SEABROOK – A crowded field of Democrats are running for the District 5 seat for Prince George’s County Council. District 5, which includes Bladensburg, Cheverly, Colmar Manor, Cottage City, Edmonston, Fairmount Heights, Glenarden and Landover, is currently represented by Councilwoman Andrea Harrison.
Harrison is term-limited and running for state delegate.
The candidates for District 5 are Jolene Ivey, Walter Lee James, Jr., Rochelle Mincey-Thompson, Albert Slocum and Patricia Waiters.
Ivey, a Cheverly resident, previously served as a state delegate for District 47 from 2007 to 2015. She said during her tenure as a delegate, she learned about the connections between the state and the county government.
“I’m very aware of how important it is to have really strong people in these positions, so I was ready to do something where you can really touch the people,” Ivey said. “It seems to me the county council is a great position to be able to have a direct impact on what’s happening to people who live in Prince George’s County.”
Ivey said what separates her from her opponents is her experience and “fantastic record,” particularly in environmental justice.
If elected, her priorities would include education and implementing pre-kindergarten programs, environmental justice and establishing a county-wide bulk trash pick-up schedule. She said under the current system, if a resident has bulk trash, they call 311 for assistance. The county may not be able to pick up the trash immediately, which may result in people dumping the trash by the side of the road or in the woods.
“It’s got a negative environmental impact and psychological impact,” Ivey said. “It would make our community cleaner, and it won’t cost anything more.”
James pointed to his previous government experience as his qualifications for the position.
“I felt it was time for me to take that experience of community service and getting things done and collaboration to the next level,” James said. “The opportunity arose for the County Council District 5 seat, and I decided to run because I just have a deep passion for service and serving individuals,. So I saw an opportunity to have an even greater impact on that level.”
James said his campaign has “five pillars”: municipal and nonprofit empowerment, education, public safety, senior citizens and the youth, and health and wellness.
Regarding public safety, he said he is particularly interested in ensuring departments have adequate resources and training, particularly around the issues of domestic violence and sex trafficking.
James also said he is interested in developing urban farms across the county. He said he liked the progress urban farms have made in Bladensburg and hopes more residents can access to fresh produce.
James said what he believes separates him in this crowded field is his experience in municipal government, particularly as mayor.
“You’re making everyday decisions (as mayor) that are happening in our community,” James said. “You really get a sense of community, and you really have a sense of connectivity.”
Mincey-Thompson may be new to the political arena, but does not want voters to think she is inexperienced. She is a U.S. Army veteran with a career history of managing businesses.
“I don’t think that people want career politicians anymore,” Mincey-Thompson said. “They want something new. They want someone that’s going to come in and really address their concerns.”
Mincey-Thompson, a Landover resident, said if she is elected, her top priorities will include “having a transparent relationship” with her constituents and focusing on tuition assistance.
“I want to make sure we invest in our youth and we invest in our residents, and make sure they have the opportunity for education,” she said.
She sees herself as someone who can get things done.
“I’ve never been someone who accepts ‘no’ for an answer,” Mincey-Thompson said. “I’m the person who’s going to push the envelope. I’m going to be the honest person.
Waiters served as mayor of Fairmont Heights from 2015 to 2017, after serving on the town council.
“I worked diligently to improve economic development,” she said. “I have the heart for people. I try to mitigate and resolve the issues of my constituents.”
Waiters said her priorities include constituent services, youth services, economic development for all the communities within District 5 and adequate resources for mental health issues.
She currently works for Prince George’s County Public Schools.
“I’m in education – I’m not just talking about it,” Waiters said. “I may not have all the accolades (of my opponents), but I have worked with people. I have loaded toys in my truck for donating to children in shelters. I have picked up baskets and delivered them to the community. I have worked with the Department of Public Works in the snow to make sure certain streets were cleared.
“I have a personal relationship with people.”
She wants to see the county council approve a budget to “properly meet the needs of the students” rather than just the leadership.
Waiters said her grassroots effort separates her from her opponents.
After The Sentinel reached out to Slocum multiple times, he declined interview requests.
The primary election is June 26.
This is a part of a series.