Prince George’s County was in the house for the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference last week at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the District.

While revelers from Michigan celebrated at the Arena Stage and politicians and business leaders socialized over drinks at bars all over the city, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III welcomed several hundred guests at a reception Sept. 21 to draw attention to local residents.

Music was provided by Northwestern High School’s band. Art created by students at Suitland High School was showcased. Local leaders who attended included County Councilwoman Karen Toles (D), Councilman Mel Franklin (D), Council Chair Andrea Harrison (D), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D), a resident of Prince George’s.

“The county executive took the opportunity to highlight the wonderful things that are going on in Prince George’s County,” said Baker communications manager Barry L. Hudson. “The reception allowed him to raise the profile of the county and celebrate the good work that our members in the Congressional Black Caucus have done for the county.”

In other county news, Baker held a news conference Sept. 26 with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to announce a cooperative initiative to assist potential homebuyers in Prince George’s County and the District to secure down payments for homes.

Both jurisdictions are partnering with Wells Fargo for the City Lift program, which will provide financing of up to $20,000, Hudson said. The news conference was held on Eastern Avenue in far Northeast Washington, near the intersection of Sheriff Road, across the street from Fairmont Heights, in Prince George’s. There will be an event on Oct. 5-6 at the convention center where hopefuls can go apply for the financing, Hudson said.

“Wells Fargo came to both jurisdictions asking for help,” he said. “They do a program called Neighborhood Lift around the United States. This is the same thing.”

Baker has also announced the opening next week of the county’s 311 Center, which will be staffed weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to provide residents with access to county services and information on what to do about everything from “bulk trash to pot holes to blight,” Hudson said.

“It allows people access to the government in a way they haven’t had before,” Hudson said. He later added, “The goal here is to streamline some of the customer service functions in some of the agencies and to give us the ability to better quantify, across the agencies, which services we are providing and where resources are going, from a budgetary perspective.”

Avis Thomas-Lester

AFRO Executive Editor