Being an effective legislator requires more than listening to your constituents. It also means getting bills passed into law. Even the brightest, most dedicated congressperson (and both Edwards and Van Hollen have razor-sharp intellects) needs to build teams within his or her own caucus and work well with representatives from the opposing party. If history is any indication, it would be hard for Edwards to seek common ground with Senate Republicans, should she succeed Mikulski. On the other hand, Van Hollen has a history of successes in building bipartisan coalitions: He worked with Republicans representing states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to get historic funding for agricultural conservation. He was also a key figure in forming the bipartisan coalition that got the ABLE act passed to create tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities, and his work to improve federal whistleblower protection made it easier to report waste and abuse without fear of reprisals.