By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]
Calling her home and the place she now governs “Maryland’s Crown Jewel,” Angela M. Alsobrooks became the first female county executive in the history of Prince George’s County during her inauguration ceremonies Dec. 3 at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. In a passionate unifying speech, Alsobrooks urged citizens of the most affluent Black county in America to take pride in its accomplishments and become a part its future.
“There’s so much to be proud of,” Alsobrooks said. “It is time we stand up with our backs straight, with our chests out and our heads held high. I am here to make sure that the state, the region, the country and the world all know who we are and what we are.”
Alsobrooks joins Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh as an unprecedented trio of African-American women leading metropolitan areas in such proximity throughout the United States. However, while sharing a humorous moment during her speech, Alsobrooks boldly took the opportunity to personally thank Bowser for supporting her campaign but making sure there was a clear delineation between the two jurisdictions which drew a thunderous ovation.
“I love you like a sister,” Alsobrooks said addressing Bowser. “But we are not Ward 9.”
Alsobrooks praised outgoing County Executive Rushern L. Baker for leading the county with “dignity and character.” She inherits a vibrant economy with a future that seems promising. The neophyte executive cites developments in Largo and Suitland as catalysts for consistent economic development in Prince George’s.
“A majority African-American jurisdiction is in the top two to three percent of the wealthiest counties in the United States,” Alsobrooks said. “We are the driving force in Maryland.”
The diversity of Alsobrooks’ previous experience seems to have prepared her for the difference between prosecution and governance. Her ascent to county executive began in 1997 when she became an assistant state’s attorney. By 2002 she was appointed by then-County Executive Wayne Curry to serve as education liaison organizing forums to increase parental involvement. She promised to support early childhood education for all children.
“We will create a pathway for every child to succeed,” Alsobrooks said. “We will ensure they get a head start as we build toward universal pre-K for every child.” It will be my greatest desire that every child in my hometown has the chance to experience every opportunity that I’ve had.”
By 2003 Alsobrooks was named executive director of the County’s revenue authority. Under her leadership the Authority increased the money it generated by 40 percent through an aggressive parking enforcement program and used a portion of the revenue generated to help the County maintain a balanced budget during the recession.
Alsobrooks created the “Back on Track” – Prince George’s initiative which gives low level non-violent offenders a second chance for redemption in the community. For the past eight years Alsobrooks was Prince George’s County State’s Attorney. She cited how under her leadership the County saw a 40 percent drop in violent crime especially domestic violence.
Alsobrooks didn’t embellish the significance of her place in the county’s social and political history. However, she didn’t run away from it either. “My solemn promise to each of you is that every day when I wake up in the morning and when I go to sleep at night, I will carry the hopes and dreams of your families with me,” Alsobrooks said. “They will guide my actions and my administration will work hard to fulfill the obligations that comes with the awesome responsibility you have given me.”