With less than three months left before the July 19 primary election, Maryland Comptroller and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Franchot traveled to Prince George’s County to persuade voters that his experience makes him the top choice.
The 74-year-old politician, elected in 2006 to help oversee the state’s finances, summarized some of the work his office has conducted, including a AAA-bond rating, a pension for public employees and extending the deadline to file taxes for three years in a row.
“If you think that’s significant, it is nothing compared to what Monique [Anderson-Walker] and I can do if we’re elected your next governor and lieutenant governor,” Franchot said. “I’m all set to excite people. I don’t answer to anybody. I’m not under anyone’s thumb. We’re going to do the right thing for the state of Maryland.”
Franchot outlined some of his campaign pledges on a warm, sunny day Saturday, April 23 at Tucker Road Athletic Complex in Fort Washington. He and his running mate Anderson-Walker have pledged to do the following in their 100 days in office:
- Repair potholes on every state road.
- Pick up trash on every state road.
- Ensure all state agencies answer the telephone within 60 seconds “to a live, friendly professional voice.”
He has also proposed to set up health care community clinics no more than a 15-minute drive in rural areas and no more than a 15-minute walk in urban areas.
“I’m going to be coach Franchot – eat less and walk more,” he said.
The rally took place in Anderson-Walker’s backyard in the area known as “South County” which she represented on County Council from December 2018 to November 2021. She made local history as the first African-American woman to represent council’s District 8 and seeks to achieve another first as the state’s lieutenant governor.
Prior to Saturday’s rally, Anderson-Walker chatted with Darlene Kelly and Jennifer Pew after they finished a seven-mile trek on a walking trail at the complex.
Both women from Clinton still haven’t decided who they will choose for governor.
“We were just walking to our cars and happened to see her,” Kelly said. “She’s a very good candidate but everybody talks about what they are going to do. I’m going to do my research and see what [all the candidates] are about.”
Pew said she hopes the next governor will focus on promoting health and wellness such as healthier food options for residents. The majority Black jurisdiction leads the state of Maryland in heart disease and highest diagnoses of four types of cancers: lung, breast, colorectal and prostate.
“I have a sick husband that I’m a caregiver for,” said Pew, who added her husband suffered a major stroke. “He walks with a walker in very short steps. Health and wellness is very important to me.”
Prior to joining County Council, Anderson-Walker advocated for state legislation to support the health and wellness of children as a member of The Maryland Links Prince George’s County chapter.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic last year, she helped leverage a partnership in her district with Greater Baden Medical Services, Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center and Allentown and MECMO pharmacies. Residents in need of financial assistance who suffer a chronic illness or are diagnosed with COVID-19 can receive discounts on prescription medicine.
“Health and wellness has long been a focus of mine even before I became elected four years ago,” she said during an interview. “There’s a recognition that if you’re in poor health and you’re poorly educated, you’re not going to be on the trajectory to be on the path to the middle class. We want everybody to have access to this pathway to the middle class.”
Several Prince George’s supporters attended Saturday’s rally including: Dels. Marvin Holmes (D-District 23-B), Darryl Barnes (D-District 25), Veronica Turner (D-District 26) and County Council member Edward Burroughs III (D-District 8).
The recent endorsement from a labor union representative with 40,000 members in the Mid-Atlantic region presented a strong message for the more than dozen candidates seeking the governor’s seat.
“This is no time for amateurs. It’s not time for people to try out for a new job,” said Dennis Martire, LiUNA vice president and Mid-Atlantic regional manager.
“The other jokers that are in this race just want to build their resume. They’re not building Maryland. They’re not building working families. [Franchot] is in for the right reasons. He and Monique make a great ticket,” he said