Progressive Maryland, a grass-roots advocacy group, announced it will back state Sen. Victor Ramirez in his bid for Prince George’s County state’s attorney.
Though the Silver Spring-based statewide nonprofit organization has made a slew of endorsements this election year, it ranks the position of as one of its most important, coming to the decision after months of meetings, questionnaires, reading campaign literature and candidates’ forums.
“[Ramirez] embodied everything in our platform that what we wanted to do,” Seanniece Bamiro, lead organizer for Progressive Maryland in Prince George’s, said Thursday across the street from the county courthouse in Upper Marlboro. “He has remained consistent in not wanting to over prosecute and just throw people in jail just because it’s the thing to do.”
Ramirez (D-District 47) of Cheverly, who also has been endorsed by former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, called Progressive Maryland’s support “a badge of honor.”
“To know I have a true, grass-roots organization that cares about working families and the issues that affect the everyday person … support me means a lot,” said Ramirez, who mentioned he’s handled more than 500 cases with his own law office in Hyattsville. “It takes experience. It’s not just a political position. How can you lead 100 assistant state’s attorneys and 100 staff members if you’ve never done the job? In any other [profession], it would be malpractice.”
Bamiro said the Ramirez platform is in line with several of the organization’s proposals, including increased police accountability, full transparency from the state’s attorney’s office and ending the war on drugs.
Ramirez’ campaign literature indicates he will focus on issues such as:
• Ending the illegal use of stop-and-frisk tactics that target communities of color.
• Protecting all residents regardless of immigration status.
• Prioritizing prosecution of violent crime and reject war on drugs strategies.
Ramirez has two opponents in the June 26 primary: Mike Lyles, director of the county’s Human Relations Commission and adjunct professor at the University of Maryland University College, and former state Delegate Aisha Braveboy.
Because Ramirez, Braveboy and Lyles are the only candidates currently on the Democratic ballot, the winner could run unopposed in the general election.
The position isn’t term-limited, but current State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks decided to vacate the seat to run for county executive. Progressive Maryland has endorsed former Rep. Donna Edwards in that race.
Meanwhile, Braveboy has received several endorsements from prominent officials such as Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland), Sheriff Melvin High and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89.
Qiana Johnson, a mass liberation fellow with Progressive Maryland, said Braveboy didn’t receive an endorsement partly due to her support from the police union.
“That was a real turnoff,” said Johnson, a returning citizen released in August. “Even though the cops will charge you, the state’s attorney makes a decision whether to pursue a case. The prosecutors have the responsibility to act with integrity. You don’t have to dig very deep with [Ramirez] to see what he stands for.”