By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
mgray@afro.com

Prince George’s County Delegate Julian Ivey (D-47A) may not have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but his passion for politics and public service are part of his DNA.  Ivey, 24, the son of former State’s Attorney Glen Ivey and 5th District Council member Jolene Ivey, is the youngest member of the Maryland General Assembly and is calling for a special session to address issues specific to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lost behind the headlines of the Black Lives Matter protests and the continuing abuse of force by law enforcement, Ivey says there are a series of issues affecting his primarily African American constituency in the County.  From Covid-19, evictions, foreclosures, to the prospects for voter suppression in November’s general election, the youthful legislator thinks Governor Larry Hogan should use his power to convene a special session to address the issues that are having a major impact on people of color in his district and throughout the state.

Prince George’s County Delegate Julian Ivey (D-47A), the youngest member of the Maryland General Assembly, is requesting Gov. Larry Hogan calls a special session to address the issues affecting people of color in the state. (Courtesy Photo)

“We have multiple crises that people in the state are going through that have to be addressed,” said Ivey in an exclusive interview with the {AFRO}.  “We have to break down what all citizens are going through to create a holistic vision of what the reality in the state of Maryland is right now.”

Ivey sees the major dilemma facing the residents of his County is the “crisis” of potential foreclosures and evictions, which could legally be enforced starting July 25. The absence of tax revenue due to businesses being forced to shut down has Prince George’s facing another impasse that may force Ivey’s constituents to lose their homes or be legally evicted as many face unemployment or underemployment.  Many County homeowners, who’ve been government contractors- after being furloughed and not returning to work at previous salaries- are facing the harsh reality of losing their homes.

Heated debates have begun already, which has seemed to divide members of the County Council and County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.  Alsobrooks doesn’t want to raise property taxes on homeowners to help offset the loss of tax revenue, while some on the Council do.

However, residential property management companies are eligible to start evicting tenants July 25, who have not been able to pay their rent and have fallen potentially three months behind since Gov. Hogan declared a state of emergency in March.  Ivey cites Hogan’s experience as a businessman – who made his mark as a rental property owner and a Republican – as a reason to not force the general assembly to convene for a special session.

“Not only are we looking at a mass eviction crisis,” Ivey said. “We just barely got out of the last foreclosure crisis and some are still recovering.”

Ivey is also concerned about the November elections and a potential change to absentee balloting that could inadvertently impact the race for president.  Hogan is considering changes to the procedures that were in place for the primary, which would alter the number of early mail-in ballots – making it difficult for some residents to cast their votes, which may lead to voter suppression in the County.

“There’s a election coming up and our Republican governor has decided we should be sending in a letter to request a ballot instead of keeping the same system in place that led to record turnout during the primary,” Ivey said.