Four citizens from Maryland hope to derail Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ plan to secure a second four-year term.
Leigh Bodden, Sherman Hardy, Tonya Sweat and Billy Bridges will try to convince Democratic voters during early voting, July 7 – July 14 and on primary Election Day, July 19.
Bridges fell short in his bid for county executive in 2018 while the remaining three candidates represent political newcomers. However, they all believe they can effectively lead the executive branch of the county government.
Some of the executive duties include: preparing a billion-dollar budget; overseeing the operation of county agencies; and serving as the county’s biggest cheerleader in the state of Maryland’s second-largest jurisdiction.
Aneka Better of Upper Marlboro attended a recent county executive candidate’s forum in Largo and said Alsobrooks came prepared to assess the county’s successes. But Better said all of the candidates mainly spoke about opportunities for parents or senior citizens.
“I’m in neither category,” said Better, who’s married with no children, works as a meeting planner and manages a consulting business with her sister called Serendipity Special Events.
“I make too much money to get government assistance,” she said. “I make too much money to get education credit that phases out for people like me but I don’t make enough money to qualify for [certain] tax breaks. Some of us are kind of stuck in the middle. That’s the kind of leadership I’m looking for in this county to help those of us in that category.”
As of Friday, June 24, the county had 463,336 active Democratic voters, which accounts for the highest percentage of voters in that party in Maryland.
In comparison, there are 37,450 Republicans and almost 86,000 unaffiliated active voters in the county.
No Republican, independent or third-party candidates filed to run in the primary, so the person who receives the Democratic nomination could run unopposed in the November general election.
Alsobrooks, Bodden, Hardy and Sweat emailed responses to four questions about their platform, issued by The Washington Informer. Here are their responses.
Occupation: Prince George’s County Executive
Why are you seeking reelection for county executive?
“As a proud, lifelong Prince Georgian, I’m seeking re-election as County Executive so we can continue the tremendous progress we have made in the past three and a half years, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We broke ground on nine new schools last year, we just opened the County’s first behavioral health facility and we opened the Office of Veterans Affairs to serve our 60,000 veterans. There is still work to be done and the best is yet to come for Prince George’s. I want to be sure we can continue to go “Further Together” for our residents.”
What are a few things the county must improve upon?
“While we have made progress building a continuum of care in the County, including opening a new hospital and breaking ground on a new cancer center, we know we still have to further expand access to healthcare for our residents. We’ve also made progress to improve government services for residents, including the launch of a new PGC311 mobile app. However, we know we can further expand government services available to our residents. Finally, we continue to face a regional and national rise in violent crime and we must continue investing resources to heal people and also hold people accountable.”
How will your administration help residents with the most severe needs such as returning citizens or those unemployed?
“My Administration has increased resources available to residents in both areas. In the most recent budget, we allocated additional funding for re-entry services to support returning citizens. We have also created the Office of Re-Entry in County Government, based out of the County Executive’s Office, while also hosting job fairs focused on returning citizens. Our local economy is bouncing back and we will regain all the jobs we lost by the end of this year, ahead of initial predictions. We also opened a new American Job Center at National Harbor which helps connect residents with job training and employment opportunities.”
Is there one characteristic that makes you the most qualified to manage a county of nearly one million people?
“I’m not afraid to make tough decisions that are in the best interest of Prince Georgians and I have shown that throughout my first term as County Executive. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Prince George’s County was the first jurisdiction to have a mask mandate because I issued an Executive Order. After the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent social justice movement, I created a Police Reform Work Group to tackle the issue of police reform. I love Prince George’s and the residents of this amazing County. I will always stand up and do what’s right for my hometown.”
This article was written by the Washington Informer, read the full article here.
Photo: Angela Alsobrooks (Courtesy photo)