Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks is passionate about her home county and is running for county executive to see that it is the best that it can be for all residents.
Angela Alsobrooks is the state’s attorney for Prince George’s County. (Courtesy Photo)
“Prince George’s County is a magnificent and it is at a crossroads,” Alsobrooks told the AFRO. “I want every Prince Georgian to have a seat at the table of expanded opportunity. I also want to see our children prepared to take advantage of opportunities that are available,” Alsobrooks said. “Every child, every family and every family member should have the support and opportunity to take advantage of the American Dream.”
Alsobrooks is running in the June 26 Democratic Primary against such political figures as former U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, Maryland State Sen. Anthony Muse (D-District 26) and Obama administration official Paul Monteiro. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III (D) has served the maximum of two consecutive four-year terms and cannot run for re-election and is a candidate for Maryland governor.
The winner of the Democratic primary will likely win the Nov. 6 general election because Democrats outnumber Republicans three-to-one in voter registration.
Alsobrooks was raised in Camp Springs and graduated from Benjamin Banneker High School in the District of Columbia. She received a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Duke University in 1993 and a juris doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1996.
Alsobrooks worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Prince George’s County from 1997-2002 and then was the education liaison for County Executive Jack Johnson from 2002-2004. Johnson appointed Alsobrooks as the executive director of the Revenue Authority of Prince George’s County in 2004 and she served in that capacity until her election as state’s attorney in 2010.
The Revenue Authority is a quasi-governmental entity that serves as a real estate development and development finance agency, and it operates programs and facilities in the county in partnership with other county agencies. Alsobrooks said leading the Revenue Authority gives her a distinct advantage over her opponents.
“I am the only candidate in the race that has executive experience,” she said. “I know how to grow a budget and work collaboratively with other agencies and how to build relationships.”
Alsobrooks said that being the county’s top prosecutor is a positive in terms of being a competent public manager.
“I increased the salaries of the staff of those who worked in the state’s attorney’s office and we have increased our staff by 40 percent since I came in,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that our office is well-run and I have worked to make it more efficient and cost-effective.”
Alsobrooks wants to continue advocating for the rights of domestic violence victims and reaching out to the faith community on that issue as well as others. Alsobrooks will also focus on fighting crime.
“I don’t just want to lock people up,” she said, “but to lift up children and people in general. I want to make sure that our truancy programs make sure that young people are in school and there are workforce development programs for people who want jobs.”
Prince George’s County is one of the nation’s highest income and the wealthiest predominantly Black jurisdiction in the country, and has a number of federal agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau, and upscale retail and residential communities, such as National Harbor within its borders.
The State of Maryland designated in 2011 New Carrollton as the home for its Department of Housing & Community Development and Giant Food, which took its headquarters from Prince George’s to Pennsylvania in 1978, recently announced that it will come back to the county.
While these large entities are important to Alsobrooks, she wants to think locally.
“We are going to focus laser-like on small and minority businesses and what their needs are and how the government can help them grow and prosper,” she said. “I have found out that there is no inventory of businesses here. I will look into hiring a consultant or finding a way to identify the businesses in the county and see how the government can assist them.”
Like many Prince Georgians, Alsobrooks is concerned about the school system. Prince George’s school system is one of the nation’s 25 largest and is the second biggest in Maryland.
However, the school system has had problems with low scores on standardized tests and scandals regarding sexual misconduct among school personnel and grade-fixing. Alsobrooks said she will make major changes in the school system.
“I will bring my own leadership team,” she said, insinuating that Dr. Kevin Maxwell, the CEO of the school system may not be retained. “It is not just about one person, though. I will make changes in the whole school leadership team.”
Alsobrooks said she will focus on growing PreKindergarten and career/technical education. She wants to increase teacher salaries so that the county’s educators can be paid competitively with other jurisdictions and institute a holistic approach to teaching children.
“We need to address the psychological and emotional needs of the children,” Alsobrooks said, “so that they can learn better.”
Emma Andrews is a longtime political and civic activist in the central Prince George’s County community of Pepper Mill Village. Andrews, who moved to Prince George’s in the mid-1960s, has a high opinion of Alsobrooks.
“I think she is a serious politician,” Andrews told the AFRO. “She is not in public service to be known. She’s not one of those ‘I am’ or ‘I was’ types.
“Her leadership is from her heart.”