Bowie Mayor Tim Adams (Courtesy of Tim Adams for Comptroller)
Bowie Mayor Tim Adams (Courtesy of Tim Adams for Comptroller)

Maryland Democratic candidates for comptroller presented their platforms virtually to improve the statewide office before a major voting bloc: Prince George’s County voters.

Bowie Mayor Tim Adams and Del. Brooke Lierman (D-Baltimore City) participated in a candidate’s forum Tuesday, March 22 hosted by the Prince George’s Young Men’s Democratic Club.

Both candidates seek to make history. Lierman is vying to become the first woman to the position, while Adams seeks to become the first African American after being elected as Bowie’s first Black mayor in 2019.

But they must receive votes from fellow Democrats in the July 19 primary election that includes Prince George’s voters, which has the most registered Democrats in the state.

Del. Brooke Lierman (D-Baltimore City) (Courtesy photo)

One question posed during the nearly one-hour discussion asked how each candidate would manage the comptroller’s office, especially when trying to speak with a person to get a tax refund.

Lierman, who has represented Baltimore’s 46th District since 2015, said the office should be adequately staffed to pay employees sufficient wages led by a “taxpayer advocate office.”

“There should be more automated alerts so that if it has gone too long and somebody hasn’t [received] a response, that the comptroller’s office internally is seeing that and counting down the clock and can check that in quickly,” she said.

Besides representing the largest municipality in Prince George’s, Adams owns a company called Systems Application & Technologies, Inc. (SA-TECH) of Upper Marlboro. His company of more than 600 employees and annual revenues of nearly $100 million provides technology, engineering and other support services for the defense industry.

“We really need to have the executive experience to understand how to make organizations truly run,” he said. “Running an organization and legislating are two important things, but very different.”

Besides working as the state’s tax collector, the comptroller also serves alongside the governor and state treasurer on the Maryland Board of Public Works, which approves millions of dollars on government contracts and other spending.

The comptroller’s office also encompasses the Bureau of Revenue Estimates, with one of its jobs to provide fiscal analysis on the state budget for the governor and legislature.

Comptroller Peter Franchot, who’s held the position since 2007, seeks the Democratic nomination for governor from among nine other candidates. The second, four-year term for Gov. Larry Hogan expires in January.

During the forum, former school board Belinda Queen, now running to represent District 6 on County Council, asked if the candidates would ensure county residents work at the local comptroller’s office.

Both candidates said yes.

“We need to make sure in our areas, we have greater outreach to all of our constituents,” Adams said.

Phillippa Johnston, a community activist who resides at Cameron Grove in Upper Marlboro, asked Lierman’s experience in managing complex organizations.

The state delegate summarized her work as a development director for a nonprofit organization 20 years ago that’s still in existence, statewide advocacy on various pieces of legislation and her current job as a civil rights and disabilities attorney.

“I will be able to lead and bring people together to build a team that can get things done for the people of Maryland in the comptroller’s office,” Lierman said.

The winner who receives the Democratic nomination could face a Republican challenger.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman represents the only GOP member who filed paperwork to seek the office. He seeks to become the first Republican elected comptroller in 100 years.

Trina Brown, the Prince George’s Young Men’s Democratic Club’s first Black female president, had a message for the more than four dozen people listening via Zoom.

“Whoever you vote for, it’s important to vote. It’s a very important election year,” she said. “Make sure your family members are registered to vote. Your vote counts and it matters.”

Maryland Board of Elections released a statement that early voting in the primary election will be July 7-14. The new deadline to request a mail-in ballot will be July 12.

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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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