Candidates Step Up in 2018

Prince George's County

by: Hamil R. Harris Special to the AFRO
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Former White House aide Paul Montero returned to a Langley Park Boys and Girls Club Dec. 18 for a prayer breakfast that highlighted the need for the next Prince George’s County Executive to remember all communities in the county.

“It is important that we remember the forgotten voices of the county and serve all people,” said Monteiro, a candidate for Prince George’s County Executive who hosted an event that featured former White House Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Munoz.

Paul Monteiro (left, facing the camera) is a millennial candidate who is running for Prince George’s County executive in 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Monteiro said, after working for President Obama, he came back to the county to make a difference. Today, despite being chief of staff for the President of Howard University and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, Monteiro is running to be Prince George’s County Executive against States Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, State Sen. C. Anthony Muse and former Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards.

But Monteiro, 37, is more than just a candidate. He is part of a new generation of candidates fueled by Millennials and Generation Xers, who have given baby boomers and people more than 50 years of age a run for their money.

As of Dec. 19, Edwards picked up three endorsements from the Service Employees International Union of the Capital Area District; CASA in Action, the mid-Atlantic region’s largest electoral organization fighting for immigrant rights; and Progressive Maryland, a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes social, economic and racial justice.“It says that we have the hopes, dreams and aspirations of workers in Prince George’s County,” Edwards told the AFRO.

Edwards has been traveling through the county to speak with residents young and old.

In Prince George’s County there are two members of the Board of Education in their 20s and in communities across the county some residents can vote in local election at the age of 16.

In 2018, the Democratic field looking to challenge Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is crowded with candidates, including County Executive Rushern Baker, 59, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, 44 and Maya Rockeymore, 46, wife of Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings.

In addition to the governor’s race, dozens of candidates are running for seats in the Senate and the House of Delegates in Annapolis, Md.

“I was motivated to run for office because many people in our community do not have a voice,” said Wala Blegay, 33,  a law professor at the American University Washington College of Law, who is a Prince George’s County resident.

Blegay, who grew up in District Heights, is running for the District 25 seat in Annapolis. She said she felt compelled to run for office because she wanted to be an advocate for her people. “The seniors in my community were complaining about finance companies preying on them, victims of domestic violence were complaining about a lack of enforcement and parents are complaining about a lack of accountability in the school system.”

The White House has initiated a Republican Tax Reform that would raise the nation’s debt to $1.5 trillion.  In the first year, almost every American would see a tax cut in 2019, but middle and low income Americans could see a tax increase by 2027. According to CNN, 55 percent of Americans oppose the tax bill. The House voted on the GOP tax bill 227-203 on Dec. 19 on the conference report of the tax plan. The Senate is expected to vote later in the evening.

“It is time for us to step up. People have told us to wait but wait for what,” Blegay said. “We have people in the community crying for help and we need to respond and advocate for them. I am part of the Millennial Age. We don’t have property, retirement benefits, health care and we are burdened with student loans.”

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