While candidates across Prince George’s campaign on improving the commercial tax base and making the school system more competitive with the county’s neighbors; Sydney Harrison, candidate for the District 9 County Council chair, takes a more personal approach to politics.

“I want to give back what was given to me,” Harrison said. “I’ve been helping people for years and I love people. You have to have a love, zeal and desire for your community and that’s exactly the person I am.”

Harrison got off to a rough start in life. His birth mother was beat up and raped and that’s how he was conceived. He was born with gangrene in his intestines and a herniated bowel. Doctors gave him a 10 percent chance of living as he spent the first six months of his life in a hospital.

Harrison then became a ward of the state before being adopted at the age of five. He says that growing up through social services has given him a different perspective on life and a greater appreciation of the importance of helping people.

“I’m a product that shows social service does work,” he said. “Prince George’s County raised me and adopted me and I truly want to give back to the people that raised me.”

While Harrison does display passion in wanting to serve, he knows that’s not enough to get him elected. The real estate agent had to put together a platform to convince voters in one of the most geographically diverse areas of the county to vote for him.

“The first thing on my agenda is to make sure we put the checks and balances in place for our educational system and our public safety,” he said. “We have to make sure we open up the dialogue between or community and our government.”

As a real estate agent, he is us very well aware of the current foreclosure crisis the county is experiencing. He says the next group of county officials must improve the economic situation to move the county forward.

“Right night we’re bankrupting our families and we’re bankrupting our businesses,” Harrison said. “We’ve got to create jobs within our community. Prince George’s County has to take a proactive measure of creating a streamline of new tax revenue within the county.”

Harrison faces a stiff challenge in the primary from Carol Acree, director of the Prince George’s County Crime Solvers; former Department of Housing and Community Development consultant Lee Black; community activist Tamara Davis Brown; U.S. Army veteran Ron Fisher; Maryland assistant Attorney General Mel Franklin; former Del. Juanita Miller; broadcast technician Kevin Alonzo Neale; retired Washington, D.C. police officer Catherine “Tiger” Taggart-Ross and Prince George’s County Police Commander Henry White.

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO