The Prince George’s County Executive elections will take place on Nov. 6, with the primary elections on June 26. The winner of the general election will succeed current County Executive Rushern Baker, who is limited to two terms and is currently running for governor. The county’s current state’s attorney, Angela Alsobrooks, was leading in fundraising in the county executive race as of January, according to The Washington Post.
There are 10 candidates in all, nine of whom are competing for the Democratic nomination. The Diamondback reached out to each candidate to learn more about their vision for the county.
Alsobrooks, 47, currently serves as Prince George’s County’s state’s attorney. She is running as a Democrat, and has lived in the county for her whole life. She received a degree in public policy from Duke University and completed her law degree at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Before she was elected as the county’s state’s attorney in 2010, Alsobrooks was appointed to be the county’s education liaison in 2002. In 2003, she was named the executive director of the county’s Revenue Authority. During her tenure as state’s attorney, the county’s violent crime rate has been halved. In that position, she also worked to develop programming for youth, including a truancy reduction initiative with local schools.
Alsobrooks said she wants to be county executive in order to “bring Prince George’s County to its highest and best potential,” in areas such as education, public safety policies, affordable housing and health care’ though she said education would be her number one priority. She said a key issue is that many conversations surrounding education in the county revolve around adults and their power in education, which at times overlooks the students.
“We need to have a renewed focus on children and what they need to learn, how we teach them best and how to support the teachers who stand in front of them,” she said.
A United States Air Force veteran, Bridges said he’s worked with Prince George’s County schools in various capacities over the last 20 years, including as a teacher, part-time administrator and in the division of information technology. He said his military leadership background and political knowledge will help put the county and school system “on pace to be more effective and efficient for everyone.”
Bridges, 56, was born in Mississippi and has lived in the county since 1994. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Mississippi Valley State University, and a master’s degree of science leadership from Grand Canyon University.
“Right now, we still have a separation of our people — whether we mean it or not, we still have haves and have-nots,” he said. “This county has the capacity to be the Silicon Valley of the East Coast,” he added.
Bridges, who is running as a Democrat, said his key platform items include making the working class feel more involved with the economy, bringing law enforcement closer to the community and maintaining accountability in all departments, including law enforcement and schools. He said not only does the county need more police officers, but local police need to do more to get to know the people they serve, especially children.
“If we can do that, children can see police as their neighbors and an asset to them and not just enforcement of the law,” he said.
Samuel Bogley III
Bogley, 76, is running as a Democrat.
He was the third lieutenant governor of Maryland from 1979 to 1983, serving under then-Governor Harry Hughes, but was dropped from the ticket in 1982 due to his anti-abortion stance. He said his previous public office experience and appointments include working on the Federal Merit System Protection Board, to which he was appointed by then-President Ronald Reagan. He also worked as a Prince George’s County councilmember from 1970 to 1978.
He said he has lived in the county for most of his life, in areas such as Landover, College Park, Riverdale and Bowie.
He wrote that the main pillars of his campaign include reducing the county’s tax burden, improving education and fixing transportation, as well as economic development issues.
“Tutors, using curricula developed by our home-schooling parents, could greatly enhance our high school students’ abilities to get good paying jobs that lead to lifetime careers,” he wrote in an email.
When asked what separates him from the other candidates in the race, Bogley wrote: “Been there, done that.”
“I want the job, but don’t need the job,” he added.
Edwards, 59, became the first black woman to represent Maryland in Congress in 2008, where she served for eight and a half years.
She was born in North Carolina and has lived in Prince George’s County for 35 years.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and a law degree from the University of New Hampshire.
Edwards, who is running as a Democrat, said one of her main focuses as county executive would be to establish and fortify the county’s innovation economy.
She cited the University of Maryland, Goddard Space Flight Center and Bowie State University as examples of local resources that aren’t being utilized to their full potential.
Responsible, sustainable development that doesn’t leave out certain communities is another principle of her campaign, she said, as well as building an education system that better prepares young people to contribute to the economy or go to college.
Edwards said the county needs more transparency among its elected officials to ensure they are not being influenced by wealthy donors.
“We’ve had a history in this county of developers having an ugly influence on the kind of development we have, where the development takes place,” Edwards said.
“Frankly, there’s been a lot of trading money above and under the table which has resulted in very bad decision making,” she said.
In March, Michael Vaughn, a former state delegate who represented the county, was convicted on bribery and conspiracy charges.
Edwards said she will not take any money from real estate developers over the course of her campaign as a result.
“I want to run my campaign the way I want to run government, clean and free from influence,” Edwards said.
Johnson, 66, described himself as a “freshman” in politics, as the bulk of his political exposure comes from working for the United States Government Publishing Office for 34 years.
One of his roles within the office involved working on Capitol Hill, where he was responsible for delivering congressional records and other materials. Here, Johnson said, he became familiar with politics and met congressmen and senators.
“That stirred up my curiosity about politics, but it took me a long time to realize I want to run for office,” he said.
Johnson, who is running as a Democrat, was born in West Virginia and has lived in the county since 1971. He graduated from high school but did not attend college.
He said he thinks the county has a lot of potential but could be improved, especially in public safety, increased access to affordable housing for seniors and education. He said county schools require better-trained teachers and a system that is reflective of the needs of the community.
Johnson said that although he’s inexperienced, he is willing to do whatever it takes to do what is best for Prince George’s County.
“I’m not saying anything negative about these other candidates, they are well qualified and experienced,” Johnson said. “But I can be just as good as anybody else if I have a chance to be voted into this office.”
Kennedy, who is running as a Democrat, was born in Washington, D.C., and is addressing issues of education and development in his campaign.
Kennedy’s website, which is listed on the state board of elections website, contains offensive comments about multiple groups, including Jewish people and women.
He did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Mathis is a former educator and a military veteran. After leaving active military service, he began working in real estate, eventually opening his own real estate company in 1994. He ran for the Maryland state Senate in 2014 but lost to fellow county executive candidate Anthony Muse in the Democratic primary.
Mathis, 65, was born in Washington, D.C., and moved to the county in 1980. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bowie State University, and his master’s degree at Webster University and is the only candidate running as a Republican.
Mathis said he didn’t want to run as a Republican originally, but desires to establish a two-party system in a county that has traditionally been controlled by Democrats. He said the core principles of his campaign include improving education and public safety, as well as prioritizing the county’s senior citizens.
Mathis said he wants to return to an elected school board system that gives the county executive less power. He said the county also needs to make sure high school seniors are actually prepared to graduate.
“We’re making the economics of this county and job situation worse by putting people that are not educated into the workforce,” he said.
Monteiro, 37, is a former Obama administration official who has lived in the county for nearly all his life. He attended high school within the county and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a law degree from Howard University, where he currently serves as chief of staff to the president.
Monteiro, who is running as a Democrat, worked in Barack Obama’s Senate office on Capitol Hill, and in 2008 began working in Chicago for Obama’s presidential campaign. He held various positions within the Obama Administration, including associate director with the Office of Public Engagement, as well as a youth liaison for the administration, and director of AmeriCorps VISTA, which he described as a domestic version of the Peace Corps.
He said these positions allowed him to see the best types of assistance for people challenged with poverty, hunger and reintegration into society following incarceration.
“This is the job where you can actually set a vision for where this county should go, and then be a model for so many others,” he said. “We’re one of the richest counties in America — we should be leading the way. In many ways we’re not leading the way or following the lead of other places.”
Muse, 59, is currently serving his third term in the Maryland state Senate. He was born in Baltimore and has lived in the county for 33 years. He is running as a Democrat, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University, as well as a doctorate from Howard University.
Muse was elected as a state delegate in 1994 and as a state senator in 2006. He ran for county executive unsuccessfully in 2002, and said he’s running again because he thinks there is “failed leadership” in the county, especially in areas such as economic development, affordable housing and the local school system.
He said the county needs to return to a system where school board members are elected rather than appointed by the county executive, filing legislation to do so in the House of Delegates in 2018 with the Prince George’s County Delegation.
“We’ve taken education and put it out of the hands of the public and put it in the hands of a few developers,” Muse said, highlighting grade fixing and graduates who are unprepared for the workforce, as other problems he sees with the school system.
As someone who was kicked out of three different school systems, Muse said he knows what it’s like to struggle through school.
“Education made the difference for me, and I want our young people to have a shot at life, and we’re not doing it,” he said.
Thompson, 59, was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Crossland High School in the county. He is running as a Democrat and received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Strayer University.
Thompson has no experience in elected office, but thinks the county is ready for a new perspective and “paradigm shift” away from electing traditional politicians. He is the former director of the county’s Department of Housing and Community Development. He currently serves as the president of Bazilio Cobb Associates, a firm that offers accounting, audit and tax counseling services.
He holds an “education-first” mindset but said his priorities as county executive would also include economic development and increasing the quality of life for all residents, no matter where they live in the county. Thompson said county schools must lower class sizes and increase teacher pay to get back on track.
“From the principal down the janitor, everybody’s job is going to be excellence in education,” he said. “Children are very, very important to our future. We need to make sure we put them as our centerpiece.”
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article incorrectly referred to one of the candidates as “James Mathis.” His name is Jerry Mathis. The article has been updated.