chanting "win with Wynn," the lawmakers pledged to fight to reelect Wynn to a ninth term in Congress. They said that the 4th Congressional District, which includes portions of both counties, benefits from his seniority.

"To endorse someone with no experience over an incumbent congressman who is now a [subcommittee] chairman doesn't serve the people of Montgomery or Prince George's," Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said in an interview.

Miller was referring to Wynn's leading challenger, Prince George's lawyer Donna F. Edwards, who has never held elected office. Edwards came within a few thousand votes of defeating Wynn in 2006 and has mounted a spirited and well-funded challenge this year.

Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George's) said he has mailed letters to 5,000 supporters telling them that Wynn has been critical to his success in politics and that they should vote for the congressman in the primary Tuesday. Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery) called Wynn "a fighter" for job creation and for health-care for low-income children.

In an interview, Wynn said that increased voting in the primary, expected because of the hot presidential primary, could help him. He has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.); Edwards has stayed neutral.

"What Sen. Obama brings is a sense of 'let's get things done,' " he said. Edwards "is an ideologue. It's her way or the highway. I've always been about getting things done."

Edwards announced the support of three elected Latino leaders: Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-Montgomery), Del. Joseline A. Pe¿a-Melnyk (D-Prince George's) and Edmonston Mayor Adam Ortiz.

"I am proud to call Donna Edwards my partner in fighting on the issues that matter for the people in my district," Pe¿a-Melnyk said in a statement.

Edwards spokesman Dan Weber said it was "no surprise" that elected officials are supporting an incumbent.

"History has shown throughout this area that that seems to be how it works," he said. "Electeds come out and predominantly support electeds. . . . We're very excited and happy about the people who have come on board for us, and we're looking forward to seeing if more do so."

-- Rosalind S. Helderman

Students Detained in Protest Of O'Malley's Education Spending

About two dozen teenagers were detained yesterday after rushing up the steps of the State House following a boisterous protest.

The rally at Lawyers Mall drew about 300 students from Baltimore who called on Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to commit more funding to education priorities.

A group of students tried to carry a fake cardboard coffin up the steps of the State House to O'Malley's office. Police officers shut the State House entrance and detained the students by cuffing their wrists with plastic bands, said Alvin C. Collins, secretary of the Department of General Services.

No students were arrested or charged, Collins said. "It's a warm day in February, and kids will be kids," Collins said.

The students accused O'Malley of not living up to his campaign promises to fund education. "O'Malley promised us money when he was mayor and he became governor, and there's no money now," said Barabbs Chambers, 16, a high school student from Baltimore. "Our schools are falling apart."

O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said that the state is funding new-school construction at "historic levels." And, referring to the formula for state education funding, he said: "Because of the difficult choices we've made over the last year, we're able to maintain Thornton funding."

-- Philip Rucker

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