Marnitta L. King wants the people in her legislative district to have the best the state of Maryland offers and that’s why she wants to represent them in Annapolis.
Marnitta King is the mayor of Capitol Heights and a candidate in the June 26 Democratic Party primary to be one of three Maryland State delegates representing the 24th Legislative District. King is quite straightforward on why she wants to become a state legislator. “There is an unfair distribution of state resources in our district,” King told the AFRO. “If you go over to Martin Luther King Highway, you start out in Seat Pleasant, which is somewhat economically depressed but as you go eastward on the highway to Bowie, you see that area is clean. Why is that?
“It is because state resources are being channeled there and that is because of the current delegates. If I am elected I will see that the resources will be more fairly distributed to the rest of the district.”
The 24th Legislative District is in the central western part of Prince George’s County and borders the District of Columbia’s Northeast and Southeast quadrants. It includes Capitol Heights, Seat Pleasant, Mitchellville, Hillcrest Heights, Landover, Largo, Lake Arbor, Seabrook, Lanham, and Coral Hills. The district is 85.2 percent Black, according to the 2010 census.
King is a longtime resident of Capitol Heights. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and a juris doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law. She practices law in Prince George’s County and served on the Town of Capitol Heights Council from 2006-2014. In 2014, she was elected mayor.
The district’s delegation to Annapolis consists of Maryland Sen. Joanne Benson (D) and Delegates Carolyn J.B. Howard (D), Erek Barron (D) and Jazz Lewis (D). Howard is not running for re-election while Barron and Lewis are.
In addition to Barron and Lewis, King is competing for one of the three seats with Prince George’s County Council member Andrea Harrison (D-District 5), Prince George’s County Young Democrats leader Maurice Simpson, and Seat Pleasant businesswoman LaTasha Ward.
King said as a legislator, she wants to create and pass laws that “affect real people.”
“As an attorney, I have seen situations where people go to jail if they don’t pay child support,” she said. “They can’t pay child support if they are in jail. Jail for that situation is overused. I believe that we, as a state, need to invest more in work release programs to help people pay child support and keep families, especially Black families, intact.”
The mayor is concerned about drug addiction and how it is addressed in Maryland. “I know that the opioid crisis is bad but so was the crack cocaine epidemic,” King said, referring to the proliferation of crack in the 1980s and most of the 1990s that devastated areas like Capitol Heights. “We should have treatment for all addictions and there should be equitable funding.”
King said she will focus on the needs of seniors. “I know that some of our senior facilities need better security,” the mayor said. “We give tax breaks to people to build and manage these facilities and our seniors are not being protected. I know of situations where prostitutes come into these facilities and the management does little or nothing about it.”
King said being a town council member and a mayor will be an asset as a delegate. “I am uniquely situated to be an effective delegate because I see where the money goes when it is funneled down to the local level,” she said.
King said she will be able to work across party lines on issues because she has experience doing that as a mayor. “I have reached out to [Republican] colleagues on the Eastern Shore and in Frederick and I will be able to do the same as a delegate,” she said. “I am bipartisan and I want what is best for the people.”
Shawn Maldon, an entrepreneur and a civic and political activist in Capitol Heights, told the AFRO that he supports King. “She is phenomenal,” he said. “I have seen her approach first hand and she is transparent, hardworking and is fair.”
Maldon said King “knows the issues that impact all of us in the 24th Legislative District” and “further I know she will do right by us representing municipalities.”
“She believes strongly in the good that can come from local government and her bills will undoubtedly speak to that,” he said.
Maldon wants to be King’s successor as the mayor of Capitol Heights and said, “she has inspired me to run for the seat she is vacating.” Nevertheless, he said King would get one of his three votes for delegate anyway.
“She will not forget who sent her to Annapolis, the people,” he said. “She is the people’s candidate, my candidate.”