Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III gives his sixth State of the Economy address before hundreds of business leaders, state, county and municipal officials at the Colony South Hotel in Clinton on May 3. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III gives his sixth State of the Economy address before hundreds of business leaders, state, county and municipal officials at the Colony South Hotel in Clinton on May 3. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Prince George’s County Rushern L. Baker III touted in his sixth State of the Economy address Wednesday how the jurisdiction has become an economic force in the Washington metropolitan region.

According to a 2016 fiscal year Maryland tourism report, the county brought in the most admission and amusement taxes at $16.6 million, thanks to Six Flags America, Gaylord National Resort and FedEx Field, which houses the Washington Redskins.

Since 2013, the county produced 15,000 jobs, a figure that doesn’t include more than 3,600 jobs at the MGM National Harbor casino resort that opened in December.

“It made me feel good to see that we are on right track,” he said. “We are impacting lives and families. We are creating a climate of economic development in Prince George’s County.”

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III takes a picture with Theresa Nam, president of KL USA of College Park, at the Colony South Hotel in Clinton, where Baker gave his sixth State of the Economy address on May 3. Nam relocated to the county from South Korea in October to open a small business that manufactures capacitors. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Before the nearly 500 businesses leaders, state, county and municipal officials who registered to hear Baker speak at the Colony South Hotel in Clinton, attendees got to see about 30 people stand on Surratts Road and take pictures of Calvin Hawkins.

Hawkins, a senior adviser to Baker, plans to run for one of the two at-large seats on County Council voters approved in the November election. The council will expand from nine to 11.

Hawkins could face a few challengers in the June 2018 primary from several current council members whose terms expire next year, including Mel Franklin (D-District 9) of Upper Marlboro and Obie Patterson (D-District 8) of Fort Washington.

Back inside the conference room, the county’s top cheerleader, Economic Development Corp. President Jim Coleman, told attendees that one reason businesses should relocate to the county is the school system and how it compares to neighboring jurisdictions. Prince George’s graduation rate reached 81 percent in the 2015-16 school year, compared to 69 percent in the District.

Additionally, the county’s median household income of nearly $77,000 had its highest increase since 2010.

But in order to achieve economic stability, Baker praised the EDCs program to bring returning citizens back to the workforce with 516 receiving assistance at the agency’s career center.

“If you had paid your time and have shown you will not be a repeat offender, there is opportunity for you here in Prince George’s County,” he said. “It really changes the whole dynamic of family.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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