Love him or hate him, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern T. Baker III, who is also a Democratic candidate for Maryland governor is the ultimate caretaker.
Baker, who has to deal with the emotional turmoil of taking care of a wife, Christa Beverly, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and Dementia , the pressures of running the second largest government in Maryland added pressure as a candidate for governor, adjusts to the personal and professional needs of his wife and the county. It can be a herculean task, but one Baker said he has embraced for the past eight years.
“I try to remind the kids and try to remind myself that we are extremely blessed,” Baker told the Washington Post. “We have great support from family and friends. It’s kind of hard to feel sorry for ourselves.”
That is probably the best tactic for Baker, who has to navigate through the murky world of backroom politics and balance it with the love and care he needs to provide for his wife. Beverly used to accompany Baker on the campaign trail and was a sounding board for political strategy. Now all of that is gone as his wife rarely speaks and Parkinson has limited her ability to walk.
Baker admitted in a compelling story on WUSA Channel 9 about the challenges his family faced. He says he wishes things were different, but they aren’t and he plays the cards he has been dealt by God. The story changed many people’s perception of him as his persona went from an ambitious hard charging politician to a compassionate husband who continues to love his wife under the most difficult circumstances.
“If you ask me, I’d give you a million dollars if I could have her say Rushern,” he said in the same WUSA interview. “I would check out, you know. I just couldn’t deal with it and Quinci would actually take care of her. And it allowed me to focus on issues around the county. It was just really hard. And I cried every day. I miss going to her for advice.”
As Baker grapples with a myriad of issues in the county such as education reform and improving the economic base, but he said he still feels blessed to have his wife with him. As a politician he has still enjoyed his share of accomplishments that include bringing the MGM Casino to the county and bringing the reputation of the county back after the Jack Johnson era. He said there is more that he wants to accomplish and he knows his wife is supportive of his efforts.
“If I did this for the next 40 years, I couldn’t pay her back. The reason we are willing to do this is to talk about it, is not for us, we’re blessed. It’s kind of hard for us to feel sorry for ourselves. But, it is for the fact that we want people to become more aware of the emotional, financial drain that Alzheimer’s and dementia has.”