The people in Prince George’s County’s 6th District will have an opportunity to change direction, have a do-over, and set the direction of their community possibly for the next eleven years when the polls open to fill the seat left by Leslie Johnson after she resigned in a cloud of scandal. Three candidates have gotten most of the attention in this race but we have decided to back just one, Derrick Leon Davis.
As a former administrator in the county public schools Davis knows more than anyone the need for a greater focus by county officials on education in the county and his experience as a former employee will help identify where all of the bodies are hidden. A close ally of Executive Rushern Baker, Davis will have the potential to go into office with the same sense of urgency and message Baker did after Jack Johnson left saying to his peers, “I am here now and I need your help to do big and important things for a group of people who are demanding action fast and now.” The good thing is that at least three of his possible counterparts (Campos, Franklin and Harrison) support his campaign and likely will support his efforts to move fast at healing the wounds left by Leslie Johnson.
Davis also has made a top priority of his passage of the Economic Development Incentive proposed by Rushern Baker. As a council member who will represent many inside the beltway communities this fund is been proposed to help, Davis has the right position in our opinion, it should be passed and should be passed soon. The only way to lift up our more established communities is through jobs and development and despite what some candidates will have you to believe it will take government spending. Rushern Baker is right on with his EDI fund and he needs allies like Davis on the council sending that message.
In supporting Davis it is hard to overlook the great candidacy of Arthur Turner. The board debated the difference between the two men a lot and honestly just couldn’t come to say that Turner winning would be horrible for the county. The key factor in this decision basically came down to who Turner decided to align himself with going into this campaign and at the end Davis broke through. When most people in the county decided the only way to truly move forward was without Leslie Johnson council members Toles and Ingrid Turner stood in the way and in fact allowed their blind allegiance to friendship to overtake what was best for the county. Even after Ingrid Turner used Leslie Johnson to win the gavel in a tight election for chair of the council only to sack her later without any committee assignments, both Toles and Turner had to be pressured into finally taken the drastic actions of restricting access to staff and benefits for almost a year. Their endorsement is just one part of the problem. Turner is also supported by Sam Dean who when faced with a public rebuke over plans to publicly finance a soccer stadium sought to silence citizen input. A wise man once said you can tell the character of a man by who he surrounds himself with, Arthur Turner just has too many question marks left in our minds.
The final headliner is Mark Polk. Nothing could be worse for the council than the election of Mark Polk. Prince George’s County needs now more than ever elected officials who want to work together. The county does not need a man going to the council to be the minority vote and that is just what Mark Polk will do if he is elected. His campaign has been nothing more than one that rips apart the long records of service by Arthur Turner and relationships of Derrick Davis. He has however failed to offer any positive solutions about what he will do on the council other than fighting against what the other two will do. That just is not a message about the future of the county we can believe in.