Current Position: US Representative for MD District 7 since 2021
Vice Chair< House Committee on Small Business
Chair, Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure.
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Kweisi Mfume Discusses Special Election Primary Win In Maryland
Government Website – August 24, 2021 (Short)
Today, our nation took a big step towards equality with the United States House of Representatives passing H.R. 4 – The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021. This bill, among other things, will:
- Establish a nationwide preclearance requirement for jurisdictions that engage in certain kinds of proposed voter restrictions like stricter voter ID laws; and0
- Re-strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 following the U.S. Supreme Court Cases Shelby County v. Holder (2013) and Brnovich v. DNC (2021).
In the tradition of the great civil rights icon, the late United States Representative John R. Lewis, this bill combats the racially targeted voter laws that threaten our democratic system. An assault on our democracy is evident when state legislatures from Georgia to Texas and across our beloved land enact voter suppression laws that disenfranchise disadvantaged populations. I voted in favor of H.R. 4 because it ensures that all eligible voters across America can cast their vote in a free and fair election regardless of their race, social or economic status.
Our electoral journey is far from over, and though we may have come a long way with the help of folks like my friend John Lewis, we still have a long way to go. Let us be as steadfast as those marchers across the Edmund Pettus bridge in our vigilance for voting rights. We must urge the Senate to pass what the House has already marched through this Congress – the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021. American democracy demands that we do this.
Source: Government page
Representative Kweisi Mfume (pronounced Kwah-EE-see Oom-FOO-may), proudly serves the residents of Maryland’s 7th District, which includes Baltimore, Baltimore County and Howard County.
Mfume was born, raised and educated in the city of Baltimore. He attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland where as an honors student he graduated magna cum laude. He later returned there to join the staff as an adjunct professor teaching courses in Political Science and Communications. He was voted the University’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year.
By the age of thirty-one he won his first election to the Baltimore City Council. During his seven years of service in local government, he chaired the City Council’s Committee on Health Policy and led the efforts to diversify city government, improve community safety, enhance business development and divest city funds from the then apartheid government of South Africa. He enrolled in and graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 1984, earning a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in International Studies.
At the age of thirty-eight, he was decisively elected to the United States Congress to represent Maryland’s 7th District, a seat that he would hold for the next decade during the terms of Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton. As a member of the House of Representatives, Congressman Mfume was served on several committees. He served on the Banking and Financial Services Committee and held the ranking seat on the General Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. He also served as a member of the Committee on Education and helped to impact commerce and industry matters as a senior member of the Small Business Committee. While in his third term, he was chosen by the Speaker of the House to serve on the Ethics Committee and the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate where he was later elected Chairman.
Congressman Mfume consistently advocated landmark business and civil rights legislation. He successfully co-sponsored and helped to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act, strengthened the Equal Credit Opportunity Law and co-authored and successfully amended the Civil Rights Bill of 1991 to apply its provisions to U.S. citizens working for American-based companies abroad. He also sponsored legislative initiatives banning assault weapons and establishing stalking as a federal crime.
Congressman Mfume served as both Vice-Chair and later Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was regularly designated to preside as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives. During his fifth term in office, he was appointed by his Caucus as Vice-Chairman for Communications.
Kweisi Mfume left his Congressional seat in 1996 to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP. During his nine years with the organization, he significantly raised the national profile of the NAACP while helping to restore its prominence among the nation’s civil rights organizations. Throughout his tenure he helped establish 75 new college-based NAACP chapters across the nation. In 2000, Mfume worked to negotiate, develop and author the first ever signed Network Television Diversity Agreements with NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox. In 2003, he helped negotiate for and successfully secured the NAACP’s official United Nations’ Status as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).
Return to Congress
Mfume was sworn-in into the 116th U.S. Congress on May 5, 2020, after winning a special election to fill the remainder of the term after Congressman Elijah Cummings, the incumbent representative (and his friend of 42 years), died in office in October 2019. Mfume currently serves on the House Oversight Committee and the Small Business Committee.
Currently serves as Chairman of the Morgan State University Board of Regents
Vice-Chairman of the Board of Research America
Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees
Member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
Member of the Gamma Boulé Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity
Member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, 33° Prince Hall Affiliation Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America
Lifetime member of the Johns Hopkins and Morgan State University alumni associations.
Appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as a member on the National Advisory Council of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health.
Received a gubernatorial appointment to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture
Awards, Accolades & Other Achievements
Previously named “Marylander of the Year” by both the Baltimore Sun newspaper and Maryland Magazine
Recipient of the NAACP Image Award for national leadership
Received a Telly Award for the Television documentary “Ticket to Freedom.”
Performed in concert with opera soprano Kathleen Battle, and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Congressman Mfume is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Kweisi Mfume (/ / kwy-EE-see uum-FOO-may; born Frizzell Gerald Gray; October 24, 1948) is an American politician who is currently serving as the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 7th congressional district, first serving from 1987 to 1996, and again since 2020. A member of the Democratic Party, Mfume first left his seat to become the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a position he held from 1996 to 2004. In 2006, he ran for the U.S. Senate seat that was being vacated by Paul Sarbanes, narrowly losing the Democratic primary election to Ben Cardin. Mfume returned to his former House seat in 2020 after it was left vacant by the death of Elijah Cummings.
Early life and education
Mfume was born as Frizzell Gerald Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 24, 1948, the eldest of four. His father, a truck driver, abandoned his family in Gray’s youth. Upon the death of his mother, Mfume dropped out of high school at sixteen to begin working as many as three jobs at a time to support his three sisters. He also began hanging around on street corners, which included being in the company of gang members.
In his 1996 autobiography, No Free Ride, Mfume said that he “was locked up a couple of times on suspicion of theft because [he] happened to be black and happened to be young.” Speculation as to the degree of his entanglement with the law has varied, especially as he later came into prominence. He fathered five children with several different women during his difficult teenage years. He has since adopted one child as well.
In 1978, Mfume was elected to the Baltimore City Council, where he opposed mayor William Donald Schaefer, whom he accused of ignoring the poor neighborhoods of the city. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986.
U.S. House of Representatives (1987–1996)
Mfume made himself known as a Democrat with an apparent balance between strong progressive ideologies and a capacity for practical compromise, representing a district that included both West Baltimore and suburban and rural communities, though his primary goal was an increase in federal aid to American inner cities. In his fourth term he was made chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
In February 1996, Mfume left the House to accept the presidency of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), stating that he could do more to improve American civil rights there than in the Congress. He reformed the association’s finances to pay off its considerable debt while pursuing the cause of civil rights advancement for African Americans. Though many in Baltimore wanted Mfume to run for mayor in the 1999 election, he stayed with the NAACP.
Mfume stepped down from his position at the NAACP in 2004 after an internal investigation of allegations that he had sexually harassed female subordinates. Mfume acknowledged dating an NAACP employee,  and in May 2005, he apologized for having had the affair while leading the organization.
The NAACP reportedly paid out $100,000 to settle Mfume’s alleged improprieties.
2006 U.S. Senate campaign
On March 14, 2005, Mfume announced that he would seek the U.S. Senate seat of incumbent Paul Sarbanes, following the announcement by Sarbanes that he would not run for re-election in 2006. The Democratic primary for this seat was held on September 12, 2006, and Mfume lost the race to U.S. Representative Ben Cardin.
In the wake of his primary defeat, Mfume was believed to be considering running for mayor of Baltimore in 2007, though he had not publicly expressed interest in such a run. On November 13, 2006, Mfume told a Baltimore-area radio station that “I don’t have any plans to run for mayor. She [incoming mayor Sheila Dixon]’s worked for and deserves an opportunity to lead. … I want her to succeed. I want the city to be united. I think at this point we owe her at least the opportunity to try to lead it.”
In March 2010, Mfume was named chief executive officer of the National Medical Association (NMA). In late 2010, he was again rumored to be considering a run in the 2011 Baltimore mayoral election. He left the NMA in June 2011.
From mid-2013 to mid-2018, Mfume was the principal investigator for the Health Policy Research Consortium.
U.S. House of Representatives (2020–present)
On November 4, 2019, Mfume announced his candidacy for the special election for his old congressional seat to fill the vacancy created by the death of his successor, Elijah Cummings, in October. On February 4, 2020, Mfume won the Democratic nomination for his former seat, defeating Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of Elijah Cummings. As the 7th is a heavily Democratic, black-majority district, this all but assured Mfume’s return to Congress after a 24-year absence. He defeated Republican candidate Kimberly Klacik in the general election on April 28, 2020 and was sworn in on May 5, 2020.
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
- Committee on Small Business (Vice-Chair)
- United States House Committee on Education and Labor
- Witte, Brian; Cortez, Julio (April 29, 2020). “Ex-NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume wins Maryland seat in Congress”. Associated Press. Baltimore, MD. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
- Hall, Wiley (December 1, 2004). “NAACP president Mfume resigns”. The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
- “CNN.com – NAACP chief Mfume resigns – Nov 30, 2004”. CNN. November 30, 2004. Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
- “Our Campaigns – Candidate – Kweisi Mfume”. Our Campaigns. Archived from the original on December 17, 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
- “U.S. News Briefs”. CNN. February 20, 1996. Archived from the original on February 6, 2003. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
- Janofsky, Michael (May 25, 1999). “N.A.A.C.P. Chief Rules Out Running for Mayor of Baltimore”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
- Brewington, Kelly (May 8, 2005). “Pattern of abuse claims at NAACP kept quiet”. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
- Matthew Mosk; Cheryl W. Thompson (April 28, 2005). “Mfume Accused of Favoritism At NAACP”. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 17, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
Mfume acknowledged yesterday that he dated one of the women in that altercation, a female NAACP employee
- Nitkin, David (May 17, 2005). “Affair with staffer a mistake, Mfume says”. Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 11, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
has acknowledged having an affair with one of the women, D’Andrea Lancelin
- Brewington, Kelly (May 23, 2005). “Scandal at top of NAACP felt little by local organizations”. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
Though the allegations against Mfume prompted the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to reportedly pay a settlement of about $100,000 to a former female employee, many local leaders in the nation’s oldest civil rights organization say they are relieved that the public relations damage isn’t worse.
- “Civil Rights Leader Announces Bid For U.S. Senate”. WBAL-TV. March 14, 2005. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
- “Cardin beats Mfume in Maryland Senate race”. NBC News. September 13, 2006. Archived from the original on March 9, 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
- Donovan, Doug; Fritze, John (January 6, 2007). “Keiffer Mitchell to run for mayor”. The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
Many believed that the Bolton Hill resident was going to wait until former U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume decided whether to seek the office.
- Brown, Geoff; Iglehart, Ken; Rath, Molly; Weiss, Max (March 1, 2007). “Power 50”. Baltimore. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
Baltimore’s former congressman dominated the 2007 mayoral election into February—without so much as suggesting he wanted to run.
- Ginyard, Tiffany (March 25, 2010). “Kweisi Mfume to Head National Medical Association”. Afro.com. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
- Scharper, Julie (November 14, 2010). “Challengers emerge to Rawlings-Blake in 2011 mayor’s race”. The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
- Dale, Gregory (March 20, 2011). “Kweisi Mfume stepping down as CEO of National Medical Association”. The Philadelphia Sun. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
- Rector, Kevin (May 9, 2013). “Mfume named chair of Morgan State board, signals Wilson will stay”. The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
- Bowman, Bridget (April 29, 2014). “Mfume Brings Dose of Activism to Health Policy”. Roll Call. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
- Young, Blair (November 4, 2019). “Kweisi Mfume announces candidacy for District 7 seat”. WBAL-TV. Archived from the original on November 4, 2019. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
- Barker, Jeff (February 4, 2020). “Kweisi Mfume wins Democratic nomination for Maryland’s 7th District”. The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on February 5, 2020. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- Barker, Jeff; Opilo, Emily (May 5, 2020). “Just sworn in, U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume says he’ll ‘have a conversation’ with late friend Elijah Cummings”. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
- “Official alphabetical List of the House of Representatives of the United States – One Hundred Seventeenth Congress” (PDF). clerk.house.gov. Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
- “Membership”. cbc.house.gov. Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
- “Famous Prince Hall Freemasons”. freemasonry.bcy.ca. Archived from the original on January 15, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
- Portnoy, Jenna (January 17, 2020). “Mfume says he still has what it takes to continue Elijah Cummings’s legacy”. The Washington Post. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
Source: Government page
Congressman Kweisi Mfume is the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Small Business where he also serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure. The Congressman is also a member of the House Committee on Oversight & Reform and the House Education & Labor Committee.