By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]
Former Maryland gubernatorial candidate and United States Congressman Anthony Brown met with the Prince George’s County delegation prior to addressing the general assembly in Annapolis. Brown navigated through inclement weather and braved the elements on a historically frigid day on February 1.
On his visit to the State Capital, Brown called for greater partnership between Maryland’s legislative body and Congress to deliver greater opportunities for Maryland’s workforce, reduce the cost of health care and prevent gun violence that continues to plague the free state. While visiting his former political stomping grounds, Brown also spoke with Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch before speaking to the Prince George’s County delegation then to entire state leadership.
“I’m working on legislation to better leverage the government’s purchasing power to encourage companies to invest in our workforce – that means more apprenticeships, internships and opportunities for Marylanders to obtain hands-on experience that results in good-paying jobs and stable careers,” Brown told the AFRO. “I hope my package of workforce bills is taken up this Congress.”
Brown, as many other members of Congress, faces the ever-growing political wrath of many constituents that are federal employees. State House sources told the AFRO that over 100,000 of those government employees who were furloughed during the shutdown are residents of Prince George’s County. However, another potential 500,000 federal contractors are still being impacted and have not gone back to work, which could lead to a crisis in the nation’s most affluent African American county if there is another work stoppage. Many longtime residents of the County are federal employees who could watch their American dream fade as they struggle to make mortgage payments and could face foreclosure.
“Right now, Congress is fighting to ensure the government stays open, and federal employees and contractors get the backpay they need after the President’s senseless shutdown,” Brown said. “These battles are going to be hard fought, but victories in these areas will prove huge for Maryland’s families and working families across the country.”
Brown hopes to leverage his political capital to build bridges between the County government, the state representatives and Congress. He is hoping that his experience as a former state legislator and his experience as lieutenant governor before representing District 4 on Capitol Hill can be a conduit for developing relationships that will benefit the County and the state.
“If Congress is going to work for the American people, we have to work with our partners on the local level,” Brown said. “As a Member of Congress, I am always looking for ways to work with the County Executives in my district and the state Delegates and Senators who also represent my constituents to make sure both state and federal resources are available for working families in Maryland.”
Congressman Brown also feels he has a role in reducing the impact of gun violence throughout the state. With homicide rates on the rise he envisions a collaborative effort between state government and the Congressional delegation after drafting previous legislation such as “Cathy’s Law,” named after his cousin who was killed by an intimate partner, to disarm domestic abusers. He also worked on a comprehensive gun safety package following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Maryland has passed its own red flag law that empowered courts to limit the access of guns to those who dangerous to the public.
“Maryland is at the forefront of getting guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to our communities across the state,” Brown said. “Congress must learn from states like ours as we continue to protect our citizens’ safety.”