Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (left) and Prince George's County Council member Monique Anderson-Walker, whom Franchot has chosen as his running mate in his gubernatorial bid (Courtesy of Franchot for Governor)

Before Maryland Comptroller and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Franchot finished his remarks during a gubernatorial candidate’s reception earlier this month, he said his running mate would be a Black woman.

Franchot made it official Wednesday with the selection of Prince George’s County Council member Monique Anderson-Walker.

If voters chose Franchot in the June 28 primary and in next year’s general election, Anderson-Walker would become the state’s first Black woman to serve lieutenant governor.

A meet-and-greet with the candidates will be held Saturday at Oxon Hill Manor.

“I am just delighted to say she is just going to be tremendous lieutenant governor,” Franchot, of Takoma Park in Montgomery County, said in an interview. “I don’t mean to be too sober, but if something bad happens to me, I can envision Monique … stepping in on one day and being experienced, battle-tested, competent, results-oriented, have the stature and good judgment to be the governor of the state, if necessary.”

Although both are Democrats and Franchot knows Anderson-Walker’s husband, Del. Jay Walker (D-District 26) of Fort Washington, through his work in Annapolis, Franchot said they both share a major goal.

“A common interest in downplaying empty, political rhetoric and overpromising on getting results for our fellow Marylanders and every day we’re going to try and improve their quality of life,” he said. “That’s the common thread between our relationship.”

Anderson-Walker has represented District 8 in the Prince George’s area known as South County since December 2018. The communities in the area that borders Washington, D.C., and is separated from Virginia by the Potomac River include Joint Base Andrews, Marlow Heights and National Harbor.

Before Anderson-Walker made county history to become the first Black woman to represent that region, she founded Fleur de Lis, a commercial real estate firm headquartered at National Harbor.

In her first year as a council member, she established the “#DrivingItHome” initiative to encourage safe driving throughout the county. The program focused partly on how state officials marked Route 210, or Indian Head Highway, in District 8 as the most dangerous road in Maryland because of vehicular crashes and deaths.

When the coronavirus pandemic gripped the D.C. region in March 2020, Anderson-Walker was the first council member to organize virtual community sessions that included a weeklong four-part forum series on road safety, domestic violence, sex trafficking and gun violence.

Besides her bachelor’s degree from Emory University, she received two master’s degrees in real estate from Johns Hopkins University and political science from Howard University.

In an interview Wednesday, the council member said two major areas to help improve the state would be innovation in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) based learning and addressing environmental challenges such as flooding in certain neighborhoods.

“We’re in the middle of a shift. The way that we do things is going to change,” she said. “We really want to look at equity on the state level. All of this goes into the overall health, environmental health [and] financial health of people.”

Maryland voters in the June 28 primary would choose both the governor and lieutenant governor on the ballot. At least eight other Democrats plan to run in the race, including former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, who became the first Democrat to announce a running mate in Montgomery County Council member Nancy Navarro.

Personal challenges

Later in the day after the announcement, the campaign released statements about some financial challenges with Anderson-Walker’s family and ethics complaints as a council member.

The county’s Board of Ethics ruled in August she employed a council staff member who also worked at her real estate brokerage firm.

In addition, the complaint states Anderson-Walker violated county ethics when she voted on resolutions between 2018 to 2020 when she worked as a broker for the White Rose Foundation, a charitable arm of the county’s The Links Inc. The complaint notes she voted on resolutions for the foundation to receive $755,000 in county funding and a tax agreement for a senior residential in Suitland.

The campaign issued a statement that Anderson-Walker received no financial compensation, “no longer employs her staff member outside the office and is in full compliance with all guidance from the Board of Ethics.”

She and Walker faced financial challenges that included a federal tax lien and faced foreclosure in 2009. That year marked one of the worst financial and housing crises in the nation and Prince George’s County became one of the most affected jurisdictions.

“We are in full compliance with a payment plan, and remain committed to resolving all outstanding liabilities. Like many Marylanders, we have endured financial struggles that are not easily and quickly resolved,” they said in a joint statement. “Experiences like these come with consequences, and we have faced them head on by utilizing credible accountants and providing them with full and honest information. These struggles are not easy to talk about, but as public servants we are committed to transparency and accountability, in this and all matters.”

Campaign manager Ben Smith said in a statement Maryland families face financial hardships, especially women and persons of color “and it has served as a constant block on their ability to advance their careers and stable, healthy lives.”

“A Franchot administration will do everything in its power to end those generational barriers, and that begins with ensuring these challenges do not prevent an eminently qualified woman from serving as our state’s next lieutenant governor,” Smith said.

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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