Albert Wynn won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, in an affluent, predominantly African–American district in suburban Maryland. With a decade of service in the state legislature, Wynn quickly adapted to the U.S. House, eventually earning a seat on the prestigious Energy and Commerce Committee and moving into the hierarchy of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
Albert Russell Wynn was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 1951. His family moved to North Carolina, where his father, Albert Fitzgerald Wynn, farmed and his mother, Rose Russell Wynn, taught school.1 When his father was hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the family moved to a suburb of Washington, DC, where Wynn attended the public schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In 1973, Wynn graduated with a bachelor of science degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh. He briefly studied public administration at Howard University in Washington, DC, before entering Georgetown University and earning a law degree in 1977. Wynn later served as director of the Prince George’s consumer protection commission. After opening his own law firm in 1982, Wynn won election to the Maryland house of delegates, where he served from 1983 to 1987. He was then elected to the Maryland state senate, serving there until 1993 and rising to the post of deputy majority whip. Wynn is married to Gaines Clore Wynn, an artist and art educator. They have two daughters, Meredith and Gabrielle, and a grandson, Kaden Nicholas.
Following the 1990 Census, the Maryland state legislature created a new congressional district that encompassed sections of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties inside the Capital Beltway along the border of the District of Columbia. In the 1970s and 1980s, Prince George’s County had become increasingly African American as blacks from Washington, DC, moved to the suburbs. Prince George’s County was home to a large group of middle– to upper–middle–class African Americans, many of whom were federal workers, and blacks accounted for 58 percent of the heavily Democratic district. In the March 3, 1992, Democratic primary, Wynn garnered 28 percent of the vote, defeating his closest opponent, Prince George’s County’s State’s Attorney Alex Williams, by several percentage points—in large measure because he performed better than Williams in the Montgomery County sections of the district.2 Wynn easily prevailed in the general election, claiming 75 percent of the vote against Republican candidate Michele Dyson, an African–American business consultant. In his subsequent seven re–election bids, Wynn won with pluralities of 75 percent or more (he received 87 percent of the vote in 1998).3
When Wynn took his seat in the House on January 5, 1993, he received assignments on three committees: Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs (later named Financial Services), Foreign Affairs, and post Office and Civil Service. In the 105th Congress (1997–1999) Representative Wynn accepted a post on the prestigious Commerce Committee (later named Energy and Commerce), requiring him to yield his prior assignments. In the 110th Congress (2007–2009) he was appointed chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials. From 2002 until 2007, Wynn chaired the CBC’s political Action Committee and Minority Business Task Force. He headed the CBC task forces on campaign finance reform and minority business and served as a Senior and Regional Whip.4
Wynn’s district was home to more federal workers (70,000) than any other district in the country. In addition, a number of small businesses in Wynn’s district contracted with federal agencies. Much of his legislative agenda focused on issues affecting that constituency; for instance, Wynn was a leading advocate for the protection of federal salaries and pensions as well as for the creation of more federal contracts for minority businesses and small businesses. Wynn was also focused on bringing federal dollars into the district for transportation and infrastructure projects.5
Reapportionment after the 2000 Census pulled several heavily Democratic sections out of Wynn’s district and added more conservative locales in the suburbs of Montgomery County. In 2006, Wynn faced a stiff primary challenge from Donna F. Edwards, a lawyer and non–profit director. He prevailed by three percentage points (roughly 3,000 votes).6 Nevertheless, in the general election, Representative Wynn won re–election, with 80 percent of the vote, against Republican challenger Michael Moshe Starkman. In a 2008 Democratic primary rematch, Edwards defeated Wynn with 60 percent of the vote.7 Wynn resigned from the House on May 31, 2008.
View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
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