Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Donna Edwards Afforded Rare Speech Opportunity at Convention

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Rep. Donna Edwards speaks at the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday.

A litany of Maryland political leaders spoke. When it was Edwards' turn, her delivery was free of notes, let alone a prompter. It was a far cry from the rehearsals only an hour before.

After the lunch, there was a surprised and murmured reaction to the standing ovation she received.

Edwards has a big smile and disarming brown eyes that belie the frustrations sources on Capitol Hill privately express about how she goes about business. She has locked horns with colleagues over a host of issues from Maryland redistricting to the debt ceiling.

Some of the very people she has frustrated most were in that room, but judging by the reaction, the state's most junior Democratic House Member - and only female - was on equal footing with more senior Members, such as Maryland Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings and Chris Van Hollen and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer - and O'Malley.

After lunch, it was off to a Democratic National Campaign Committee-hosted women's tea.

The rest of her day was cluttered with event after event. She managed to steal some time to head back to her hotel 30 minutes outside Charlotte to prepare for her appearance that night with her fellow female House Democrats on the convention stage.

On Wednesday morning, the news came down that Obama's address, and Edwards' too, would take place in the smaller basketball arena because of threatening rain.

Because of the move, Edwards' speech timing carried no greater significance than the dozens of other speeches delivered in the Time Warner Cable Arena at off-peak times.

But what probably matters most is that she was asked to speak at the football stadium in the first place.

"I'm not part of any establishment," Edwards said Tuesday when discussing the trajectory of her career. "That's not how I came in."

For this convention, though, it's how she came out.

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