Erek Barron wants residents of Maryland’s 24th district to re-elect him so he can finish the work he started. “I have unfinished business that I need to attend to,” Barron told the AFRO. “I have much more left to do.”
Barron was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014 and has distinguished himself as an expert on criminal justice reform.
The 24th district is in central Prince George’s County and includes Glenarden, Seat Pleasant, Hillcrest Heights, Landover, Largo, Mitchellville, Suitland, Pepper Mill Village, Kettering, Lake Arbor and parts of Bowie. The district is 85.2 percent Black, according to the 2010 U.S. Census count.
Barron, 43, was born in the District of Columbia and graduated from the elite Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., played football and studied English at the University of Maryland, College Park and received his juris doctorate from The George Washington University School of Law and a master’s of law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He has worked as an assistant state’s attorney for Prince George’s County and Baltimore City, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, managed his own law practice and now works with Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP, a District law firm.
Barron has been active in the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association and its Prince George’s County affiliate, the J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association, and has served on the board of directors for the Maryland Public Defender Service and Maryland Legal Aid Bureau.
He served as a policy advisory to then Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and on the Obama-Biden transition team in 2008-2009.
In his political life, Barron has been elected to the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee and is a political ally of Maryland State Sen. Joanne Benson (D-District 24) and fellow Del. Jazz Lewis (D-District 24).
Barron briefly considered running for Prince George’s County State’s Attorney for 2018 but decided against it.
He is a resident of Mitchellville, Md., is married with a daughter and attends Reid Temple AME Church in Glenn Dale, Md.
In the House, Barron serves on the Health and Government Operations Committee and is a member of the Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council and the Task Force to Study Small and Minority Design Firm Participation in State Procurement.
Barron said he understands the Maryland criminal justice system sometimes is unfair to Blacks and he wants to change that. He was the leader in the passage of the Justice Reinvestment Act, which aims to implement polices that enhance public safety while also reducing incarceration and recidivism by focusing on rehabilitation and drug and mental health treatment.
In addition, Barron is an advocate of correcting the state’s bail system, which experts says is unfair to poor residents, and expanding opportunities for residents to have their records expunged. “I want our criminal justice system to be fair and makes us all safer,” he said.
Barron also wants to make sure that the Washington Metropolitan Transit Association, the D.C. region’s public transportation system, is working in the best interest of Prince George’s County. “In my district, there are four Metro stations,” he said, referring to the Capitol Heights, Addison Road-Seat Pleasant, Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center stations that are on the Blue and Silver Lines. “I want to see that our Metro system is more efficient. I want to make sure that it is a good partner with the county.”
In recent days, a project close to the Largo Town Center station received a big boost. The Prince George’s County Regional Medical Center broke ground near the Largo station and Barron said he worked with the rest of his colleagues in the county delegation to get an extra $100 million over 10 years for the facility. “One of my priorities is economic development and of course the hospital will be one of the anchors for economic development in the Largo area,” he said. “There is an effort to move county government from Upper Marlboro to Largo and that will be an economic boost to the area. When the move is completed, it will be the new downtown Prince George’s County.”
Barron wants to make sure Prince George’s County is as successful as possible. “My job is not over,” he said. “I want to continue my work in the General Assembly and hopefully my constituents will let me continue that work.”
Barron will be competing for one of three delegate seats in 2018. As of Dec. 4, Barron is slated to run against Maurice Simpson Jr., president of the Prince George’s County Young Democrats; Prince George’s County Council member Andrea Harrison and Maryland State Del. Jazz Lewis (D-District 24). The deadline to file the required documents to run is Feb. 27, 2018.
“He is a very smart and a very thorough legislator,” Mel Franklin (D-District 9), who is a candidate for one of the two at-large county council seats in 2018, told the AFRO. “He has a bright future. He is creative and responsive and the sky’s the limit for him.”