Maryland Democrats running for the United States Senate illuminated their experiences and discussed hot-button topics ahead of the 2024 primary election during a forum Sunday hosted by the Latino Democrats of Prince George’s County.

The forum featured three candidates: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, U.S. Rep. David Trone and retired U.S. Army veteran Juan Dominguez. Candidates shared their views on healthcare, climate change, youth issues, disability issues and issues undocumented individuals face.

“This is democracy happening in front of us,” said Alberto Pimienta, a reporter for Noticiero Telemundo 44 and the master of ceremonies for the forum. “It’s very important … [to] know that in a lot of our home countries, events like this are not possible.”

In addition to Alsobrooks, Trone and Dominguez, four other Democrats have filed for candidacy for the Senate, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections. The race comes after Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) announced he will retire and not seek reelection.

In 2018, Alsobrooks made history as the first woman to assume the chief executive position in Prince George’s County. Prior to that, she served two terms as the county’s state’s attorney for Prince George’s County.
Her Senate campaign has emphasized access to affordable healthcare and housing, as well as putting resources toward public schools.

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“I believe we have too few in the Senate of the United States who live like, think like, or understand the daily cares and concerns of hard working families here in our state,” Alsobrooks said. “I will fight for you because the issues that are on your kitchen table are likewise on mine.”
Trone, who represents Maryland’s sixth congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, also emphasized his personal experience. He is looking to take his business skills and track record addressing addiction and mental health issues to the Senate, he said.
Trone is the co-owner of alcohol company Total Wine & More, which is valued at $2.4 billion according to Bloomberg.
“Age 28, start a new business. Succeeded, built a business from nothing. Over 12,000 team members in 28 states with 260 stores across this country,” Trone said. “I know how to get stuff done.”
Trone also co-founded and co-chairs a bipartisan mental health and substance use task force in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Trone and Alsobrooks have both garnered significant support across the state. The Maryland State Education Association, the statewide education employee union, endorsed Trone, and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore endorsed Alsobrooks.
Dominguez, a political newcomer and business executive, also discussed several of his campaign priorities, including fair living wages, healthcare for all, debt-free public college and universal Pre-K.
“Other than greed, there’s no reason we can’t accomplish these with effective leadership,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said that he would propose legislation to institute a progressive wealth tax if elected to a Senate seat.
In addition to general policy priorities, candidates also discussed issues relevant to the Latino community.

All the candidates expressed support for allowing undocumented individuals and non-citizens to vote, which they said would lend itself to more Latino leaders being elected.
“The Latino community in the country has been marginalized, left behind and in many cases left out, not having a seat at the table,” Trone said. “Latino communities got to have a seat at the table.”

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The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 prohibits non-citizens from participating in federal elections. But this restriction does not extend to elections at the state and local level, and since June, Washington, D.C., and municipalities in California, Maryland and Vermont permit noncitizens to vote in local elections.
“I affirmatively support what [Trone] mentioned with respect to giving those that don’t have a voice the right to vote. It is important for our diversity and representation,” Dominguez said.
Forum moderators also pointed out that immigrants without a social security number contribute millions of dollars in taxes annually but cannot legally participate in certain social assistance programs.
Alsobrooks has taken proactive steps to assist undocumented citizens in accessing additional benefits, she said. Alsobrooks said the county has funded programs to allow health insurance benefits for many in undocumented communities.
“Our country is a nation of immigrants who have contributed so significantly to every aspect of our community. In Prince George’s County, we have recognized this,” Alsobrooks said.
Trone also voiced his support for universal healthcare, saying it is a “human right.”

For Dominguez, this election is an opportunity to establish a more inclusive government, he said.

“This election is an opportunity for history to be made,” Dominguez said. “Together we can pave the way for more representative and inclusive government.”