SEABROOK — The county’s top prosecutor is hoping to take on another top job come 2018: county executive.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks announced via Facebook on Saturday, and at an event Monday morning, that she is running to replace Rushern Baker, III as county executive. Alsobrooks joins state Sen. C. Anthony Muse and Lewis Johnson in the Democratic field. No Republicans have filed as of the most recent report from the Board of Elections, dated July 5.
Alsobrooks, 46, says she is a lifelong Prince Georgian and is running because she believes she understands the issues that matter to her fellow residents – and how to make things better.
“When you ask about why I am interested in seeking the office of county executive, it is because I understand Prince George’s County’s promise, and I think some of it has been unfulfilled. I want to be a part of bringing Prince George’s to the place that we have always known is possible,” she said. “It’s not just that I have the experience to address it, but I have also a clear understanding of who I’m fighting for. I know them.”
The youngest state’s attorney elected in the county’s history, Alsobrooks has championed domestic violence reduction and community policing. Under her leadership, prosecution rates have risen. She has also served as executive director of the Revenue Authority, which supports economic development.
In an interview with The Sentinel earlier this month, Alsobrooks presented some of her other accomplishments for the county. As state’s attorney, she started the Back on Track program, which allows first-time, non-violent offenders to access education and training, and hosted an expungement fair to help others who had charges dropped clear their records to make getting a job easier.
Alsobrooks said her goal in any job she takes is to be excited about helping people, and that the needs of the residents of the county would be her top priority.
“The overall way that I talk about the big challenge we have is, how do we focus on humans?” Alsobrooks said. “I think we have seen some of what we have worked for over the years (in terms of economic development.) Now the challenge is, what do we do not only to develop economically, but what do we do to invest in human development?”
Among the issues important to her are healthcare – especially the high rate of diabetes and childhood asthma in the county- education and public safety. She also says the county has done a great job attracting big businesses in recent years, and more attention needs to be paid to smaller, local ones.
“We have to come up with a strategy that not only focuses on large business development – we’ve done a fantastic job there – but community-based business, small businesses, minority businesses, where we have also the opportunity to develop jobs, to increase wages,” Alsobrooks said.
She also pledged to restore twice-a-week trash pickup in the county after it was reduced to once-a-week by action of the county council at the request of the current administration.
“For people who pay taxes here, and pay a great deal of it – let them have two days of trash pickup,” she said. “That the role of government, to make sure that taxpayers’ dollars serve the taxpayers.”
On another Baker program, the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative, Alsobrooks said she liked and supported the concept of bringing government to the communities directly, especially those in greatest need.
Community-centered efforts could also help improve the county’s schools, she said.
“I like the concept of neighborhood schools,” she said. “Focusing on neighborhood schools is going to private businesses, going to the nonprofit sector, going to the faith community. This is a collaborative effort where we ask all of them to invest in a school in your neighborhood. This is a way, I believe, of supporting schools in various areas.”
She said that education more broadly is the key to success in other areas such as public safety and economic development because “all ships rise when the educational system is functioning well.” Alsobrooks would fight for increased investment in early education, like pre-K and third grade literacy rates, she said.
If elected, Alsobrooks would be the first woman and the first African-American woman to hold the office of county executive in Prince George’s County. But she says being first isn’t as important as doing the job right.
“What I feel is, really, in the words of Sen. Kamala Harris, ‘it is less important that you are the first than it is that you work so hard that you are certainly not the last,’” Alsobrooks said. “And so I hope women who watch me, I hope I represent them well.”