By Richard D. Elliott
(UPPER MARLBORO – October 9, 2023) – Much is happening on the political front in Gorgeous Prince George’s County, MD – once hailed as the wealthiest Black jurisdiction in the country. Charles County is now declared as the wealthiest Black enclave in America. Nonetheless, with County Executive Angela Alsobrooks running for Senate and a couple of political giants in the county eyeing her seat, Prince George’s County politics is hot, hot, hot!
Maryland Dem Party Chair Yvette Lewis Steps Down
Yvette Lewis, who has served as Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party since December 2019, announced on September 27 that she was officially stepping down from the role on October 6. Everett Browning, who was previously the First Vice Chair, will likely serve as Party Chair for at least a month following her exit. Lewis previously served as Party Chair from 2011 to 2015.
“With gratitude in my heart, I write this letter to you, the people I admire and respect. I want you to know that I am stepping down as Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve in a position you all entrusted to me. And as I take a moment to reflect on my time as Chair, my heart is flooded with many warm memories that I will never forget,” she said in an email to Maryland Democrats announcing her plans. “Feeling your relentless, hopeful energy on the campaign trail at countless barbeques, backyard events, dinners, forums, meetings, rallies, and many other events across the state was an inspiration. Sharing the pain and anguish when Roe fell or when the other side won the day but coming together in those moments with a stronger resolve and resilience than ever before, is what kept me going.”
During her tenure, Maryland Democrats expanded their majorities in both houses of the legislature and elected a Democratic governor for the first time in eight years. She also touted over $11,000,000 in fundraising since beginning the position, growing the trustee program, and hosting panels on numerous political issues.
“Ever since Yvette’s first election in 2011, she has served as a trailblazer and represented our state on the national stage. As the current DNC National Committee member representing Maryland, she has routinely and successfully advocated for critical voter protections and increased Maryland voter participation through her “Shop Talk Programs” across the state,” said Congressman Steny Hoyer (D, District 5) in an email shortly after her retirement was announced.”
County Council Moves Virtual Voting To Final Vote
With eight Councilmembers supporting and three abstaining, the Prince George’s County Council advanced CR-78 out of committee on Tuesday, September 26, and moved it to a final vote before the Council. This proposal would allow virtual attendance and voting in the event of absence due to medical emergencies. Following a very contentious meeting that ended in a five-five tie on September 12, a large press conference was held where numerous community leaders indicated their support for virtual attendance, and a packed audience testified before the Council about why virtual attendance and maternal health are important issues for the Council.
Councilmembers Tom Dernoga (D, District 1), Eric Olson (D, District 3), Jolene Ivey (D, District 5), Wala Blegay (D, District 6), Krystal Oriadha (D, District 7), Edward Burroughs III (D, District 8), Calvin Hawkins (D, At Large) and Mel Franklin (D, At Large) all voted in favor of virtual attendance and participation. Ivey had missed the prior vote on virtual attendance due to illness. Councilman Hawkins gave a public apology for his prior comments during the meeting.
Councilmembers Wanika Fisher (D, District 2), Ingrid Harrison Watson (D, District 4), and Sydney Harrison (D, District 9) abstained from the vote. All three had previously voted against virtual voting.
Councilmember Krystal Oriadha (D, District 7) is eight months pregnant and has already faced medical complications during her pregnancy, which could leave the Council at an impasse on several issues and force her to attend meetings if virtual attendance is not approved.
Senate Debate Delayed, Dueling Endorsements Debuted
The Latino Democrats of Prince George’s County planned a debate among the three leading Senate candidates to be held at Elizabeth Seton High School, but the debate has been delayed to Sunday, December 3rd due to scheduling conflicts with Congressman Trone and County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. The debate will now coincide with the one-year anniversary of the club’s founding, and businessman Juan Dominguez will be invited to the forum.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) announced an endorsement from Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock (D) on September 30, while Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D, At Large) announced endorsements from Illinois congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D) and former Montgomery Councilmember At Large Hans Reimer.
Jawando also debuted his policy agenda, centered around the themes of prosperity, justice, opportunity, and dignity. His agenda includes proposals such as abolishing the Senate’s filibuster, establishing a federally guaranteed income program, incentivizing rent stabilization, Medicare for All, funding national Pre-K for All, and federally legalizing recreational marijuana.
“At the core of my campaign for the U.S. Senate is this commitment: to build a shared prosperity that lifts everybody up, no matter who you are or where you come from. Today I’m releasing a document outlining the policies that are central to delivering on that promise. At a time when insecurity and inequity have never been greater, America needs a bold vision for the future, and that’s what my agenda lays out,” said Jawando via email.
“As a campaign, we are focused on how we can best deliver for Marylanders in the years to come. This plan delivers for working families because they have delivered for Maryland for generations. We are also undoubtedly the most progressive and forward-looking campaign in this race.”
For more information about the Latino Democrats of Prince George’s County, visit their organizational website.