By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,

Efforts to bring a large-scale opportunity for equity and economic advancement to Prince George’s County have begun again under the new administration of Maryland Gov. Wes Moore.

“Gov. Moore has made this his number one federal issue,” Matthew Verghese, the governor’s senior advisor and director of federal relations, told the AFRO. 

Maryland has been in a nearly decade-long struggle to become the site of FBI headquarters since the General Services Administration (GSA) decided to move the location, according to several reports.

The GSA handles public building construction, according to

Ultimately, one Virginia location and two Maryland sites were selected as finalists.

“GSA has determined PG County a suitable site,” said Angela Alsobrooks, Prince George’s County Executive, at a live-streamed press gathering in March. “We believe that the Maryland site allows us to achieve the equity and fairness we’re discussing.”

Maryland Lt. Governor Aruna Miller, who was also in attendance said, “it provides direct metro access. Greenbelt will also connect to the purple line, which will connect to the DMV. Both Maryland sites will have multiple transportation options.”

Cost, site development flexibility, transportation accessibility and advancing sustainability and equity are all factors in choosing Greenbelt or Landover, Md. and Springfield, Va. as the three eligible sites for the new headquarters, according to information released by GSA.

Equity is a portion of the requirements that the Maryland team highlights when they make their case for the site placement.

Looking forward, Verghese outlines their goals.

“Our first goal is to make sure that one of the Maryland sites wins this competition,” said Verghese. “Then we have to be deliberate in terms of the sub-contracting and construction of the site [so] that minority, women-owned firms are at the forefront. That’s the pathway to ensure opportunities are available for Black and Brown residents in Maryland and across the entire country. That has to be a priority.”

The process has been long thus far and is bound to continue to be a longer endeavor, as the creation of the first independent FBI headquarters took 38 years after the first proposal and 15 years after Congress approved construction, according to the FBI’s website. Employees did not finish moving in until 1977.

“When you look at where the federal government– which is the largest employer in this region– locates their facilities, our type of county is at the bottom of the path,” said Verghese. “That’s due to several reasons. Whether redlining or lack of investment–which instead goes to places like Montgomery County or Northern Virginia– Prince George’s County has been on the short end of the stick.”

“Those are the disparities that locating a significant headquarters like the FBI would help correct,” Verghese continued. “Locating an agency, you’re talking about a generational investment in those communities.”

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is also on board with Maryland’s initiative.

In a recent letter addressed to Biden, the NAACP recognized the efforts Biden has made towards centering equity and the issues Black Americans face and said the FBI headquarters mission is a similar opportunity he should support.

“Sixty-four percent of Prince Georgians are Black, compared with only 10 percent of the population of Fairfax County,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, in the letter. “Your decision on where to locate the new FBI headquarters will either reduce or enlarge the disparities already affecting the National Capital Region. The NAACP strongly believes that choosing Prince George’s County as the FBI’s new home will do the most to advance your equity agenda.”

“Despite being home to 20 percent of the region’s federal employees, Prince George’s County received only 4 percent of the region’s federal office space. In contrast, it has received half of the region’s federal warehouses, which do little to stimulate the local economy and create economic opportunities for Prince Georgians,” Johnson continued.

Tashi McQueen is a Report For America Corps Member.