SEABROOK – As the June 26 primary inches closer, local candidates are gearing up for the election. Candidates Monique Anderson-Walker, Carlton Carter, Tony Knotts, Karen Porter and Markida Walker are running for the county council District 8 seat, which is being vacated by Obie Patterson. All of these candidates are running as Democrats. District 8 includes Camp Springs, Oxon Hill and Fort Washington.
Anderson-Walker said she is “totally invested” in District 8, where she grew up. She is concerned about providing jobs for students, returning citizens and veterans, as well as ensuring small local businesses have opportunities for economic development.
“I have been fortunate that as a commercial real estate broker business owner, I’ve been able to affect some of those changes just as a citizen,” she said.
Anderson-Walker cited her experience helping to negotiate to bring business and job opportunities to the county and District 8.
Anderson-Walker said through conversations with local students, she has discovered concerns about safety is a priority for them. She also hopes to improve road safety on Route 210 and address food and housing insecurities for seniors.
Her other priorities include access to health care as well as generating wealth for residents.
“In a nutshell, I care about my community deeply, and I want to see this area in District 8 become the economic engine of the whole county,” she said.
She beleives she would be able to “hit the ground running” as a councilmember due to her experience in economic development and education.
Carter also cited his background in education as relevant experience for the legislative branch. He has worked as a school principal and a senior school turnaround specialist.
“Where the county’s greatest weakness is, is my greatest strength,” he said.
Carter’s priorities include “raising the quality of the education in the school system,” ensuring the MGM casino honors the community benefits agreement, improving healthcare services for individuals with mental health issues and improving local roads and transportation.
“I’m tired of bad local government (and) lack of transparency, lack of follow-through, lack of implementation,” Carter said.
Knotts, on the other hand, highlighted his background and experience in local politics. He previously served on the Prince George’s County Council from 2002 to 2010 and has served in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2015.
Knotts, who is a Vietnam War veteran, said what he brings to the table as a candidate that the other candidates do not is his comprehensive knowledge of the county council’s responsibilities.
“There’s a big misunderstanding of what the county council can and can’t do and what the state can and can’t do,” Knotts said.
He said, the county council only has control over the school board’s budget but cannot intervene with education issues further than that.
Knotts said his priorities for District 8 include economic development and public safety.
“Right now, we have a viable commercial tax base that adds to our tax streams, that goes beyond what we were,” he said.
What he believes distinguishes him is his experience and the relationships he has built at the county and state levels.
“People say what they will do,” Knotts said. “I can tell you what I have done.”
Porter, who is also a military veteran, decided to run for county council to increase transparency in the local government and in the school system. Over the past 35 years she has lived in District 8, she has seen changes in corporate development, but has not noticed much growth in the community beyond that.
She said she is an “advocate for the homeless, veterans (and) seniors.”
Her priorities also include advocating for the homeless, eliminating fatalities on local roadways, beautification of the community, pushing for anti-bullying legislation and improving job training and job opportunities for individuals who are unemployed as well as the youth population.
Porter said she will commit “the first year of the paycheck of this office” back to the community to help businesses and infrastructure.
Walker made a similar promise. If elected, she will give 10 percent of her council salary back to the community every year.
She has lived in District 8 for almost a decade, but beforehand lived in Washington, D.C. There, she said she was able to speak with her councilmember about matters in the community, but during all of her time in Prince George’s County she has never spoken directly with her councilmember.
“I believe that in order to lower taxes, we have to increase our revenue from taxes,” Walker said. “That’s my thing, to get a lot of small businesses to come back to the area, and for the ones that are here, help them improve their business.”
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