The Prince George’s County Council held an informational session Tuesday to hear from residents seeking an appointment to fill a vacancy on the 11-member body.
Former Council member Derrick Leon Davis resigned April 15 after more than 10 years representing the council’s District 6 area that includes Forestville, Largo and parts of Upper Marlboro.
Davis’s second four-year term expires on Dec. 5. Because he resigned in the final year of that term, the council must appoint a person to fill the slightly more than seven months remaining.
The council has until May 15 to appoint a person to fill the seat.
The nine people who submitted resumes and letters of interest are former County Council member Samuel H. Dean, Kenneth D. Fishe, C. Glenn Mahone, District Heights Mayor Johnathan M. Medlock, Belinda Queen, Angela Smith, Preston Thomas III, Jonathan C. White and Nakia Wright.
White, an Air Force veteran and retired federal worker, offered a few words.
“After hearing Ms. Queen, she is the best candidate for this position,” he said.
“Thank you,” Queen replied.
Queen and Wright are two of the five Black women and registered Democrats who filed for candidacy to run for the seat in the July 19 primary election. The other three candidates are Wala Blegay, Barbara Holt Street and Denise Smith.
Queen, who resigned from the county school board to run for the position, outlined various community services awards and how she’s spent $20,000 of her own money to campaign for the seat.
“I have a proven resume of leadership you can trust. I am not trying to build my resume on the backs of taxpayers,” she said. “My choice as a leader has always been to not just show people how much I know, but to show them how much I care.”
Some residents said none of the candidates who filed to run in the primary election should apply for the seat because it presents an unfair advantage.
“The best option is for the Council to appoint a non-candidate to temporarily fill the vacant position,” she wrote in a letter emailed to supporters Thursday. “I will continue to focus my time and effort on sharing my vision for a better and more vibrant District 6 by reaching out to you and your neighbors through door knocking, phone banking and more to earn your support.”
Wright, who chairs the county’s Faith Based Advisory Board and chief operating officer of The Gathering at Forestville church, said she prioritized the best interest of District 6.
“After much prayer and quiet, I came to the conclusion that now is the time to enact my vow and choose,” she said. “If the cost of this means that being attacked for exercising my equal rights and opportunity and a process sanctioned by the council for stepping up to ensure that the heart of our county is protected … I’ll gladly bear it.”
Out of the nine council districts, District 6 encompasses the largest population in the central part of the county with more than 106,000.
Some of the major properties are the University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center and Wayne K. Curry Administration Building, both in Largo; the county’s biggest house of worship, First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro; and two of the county’s regional parks, Walker Mill in Capitol Heights and Watkins in Upper Marlboro.