More than 1,000 people turned out to hear U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-7th, formally announced his bid for re-election at a $40 per ticket fund-raiser at Martin's West in Woodlawn.
"Send me back down the road 40 miles for one more term," Mfume told the crowd last night.
U.S. Rep. Ronald V. Dellums, D-Calif., attended the fund-raiser, but the Rev. Jesse Jackson was unable to be present.
The party primary elections are scheduled for March 3, 1992, and the general election in November.
Last year, Mfume won 85 percent of the vote, the highest percentage in a Maryland congressional race.
He has benefited from the recent battle over congressional redistricting. The new 7th District boundaries give him 100,000 new constituents, making up for population lost in the past decade. The district remains overwhelmingly black and Democratic.
The time has come for rebuilding the country, employing the unemployed, and caring for the elderly, the poor and the homeless, Mfume said.
"We are told by our president that as a people we have more will than wallet, but we don't question the will, but we do question the wallet," he said, adding:
"We found money for the S&Ls and the B-2 bomber. We found money for the Afghan rebels and the Kurdish rebels. We found money again to send advisers . . . to the Soviet Union and the fledging democracies.
"Well, we've got some fledgling democracies of our own and they need help They are called Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Houston and Los Angeles."
In his speech, special guest Dellums encouraged those gathered to re-elect Mfume, 43, because he represents the underprivileged and the disenfranchised.
Dellums said the nation has chosen to spend billions on its military budget and other countries rather than concentrating on domestic issues.
As the Berlin Wall and other symbols of communism continue to fall, 15 million children and 14 million blacks live in poverty in the U.S., and 37 million Americans have no health care, for example, Dellums said.
"If the Communists can't even get elected in Russia, then why do we need to spend $300 billion a year chasing communism," Dellums asked. "We need to solve the problems of this country."
"I come here to say to you send him back to the Congress of the United States," Dellums said. "At a time when too many politicians lack the courage and lack the will, send the person who has the courage and who has the will."
Mfume succeeded retiring Rep. Parren J. Mitchell, who was Maryland's first black congressman.
Mfume and Dellums said that President Bush lacks leadership qualities.
"He's a paint-by-the-numbers president, who paints a little blue over here and a little red over there, but has no mental picture of what he's painting and has no plan for our nation," Mfume said.