Tommie Broadwater II, known to many as the godfather of politics, died on July 11. He leaves behind a great legacy, four children, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, according to the Archives of Maryland. (PHOTO CREDIT: AFRO File Photo / Alexis Taylor )

By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,

The well-loved Tommie Broadwater Jr., former Maryland senator, died at age 81 on July 11.

“Tommie Broadwater had a lot of spunk,” Larry Young, former state senator for District 44, told the AFRO. “He was a businessman and a pioneer of Prince George’s County establishing a Black political presence and increasing their political merit.”

Broadwater served as a Democratic representative for District 24 in Prince George’s County from 1974 to 1983, becoming the first Black lawmaker from Prince George’s to be elected to the state senate. He married Lillian and had four children, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, according to the Archives of Maryland.

Affectionately known as the “Godfather of politics” by many, Broadwater often supported up-and-coming politicians.

“I was saddened to hear of the passing of one of the trailblazers in Prince George’s politics.  Just last month, I attended a tribute in honor of the one and only Tommie Broadwater.  His unique and personal touch in retail politics can only be described as down-to-earth,” said Congressman Glenn Ivey (D-Md.04), in a statement sent to members of the media. “He knew your name.  He knew your church.  He knew about your struggling nephew or your sick aunt. From the halls of power as a State Senator in Annapolis to the halls of the courthouse in Upper Marlboro and Hyattsville for his bail-bondsman business, Tommie was a formidable player in the law-making and legal worlds of our county and our state.”

Ivey continued, saying “even out of the limelight, he was always respected for his prowess in the trenches of elective politics. Many sought his advice.  Many sought his endorsement.  And all knew he was a force for Black power in Prince George’s County and beyond.” 

“As the first African American State Senator in Prince George’s County and the only one outside of Baltimore in the 1970s, Tommie Broadwater paved a path for future leaders from suburban areas outside Washington, D.C. and middle class in Prince George’s County,” said Ivey. “Our community will miss his common touch with the public and will only be missed more by those of us lucky enough to have experienced his uncommon friendship and political support throughout the years.  May he rest in peace.”

Political figures from around the state weighed in on the death, some taking to their social media accounts to send a message directly to their audience. 
“Senator Broadwater was a true trailblazer, becoming the first African-American state senator elected from Prince George’s County,” Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks tweeted on July 12. “He was a proud Prince Georgian who never forgot where he came from and always fought fiercely for the residents he represented. Most importantly, he etched a legacy for future generations of leaders in our county, showing them that anything was possible.”