By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, jwright@afro.com

Donjuan “D.J.” Williams has accumulated skills as a U.S. Army veteran, three-term mayor of Glenarden, and member of its city council. He wants to use those abilities to effectively represent residents of the 24th Legislative District of Maryland in the House of Delegates.

“I am running because I fought for my country for 28 years and I have fought for citizens in Glenarden and now I want to fight for my state,” Williams told the AFRO. “There is a lack of leadership in our community and I will not be bought and sold like others. I will speak my mind.”

D.J. Williams is a former mayor of Glenarden running for the House of Delegates in the 24th District. (Courtesy Photo)

Williams earned an associate degree from Prince George’s Community College in 1982, a bachelor’s degree from Salisbury State University in 1983, and a master’s in administrative management/human resources management from Bowie State University in 1992. He retired as a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Army Reserves as a mobility officer, with three tours of duty in Iraq and Southwest Asia.

According to the 2010 census, the 24th Legislative District is 85.2 percent Black and located in the central western part of Prince George’s County and it borders the District of Columbia’s Northeast and Southeast quadrants. It includes the aforementioned Capitol Heights and Seat Pleasant plus Mitchellville, Hillcrest Heights, Landover, Largo, Lake Arbor, Seabrook, Lanham, and Coral Hills.

The district’s delegation to Annapolis consists of Maryland Sen. Joanne Benson (D) and Delegates Carolyn J.B. Howard (D), Erek Barron (D), and Jazz Lewis (D). Howard is not running for re-election while Barron and Lewis are.

In addition to Barron and Lewis, Williams and his slate mate Capitol Heights Mayor Marnitta King are competing for two of three seats with Prince George’s County Council member Andrea Harrison (D-District 5), Prince George’s County Young Democrats leader Maurice Simpson, and Seat Pleasant businesswoman LaTasha Ward.

Williams served three terms as mayor of Glenarden and is in his fourth term on the Glenarden City Council. In 1997, he was elected president of the Maryland Black Mayors, and served as the parliamentarian on the board of directors for both the World Conference of Mayors and the National Conference of Black Mayors. With the World Conference of Mayors, he reached the level of vice president.

Williams said he wants to represent the interest of senior citizens, making sure they age-in-place and provide vouchers for seniors. “Many of these seniors are retired and cannot live on their retirement checks,” he said, referring to housing. “They should have a voucher where it will make living more affordable for them and they can stay in the community.”

Williams supports the return of the elected board of education and wants to help implement tax credits for telework “because traveling around the Beltway is ridiculous.”

Williams is interested in seeing minority-owned businesses participate fully in state business and in funding more incubators to reach that end.

Williams said his years as a city-elected executive and legislator would be a benefit for him in Annapolis. “I understand the administrative duties and I understand how to deal with and persuade people legislatively,” he said. “I understand the process and that will make me a better delegate for the residents of District 24.”