Minister Roussan “Rou” Etienne Jr. is a spiritual man who likes to invoke scripture and Bible stories in his personal and professional life. Now, he is attempting to become an elected official where he is confident he can be a giant slayer by ending the reign of Maryland Senate president and political icon Thomas V. “Mike” Miller.
Etienne, 45, a resident of Brandywine, Md., is a rare breed in the county and politics. As a civil rights activist turned politician, running as a Republican in a heavily Democratic state, he knows he must walk a fine line to get out of the primary so he can get the showdown he wants with Miller.
Etienne, who got his first taste of county politics in 2014 when he ran for county executive as a write-in candidate, recently served as a delegate for former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson at the Republican National Convention. He currently is a member of the Prince George’s County Republican Central Committee and touts the support of Gov. Larry Hogan.
“I know I am a David going against Goliath, but it’s time for a change and as I go around the state, a lot of people agree with me,” said Etienne. “We need someone who is truly going to serve the people and run without trepidation and fear, and I am that candidate. I will say what no one else wants to say. It’s time for Miller to go. He has been a major detriment and deterrent on the progress of African Americans. He has been “Big Daddy” on a plantation filled with slaves to a system that does not benefit our community, just a select few. Why should a man who doesn’t live in our community have so much of a say over who we elect to serve our community?”
Miller, 75, the unofficial godfather of Democratic politics in the state, holds the distinction of being the longest serving state senator in Maryland history. He presides over District 27, which encompasses parts of Prince George’s, Calvert and Charles Counties. Miller, who lives in Calvert, was first elected in 1975 and has been Senate president since 1987.
“A lot of Democrats in Prince George’s County are supporting me,” said the Haitian born Etienne. “I am a non-traditional Republican. I am a fighter. I stand up for the rights of Black people. That’s why I am getting support from people in both parties. I have been serving people most of my life, creating something out of nothing dealing with celebrity talent. I got the deals done. I don’t take no for an answer. I have done the work. I have mobilized in the streets and I have stood up for issues that impact African Americans.”
Etienne, a member of Spirit of Faith Christian Center in Brandywine, says he wants to restore wealth and prosperity to Blacks by lowering taxes and assisting business development. He says nothing is more important than expanding the vision he created at the Zoe Network, which is located in the D.C. metropolitan area, where he helps business owners turn their dreams into financial success.
“My mission and goals are to ensure that all citizens have equal access to opportunity and prosperity,” said Etienne, who is also the chaplain at Baden Fire Department in Brandywine. “I will work for common sense legislation that will benefit the 27th District. I will focus on drug prevention, environmental preservation, job creation, foreclosures. We need a change and we need it right now. I believe that all things are possible and that’s why I am confident I am going to win this election.”