Former Del. Rushern Baker, candidate for Prince George’s county executive, is using the momentum of new labor union endorsements to lay out his new jobs and economic development plan.

Over the past few weeks, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators & Allied Workers, Local 24 and the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), Local 1994 have all endorsed Baker. He touted the endorsements June 1 as he released his new plan that is meant to promote job growth and opportunity for all sectors of the Prince George’s County workforce.

Part of his plan would include doing things to attract businesses to some of the county’s neglected neighborhoods. One idea is to designate certain areas, “duty-free,” so that there would be no sales tax for businesses or consumers. “The goal would be to give these companies within communities a three-to-five-year waiver on sales taxes, which would give them a competitive edge, encourage consumers to shop in these communities,” Baker said in a release. “Larger companies would have to achieve certain goals on hiring and use of local vendors to apply.”

Baker says he’ll also work to keep people living in the country by creating a discount system for federal employees and offer competitive compensation packages for those looking to relocate to the county. “I’ll ask our economic development team to work with our stakeholders and universities to determine if rewarding those that move into and stabilize hard-hit areas of our county with property tax waivers on the third year for every two years they remain in the designated zone under owner-occupied status,” he went on to say.

Other registered candidates in the race for county executive include Sheriff Michael A. Jackson, Del. Gerron Levi, D-Dist. 23A, and Henry Turner Jr., chairman of the county veterans’ commission. County Councilmen Tony Knotts, D-Dist. 8, and Samuel Dean, D-Dist. 6, have both expressed interest, but have yet to file.

The Democratic primary is Sept. 14.


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO