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African American Voters Worry Gridlock Could Snarl New Congress

In this 7 Oct 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama greets people after speaking at a campaign rally for Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md.

Turnout among African American voters in this year's election was smaller than during the presidential election two years ago. But black voters - the nation's largest minority voting bloc - did have an impact on key races in some states. Some African Americans who cast their ballots in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic state of Maryland have strong opinions about the election.

Turnout was noticeably smaller among African American voters than two years ago. In Maryland, Democratic voter Les Whitaker expressed frustration over a looming battle between President Obama and Republican lawmakers.

Les Whitaker, a Maryland voter, said, "I am very angry because the mood of the country, the Tea Party saying they want to take over, take America back. I am very angry because I think we should move forward just like the President said."

Percy Williams, who retired from the military, said he hopes Republicans will not try to dismantle President Obama's healthcare reform. "I hope he can get some more cooperation from the Republican side. It seems like everybody is giving him a hard time."

Many black voters said they're concerned about the nation's sluggish economy. Lena Davis is facing the prospect of losing her home to foreclosure. She wants President Obama and lawmakers to solve the crisis.

"I am hoping that Congress, whoever those people are, will just get together, and if there's money for us I would like them to grant it to us," said Davis. "And then a whole lot of people will not have this foreclosure problem and be put out of their homes."

Julia Gafney, a school teacher, voted for candidates who support education reforms. "There is a move in the country for education reform and ultimately that links us to the economy because if we don't have people that are prepared to take jobs and create jobs then we cannot move the economy forward anyway."

Other voters here worry about high unemployment in the black community.

"Bring the jobs back," said Reginald Crews, another Maryland voter. "We are consumers, we buy everything. We need to be able to make things. We need to be able to build things, bring jobs back to America."

In a small sampling of voters in this predominately African American and heavily Democratic Party district, they want the Congress and President Obama to be able to work together to solve the nation's most pressing problems.