Capitol Heights City Council member Darrell Miller is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Prince George’s County District 7 position. “I am running to make a difference in the community,” Miller told the AFRO in an interview. “I want to bring additional resources to the residents of District 7 because we are not getting the help and support that we need.”
District 7 is located on the western central portion of the county and much of it borders the Southeast and Northeast quadrants of the Washington, D.C. In addition to the town of Capitol Heights, the district consists of Seat Pleasant, District Heights, Marlow Heights, Hillcrest Heights, Suitland, Temple Hills, and portions of Forestville and Oxon Hill.
District 7 is 91 percent Black, according to the American Community Survey from 2011-2015. The incumbent in the seat is Karen Toles (D). She has held the position since 2009 and, by law, cannot by law run for a third term. Miller lost the Council primary election to Toles in 2010.
Presently, Miller is running against B.J. Paige, founder of the non-profit Boys 2 Bowties, political activists Bruce Branch, former AFRO columnist, Juan Stewart, a data scientist for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, located in Bethesda, Md., and a solar power entrepreneur and former county council aide Rodney Streeter. The primary is June 26 and the winner will be on the ballot for the Nov. 6 general election.
Miller is a graduate of Strayer University and did further studies at Howard University. He served on the Capitol Heights Town Council from 2002-2006, served as mayor from 2006-2010, and was re-elected to the council in 2014.
On Jan. 4, 2012, Miller was sentenced to two years of supervised probation, ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, and serve 300 hours of community service by the Anne Arundel Circuit Court for violation of campaign finance laws for using campaign funds for personal use.
Miller is an entrepreneur and serves as the president of the Capitol Heights-Seat Pleasant Boys & Girls Club and is active with the pro-Black male organization, Men Aiming Higher. His family worships at Mount Jezreel Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Md.
Miller said Suitland and Temple Hills will “get taken care of” in terms of getting resources but he wants other parts of the District 7 to be included. His platform includes bringing economic development to the district.
“I want our economic development of District 7 to be more pointed,” he said. “There should be a direct strategy to bring businesses, jobs, and training programs to the residents. I would like to increase scholarship support for young people, adults, and returning citizens who want to be educated.”
Miller said he would work toward establishing a District 7 grant to help residents go to school for free, whether it is vocational or academic in focus. He said expanding the enterprise zone with tax credits as incentives for businesses will help boost the district’s economy, which will be a priority if elected to the council.
Miller wants to make sure veterans’ medical and employment needs are met and that the municipalities in District 7 are appreciated and respected. “I want to be sure that they are supportive of what I am trying to do and I want to serve as a go-to guy for them on the council,” he said. “When municipalities do well, the whole district benefits.”
Miller also expressed interest in bringing urban farming to District 7. “Urban farming is the best way to attack food deserts like the one we have in Capitol Heights,” he said. “Urban farming can be used to teach people how to eat and live better.”
Miller said his previous experience serving as a mayor would be an asset as a council member, which is largely a legislative position. “As mayor, I learned the importance of collaboration and partnership,” he said. He said working with other mayors of municipalities he was able to increase the fees from 10 percent to 25 percent on development projects and get more than $1 million for Capitol Heights in the form of bonds that come from the Maryland General Assembly.
“You learn how to operate win-win and that’s how things get done,” he said. Miller said that working as the chief of staff for Maryland Del. Darryl Barnes (D-District 25) has also provided insight into the political process, helping him to understand Annapolis better.