PoliticsPrince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

As Candidates File For State Seats, Many Voters Unaware of Process and Issues

LaTasha Ward has put in work as a community activist, served as a member of the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee and managed a campaign last year for a defense attorney to become elected a circuit court judge.

But one goal she hopes to obtain after a previous failure in 2018: Maryland state delegate.

LaTasha Ward filed for candidacy to represent the 24th legislative district. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

Ward plans to seek one of the three seats to represent the 24th legislative district in Prince George’s that includes Glenarden, Largo and Springdale. And in addition to close friends and family, she has one influential supporter.

“I am supporting LaTasha because she’s always in the community and is about the community,” former Del. Carolyn J. B. Howard said at Ward’s campaign kickoff Friday, Oct. 22 in Glenarden. “She is right for the community.”

Ward counts among several Prince George’s residents who filed as candidates to become first-time state delegates in Annapolis. Others include Monica Roebuck of Bowie to represent District 23A and Kym Taylor, also of Bowie, to represent District 23B.

Monica Roebuck filed for candidacy to represent legislative district 23A. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)
Monica Roebuck filed for candidacy to represent legislative district 23A. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

“I want to be an advocate for the people and bring positive change. I have my priorities, but I have to find out what the priorities are for the people,” said Roebuck, a Prince George’s public school educator and former member of the county’s Board of Elections. “We also must educate people about the government process because policies help change lives.”

Unfortunately, some people aren’t familiar with the legislative process, who’s running for office or the basics of state government.

State law requires all 141 delegates and 47 senators run for four-year terms at the same time representing municipalities and neighborhoods within one of the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. About 23 delegates and eight senators represent all or portions of Prince George’s.

State lawmakers meet in Annapolis for a 90-day session between mid-January and mid-April,  passing laws that focus on health care, education and whether a jurisdiction can post speed cameras along certain roads.

Mileah Kromer, a political science professor at Goucher College in Baltimore County, Maryland, said there remains a lack of understanding of how the government’s structure and processes work.

The first place to start teaching about civics: elementary school.

“The most important policymaking that influences your everyday lives – the funding of your school, your commute time, your police forces – all those things are state-level decisions,” said Kromer, who’s the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at the College. “It should be a lifelong process.”

As of Monday, Oct. 25, nearly two dozen people have filed their paperwork with the state Board of Elections to represent Prince George’s. Here are some of the people seeking delegate and state senate seats with the primary election eight months away on June 28. Neither delegates or state senators are subjected to term limits.

House of Delegates

District 21

Representing parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties. The municipalities and neighborhoods in Prince George’s include Beltsville, College Park and parts of Laurel. All three incumbents filed and they are Dels. Ben Barnes, Mary Lehman and Joseline Peña-Melnyk.

District 22

The district includes Greenbelt, New Carrollton and Seabrook. Chiquita Jackson remains the only person who filed. The three incumbents are Dels. Anne Healey, Alonzo Washington and Nicole Williams.

District 23A

The district includes parts of Bowie, Laurel and Upper Marlboro. Roebuck represents the only person who filed in this district. Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith is the incumbent.

District 23B

Kym Taylor filed for candidacy to represent legislative district 23B. (Robert R Roberts/The Washington Informer)
Kym Taylor filed for candidacy to represent legislative district 23B. (Robert R Roberts/The Washington Informer)

Two delegates represent this district that includes parts of Bowie and Upper Marlboro. Besides Taylor, three other people filed in this district who include Del. Marvin Holmes and Jocelyne Irene Collins and Remi Duyile. Cheryl Landis, former chair of the Prince George’s Democratic Central Committee, became appointed this month after then-Del. Ron Watson received an appointment to the state Senate.

District 24

Ward and incumbents Jazz Lewis and Andrea Fletcher Harrison have filed. Richard DeShay Elliott represents the fourth person to file for one of three seats. Former Del. Erek Barron received confirmation Aug. 30 from the U.S. Senate to become Maryland’s first Black U.S. attorney for Maryland.

District 25

No one filed in this district which includes Forestville, Joint Base Andrews and parts of Upper Marlboro. The three incumbents are Dels. Darryl Barnes, Nick Charles and Dereck E. Davis.

District 26

Kendall Wade of Fort Washington represents the only person to file so far in this district that includes Accokeek, Fort Washington and National Harbor. The incumbents are Dels. Veronica Turner, Kris Valderrama and Jay Walker.

District 27A – No one filed in this district with the seat currently held by Susie Proctor of Accokeek. She represents portions of Charles and Prince George’s counties.

District 27B – No one filed in this represented by Rachel Jones of Calvert County, who became appointed in February to replace Sen. Michael Jackson. Jones represents parts of Calvert and Prince George’s counties.

District 47A

Incumbents Diana Fennell and Julian Ivey have filed in the district they represent that includes Bladensburg, Cheverly and Colmar Manor.

District 47B

The district represented by Del. Wanika Fisher includes portions of Hyattsville, Lewisdale and Langley Park. No one filed and the seat will be open next year because Fisher plans to run for County Council’s District 2.

State Senate

District 21 – Incumbent Jim Rosapepe of College Park filed for his candidacy in September.

District 22 – Rashad D. Lloyd filed in February to represent this district seat currently held by Sen. Paul Pinsky of University Park.

District 23 – Incumbent Ron Watson of Upper Marlboro filed for his candidacy in July.

District 24 – Incumbent Joanne C. Benson of Landover filed for her candidacy in July.

District 25 – Jonathan Edward Rosero filed in May to represent this district seat currently held by Sen. Melony Griffith of Upper Marlboro.

District 26 – No one filed in this district currently represented by Sen. Obie Patterson of Fort Washington.

District 27 – Sen Michael A. Jackson of Brandywine, who became appointed to replace the late Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller, filed for his candidacy Oct. 13. At least one potential challenger, Jason T. Fowler of Calvert County, filed Friday, Oct. 22.

District 47 – Incumbent Malcolm Augustine of Cheverly filed for his candidacy in June.

For more information on the state elections, go to www.elections.maryland.gov.

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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