The Hyattsville Life & Times reached out to all candidates registered to run in the city of Hyattsville’s Ward 1 Special Election. In the election, Ward 1 residents will elect a city council member to replace Kevin Ward, who was elected mayor this spring.
You’ll find the statements of the registered candidates competing for the empty Ward 1 seat in this section in alphabetical order.
Candidate Forum Aug. 12
Join us Wednesday Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. as the Hyattsville Life & Times poses your questions to the candidates. The virtual event will be moderated by Managing Editor Emeritus Maria James.
You can access the livestream at facebook.com/hyattsvillelife.
MAI ABDUL RAHMAN
Day Job: I am currently working with a group of researchers to assess the impact of school closures on public school systems. Our data will be drawn locally (Prince George’s County Public Schools and District of Columbia Public Schools). Our research is focused on students, school principals, teachers, school counselors and psychologists. We are also examining the effect of school closures on organized local systems.
Community Involvement: Since 2018, I have had the privilege of serving on two Hyattsville city advisory committees: the Education Committee and Police and Public Safety Committee. After the lockdown, I joined the Maryland Responds Reserve Corps and the COVID-19 Task Force to control the spread of COVID-19 in Hyattsville, address the nutritional and basic hygienic needs of residents who tested positive and quarantined, and serve at the various vaccine sites within Hyattsville. In other words, before and during the pandemic, and to date, I choose to stay connected to the needs of Hyattsville on the ground, putting the needs of my neighbors and community first.
Statement to Voters: This past year has been incredibly difficult for all of us. But the perseverance I have witnessed has been nothing less than awe-inspiring. Our communal resilience through this most difficult experience is an asset that will help us get through the next phase of recovery. While we are still dealing with the pandemic and its related difficulties, we must begin building the necessary frameworks and the right support structures to recover robustly and in an equitable, just way. This requires setting the necessary supports now, before problems become too difficult to reverse. Responsive, thoughtful, and creative solutions would expand our tax base, reduce the tax burdens of home and business owners, and strengthen sensible rent policies. This serves the interest of residents, families with young children, local businesses, and would attract visionary innovators and entrepreneurs. All of which would make it possible for us to grow and thrive together. In short, I am running to improve the quality of life for all residents (renters, home and business owners). For more details, please visit maiforward1.com.
Day Job: Engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Community Involvement: Engineer, veteran and activist Michael Brown first showed interest in politics when he joined Veterans in Politics after enlisting in the U.S. Navy. In addition to his involvement with that group, Brown was deployed to the Middle East where he served his country in uniform with preparation, expertise and confidence. This experience would help shape his commitment to his country and inspire him to serve his local community.
Brown is an emergency food distribution volunteer helping to distribute over 1000 boxes once a week of USDA fresh produce, proteins and dairy products, nonperishable and perishable items.
Statement to Voters: As the next Hyattsville City Council representative for Ward 1, Brown is deeply connected to both Hyattsville and Prince George’s County with family ties to the area that extend over 30 years. Brown’s vision for Hyattsville focuses on the following: 1) Education & Art, 2) Community Enhancement, 3) Transparent & Open Government, 4) Health & Wellness, 5) Economic Development and 6) a Better Hyattsville!
I’ll work to ensure that our city council is more transparent and responsive to the needs of our residents. I believe that public engagement enhances the effectiveness and improves the quality of the council’s decisions. I’ll advocate for a culture of transparency, accountability and communication, and represent the voices of the people. I’ll champion a dynamic community that celebrates us all.
Day Job: I am retired. My careers were licensed attorney and secondary school teacher of government, economics and the law.
Community Involvement: I have no community involvements other than running for city council twice this year; and a little bit of participation in the Hyattsville census count.
Statement to Voters: The most important issue facing Ward 1 is residents’ property taxes rising rapidly. Publicizing the availability of the Homestead Act law to limit the increase of property taxes increases on a yearly basis to no more than 10% per year would be helpful. Educating all homeowners about this option would be a problem solver. The property value assessments of homes in the Historic District in and adjacent to Ward 1, as well as new housing construction near Driskell Park will influence higher property tax assessments in Ward 1. Housing rental rates will cause landlords to increase rental rates to offset their higher property taxes. The result is increased cost of living. Rent control to keep housing affordable would address this. I am running for office to improve the quality of life in Hyattsville.
- Special assistant to the chief financial officer, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), within the U.S. Department of Transportation: In 14 years at the FTA, I have supported priorities related to budget, policy, planning, civil rights, public involvement, IT, grants management, safety and emergency response/recovery.
- Earlier in my career, I managed community services for cities in Northern California.
Community Involvement: I have proactively contributed to these pivotal community conversations:
- Race and Equity Task Force, City of Hyattsville (member since 2018): We developed an equity plan to help city council preserve the affordability and diversity of our fast-growing community. With input from local experts, we identified top issues facing low- to moderate-income residents ― community engagement, policing, housing, transportation, jobs, inclusion of people with disabilities ― and recommended specific short-, mid- and long-range actions, many of which the council has pursued.
- Joint Committee on Park Renaming, City of Hyattsville: We vetted 800+ submissions from residents and recommended a concise list of names for council consideration. I reached out to a local Piscataway elder to learn about the name Nacotchtank and about the practice of land acknowledgement to recognize ancestral and existing inhabitants of the land.
- Following the September 2019 officer-involved shooting of Leonard Shand, I provided facilitation recommendations to former Mayor Candace Hollingsworth for the community meeting she hosted for neighbors to grieve together, ask questions and share concerns.
- I planned a weekly coffee meetup for the Curious Moms cohort of Hyattsville Nurturing Parents. We shared our thoughts about family leave, childcare and pre-kindergarten with former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.
Statement to voters:
- I’m ready to level up my service to the city that’s given so much to me and my family these past eight years.
- I get things done, lead inclusively and work effectively with others. By forming coalitions with cities along Route 1 and East-West Highway, we can successfully advocate for Hyattsville’s needs at the county/state levels.
- I thrive as a member of leadership teams like council that engage residents, research and discuss key issues, weigh tradeoffs, and make the best decisions possible.
- I am dedicated to ensuring benefits and opportunities are equitable and accessible to all.
Community Involvement: First and foremost, I’ve been a family man, active in my daughter’s lives as they were growing up. I judged science fairs, helped out and attended their HMB sports, high school soccer and volleyball team and club games.
Before, during and after my 16 years on the Hyattsville City Council, I attended numerous committees and organizations in the city. Currently, I try to attend Planning Committee, Health Wellness and Recreation, Environmental Committee, Age Friendly Committee, and traffic-related meetings. I’m also treasurer of the nearby Mount Rainier Bike Co-op, active in the local (Washington, D.C.) chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (past president, vp and program manager), and the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (past board member). We annually host the World Human Powered Speed Challenge where folks from around the world can set speed records on human powered bikes and trikes.
Day Job: I’m retired from daily work requirements. My past service to the city has included 16 years on the city council (past executive board member), member of the Maryland Municipal League Legislative Committee, nine-year member of the Board of Directors of the Local Government Insurance Trust (a company created by cities and counties of Maryland to insure ourselves), member of policy and steering committees of the National League of Cities.
Statement to Voters: I’m a curious, intelligent individual who gets involved with the leadership of organizations in which I participate. I have a bachelor’s in political science from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa. I tend to believe less government is better and intend to be financially careful with our funds.