For the 2017 Election race, 12 candidates vied for five seats on Hyattsville, Md.’s city council. Community residents locked in their decisions on May 2, resulting in the addition of two new faces to the council and wins for three incumbents. Newly elected council members will serve until 2019.

Ward 1 incumbents Bart Lawrence held onto his seat against his challenger with 467 votes and Ward Four councilmember Edouard Haba keeps his seat with 106 votes. Robert Crosslin ran unopposed for his Ward 2 seat. Ward 5 councilmember Erica Spell and Ward 3 councilmember Carrianna Suiter are new to the council, winning their seats by 75 votes and 136 votes, respectively.

Erica Spell is a new council member for Ward 5 in Hyattsville, Md. (Courtesy photo)

“I’m anxious, but, all in all, I’m feeling pretty good and I am feeling hopeful,” Spell told the AFRO.

Magruder Park Recreation Center orchestrated Election Day polling for both Wards 2 and 5. The City Municipal Building housed Ward 1 resident voting, while the University Christian Church facilitated Ward 3 voting, and the St. Matthew’s Episcopal Anglican Church hosted election voting for ward 4. Polls opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m. that day.

“Not to say that I am surprised but Hyattsville is such a diverse city – but my ward in particular, Ward 5, I would say is probably the most diverse and that was confirmed with me by knocking on doors. I mean we saw every nationality and age group. So it just sort of also reconfirmed my commitment to serving them if I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to do so,” Spell said before the final votes were tallied.

Of the five candidates who won, three are Black and two are White. “What I’m really interested in is what we can do going forward because what’s in the past is in the past,” Ben Zeitler told the AFRO. He unsuccessfully ran for the Ward 5 seat.

One of the issues Ward 5 resident Keith Hickman said he wants addressed is youth crime. He also said he is looking to see progression in recreational spaces for the youth, and more accessibility to education. Hickman has resided in Hyattsville for 30 years.

“Over time, you want to see things change with the times,” he said. “And that is police departments, fire departments. Let them change with our diverse community.”