The College Park Here & Now reached out to all candidates registered to run in the November election; their brief bios are below.
Election day is Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; voting will be at College Park Community Center, 5051 Pierce Ave. Early voting is on Oct. 25, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Davis Hall, 9217 51st Avenue; and Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., at city hall, 7401 Baltimore Avenue. To receive an absentee ballot by mail, you must file an application by Oct. 23. For more information about the election, including absentee voting and ballot returns, go to collegeparkmd.gov/elections
Candidate forums are scheduled for Oct. 18 and 19:
District 1 Candidate Forum: The Here & Now is sponsoring a candidate forum on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall. To submit questions for the candidates, email email@example.com or call 443.605.6472. For more information on the District 1 forum go to streetcarsuburbs.news/college-park-2023-election-updates/
Mayoral and District 3 Candidate Forum: The Yarrow Civic Association is sponsoring a forum for District 3 candidates and the mayor on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall.
Day job: I work for the federal government. I have a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Manchester. I also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland for 8 years.
Community involvement: Before becoming mayor, I had the opportunity to serve the City of College Park District 1, representing North College Park for the past 12 years. Prior to my tenure as a council member, I served as the secretary of the North College Park Community Association. During my time on the council, I successfully advocated for reducing College Park’s property tax rate to a historically low level. I also played a role in completing the construction of the Hollywood Dog Park, the Hollywood Gateway Park and the Hollywood Streetscape project. Additionally, I contributed to improving pedestrian safety by installing flashing lights at crosswalks along Rhode Island Avenue. I initiated the Hollywood Farmers Market, Hollywood Community Garden and the monthly police-community meeting. Furthermore, I co-founded the annual College Park Day event in 2009 alongside a wonderful group of residents. I was instrumental in launching the new newspaper, College Park Here & Now, by advocating for funding at the council. To learn more about me, please visit my daily blog site at http://KabirCares.org
Statement to voters: Looking ahead, Dr. Kabir plans to continue leading College Park by uniting the community, enhancing transparency and fostering trust. His advocacy focuses on improving the quality of life with strong public safety measures, enhanced code enforcement, smart economic development, support for new small businesses, sustainable and green programs, solutions for aging-in-place seniors, improved school education and increased availability of affordable housing.
Day job: I work for one of the two major Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) in the affordable housing space. I’m a credit risk policy professional in the policy implementation & communications team. My team develops governing policies aimed at mitigating housing discrimination in underserved communities, ensuring homeownership remains attainable for all.
Community involvement: I’m an active member of the North College Park Community Association, Neighbors Helping Neighbors and have advocated for the needs of our community members before council on important issues, such as early voting.
Statement to voters: The major motivating factors behind my campaign are increased transparency from city leadership and creating a sustainable development model that does not sacrifice our current communities. Residents feel frustrated about the lack of communication from their representatives on decisions that impact their neighborhoods. The onus should be on leadership to ensure information is easily accessible, as an informed city is a prosperous one. Our residents should not be left in the dark nor wonder where their leaders are. I understand the importance of open dialogue and will be readily available to address the needs of our residents. I’ve spent nearly a decade working in finance, focusing specifically on affordable housing and urban planning. I know there is an important balance between growing our city and maintaining the integrity of our existing neighborhoods. I have the tools and experience to turn your ideas into action, and I’m excited to work tirelessly on behalf of the people of District 1 and the city as a whole.
Day job: I have been a small business owner for 13 years. I own The Bamboo Eater, a small retail store located in North College Park. We have 4.7 stars on Google and have been at the same location for all 13 years. Being a small business owner is a job that requires constant creative problem solving, critical thinking skills and personal judgment calls. I will bring that same level of commitment and foresight to the discussions that come before city council.
Community involvement: I ran for mayor in the special election to highlight the issue of illegally modified vehicles but now I am running for city council as a full candidate. For the last two years, I have been meeting public officials and speaking at city council meetings in an effort to better understand the issues the community faces and how to implement change to solve them. I hope to offer simple solutions that will have lasting impact.
Statement to voters: I believe an effective government can increase quality of life for everyone. When we over-prioritize the development of a particular space we put all our eggs in one basket. Smaller, mixed-use development will result in a healthier economy and more vibrant city. We can use a vacancy tax to make sure that large owners are making use of their space. When big apartment buildings have lots of empty units, when commercial spaces have empty storefronts, that is causing economic harm to the city. I believe code enforcement can be more efficient. Writing detailed laws allows for effective citation which can be used to address systemic problems. Parks and other greenspace uplifts the community, and we should make native greenspace a priority. When we landscape with native plants we are proudly proclaiming the beauty of Maryland. The city should increase the amount and frequency of micro loans, especially for local nonprofit organizations. When the city gives money to small entities, we can give repeatedly, and our dollar goes farther. I am excited for the opportunity to represent District 1 on city council and I would be honored by your vote.
Day job: I am a hostage affairs officer in the U.S. Department of State and member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves.
Community involvement: American Legioner, Post 217 College Park, North College Park Community Association, member Hispanic and Latin Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies, veteran co-chair, attend city council meetings, attend civic advisory committees
Statement to voters: My campaign for city council is personal. I want my younger brother and sister, short- and long-term city residents, and the next generation of College Parkers to feel heard, represented, and valued as members of our community. My career and life experiences have taught me how to navigate complex issues and multifaceted relationships. I will apply those lessons to represent our district on city council and tackle the issues important to our neighborhood. If elected, I pledge to analyze with an empathetic heart, listen with an open mind, honor the oath I serve, and represent the best interests of District 1. I am committed to maintaining and enhancing the local institutions that have helped me prosper and live the American dream. I know we can do this together. I humbly ask for your vote and support. Learn more at https://www.jacobthernandezforcp.com/
Mi campaña para ser Consejero Municipal es personal. Quiero que mis hermanos menores, todos los residentes de la ciudad, y la próxima generación de College Parkers se sientan escuchados, representados y valorados como miembros de nuestra comunidad. Mi carrera y las experiencias de mi vida me han enseñado cómo afrontar los problemas complejos y las relaciones multifacéticas. Aplicaré esas lecciones para representar a nuestro distrito e el Concejo Municipal y abordar los problemas importantes para nuestro vecindario. Si soy elegido, me comprometo a analizar con un corazón empático, escuchar con una mente abierta, honrar el juramento que sirvo y representar los intereses del Distrito 1. Me comprometo a mantener y mejorar las instituciones locales que me han ayudado prosperar y vivir el sueño Americano. Sé que podemos hacer esto – juntos. Humildemente pido su voto y su apoyo. Aprender más en: https://www.jacobthernandezforcp.com/
Disclaimer: ”The views expressed are those of the candidate and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US Air Force, Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State, or the US Government.”
Day job: I’m a self-employed IT and PC hardware support contractual worker. However, my degree from the University of Maryland is in natural resources management with an emphasis in environmental education and parks management.
Community involvement: I grew up in Hawaii with strong family values and sense of community. I have lived in the immediate area since 1991. When we bought our home in College Park in 2005, I looked around and thought things could be better. I wasn’t going to be someone to sit on the sidelines and complain about it. I got involved volunteering and then serving on committees. I first served as a co-chair on the animal welfare committee, and then moved over to the committee for a better environment (CBE). I also served on the redistricting commission. When development (now Monument Village) threatened our neighborhood, I stepped up to act as a liaison negotiating with the developer, the city and the county to reach a solution that was acceptable for our neighborhood.
Statement to voters: When I was asked to run for council, I figured it was the next step to serving my community better. I was a councilmember for one term in 2013-2015 in District 4. After that I went back to serving on the CBE. I have served on the Good Neighbor Day Committee since 2014. I served as the chair of the Bee City USA Committee from the beginning. I serve on the UMD Institutional Bio-Safety Committee. I was also on the last redistricting commission. I am currently enrolled in the Citizen’s Police Academy. My pet project has been the permaculture garden on the trolley trail between Greenbelt Road and Tecumseh Street. I aimed to create an edible landscape that is beneficial to pollinators and wildlife and that shows children where their food comes from and offers them a healthy snack. I will strive with you to improve our quality of life. I believe a great community is the result of what we put into it. I offer you my experience and dedication for the best of College Park.
Day job: I am the master distiller at Shmidt Spirits Distillery in Beltsville, which I also sell at the Hollywood Farmers Market. I am also a lead proposal writer, technical editor and technical writer for LinkVisum Consulting Group, a management consulting and information technology firm.
Community involvement: I am the secretary of the North College Park Community Association; I volunteer time and energy to both Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and Holy Redeemer School; I have acted as a proactive community point of contact for our mayor and city council representatives regarding District 1 resident interests, including the Hollywood Dog Park and Hollywood Farmers Market; and my distillery supplied hand sanitizer to the food bank and Attick Towers during the pandemic.
Statement to voters: I am running for office to ensure that District 1 remains a place that residents feel happy and fortunate to call home. I believe that my 13 years of living as a tenant and homeowner in North College Park, combined with my time as a student at the University of Maryland, make me a singularly knowledgeable and experienced candidate. I have rented here, I have bought a home here, I am raising a daughter here, and I am growing a business here. Residents in this city have spent too long watching our representatives advocate for interests that do not align with the desires of our community while often belittling the opinions of those who call these neighborhoods home. I want to act as an advocate and a voice for everyone who has felt that the residents and homegrown businesses of our city have been ignored and spoken over. It is in the best interest of the community to promote and maintain a growth plan that remains firmly invested in local small businesses and those who want to live and raise families and age in place here in College Park. We need community spaces built with the community in mind. We need infrastructure improvements that truly benefit residents. We need representation that actually reflects neighborhood desires. I am the candidate best positioned to work toward those goals.
Day job: University of Baltimore, associate vice president of student success and dean of students.
Community involvement: Councilmember (District 2); College Park City-University Partnership, housing and development co-chair; Community Preservation Trust, advisory committee; College Park Food Bank, volunteer, finance committee.
Statement to voters: I am running for re-election because I have a vested interest in the city and its future. I have made this community my home for over 20 years, and I have watched it grow and develop during that time. I embrace the city’s vision of being a “vibrant, forward-thinking, welcoming city that celebrates its history and diversity,” and I want to continue to serve and do the work needed to help us achieve that vision for all residents. It is my goal to listen, be responsive and advocate for the interest of District 2 residents and the residents of College Park.
Day job: I walk or bike to work as administrative coordinator for UMD’s Office of Special Events, and, prior to last year, I worked as an HR and business manager for a software company. My job experience ranges from human resources, procurement, tracking budgets, property management, and HIPAA security to contract negotiation.
Community involvement: I am wrapping up my first two-year term as a District 2 Councilmember, which takes most of my free time. Prior to serving on council, I co-founded the DC Lady Arm Wrestlers, which raised $55,000 for charities benefiting women & children, and I served a two-year term as treasurer for my daughter’s PTSA, bringing it into compliance for the first time in its 14-year history. Locally, I distribute “The Berwyn News,” contribute to the College Park Community Food Bank and attend Committee for a Better Environment meetings.
Statement to voters: My husband and I moved to Berwyn in 2005. We soon started a family, and money was tight. Things are easier now, and our daughter has thrived in the area’s public schools. I’m a runner and dog owner who loves the parks, trails, businesses and diversity of College Park. I want to continue the city’s progress while ensuring it remains an affordable, desirable place to live, study, work and retire. I realize we have an increasingly challenging environment for small businesses and will seek solutions to help them prosper in our city. I believe in truth-telling and communication, so I created “The College Park District 2 Digest” with Councilmember Esters (District 2) to keep you informed. My goal is to further your interests by mixing advocacy with pragmatism. I believe we can build a stronger College Park by working across neighborhoods and districts, rather than caring only about our own corner of the city. I don’t believe I have all the answers, so I listen openly to my constituents’ ideas and concerns. Finally, I believe in the restorative justice process and the healing it can bring not just to Lakeland, but the city as a whole.
Day job: Manager, business service where I lead a team of business consultants addressing workforce and economic development in Prince George’s County. Team has administered over $6.5 million to small businesses in Prince George’s County.
Community involvement: I’m an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and a tutor for its Guide Right program, a college preparatory program. A member of the 100 Black Men of Prince George’s County who strives to provide caring and transformative leadership and mentoring guidance that encourages our local youth. I mentor in the following Programs: 100 Golf, Saturday Leadership Academy, financial literacy programs and coach the 100 Track team. Youth organizer with Embry AME Church in College Park Lakeland Community. A volunteer for the City of College Park events (Friday Night Live, Movie Night, Lakeland Day, College Park Day). I am a member of Alfred Street Baptist Church.
Statement to voters: I am running for the city council not for a title or position, but because I am deeply passionate about serving you, my neighbors, and friends. I envision a College Park where everyone feels heard, valued and empowered. Together, let’s shape the future of our city — a future rooted in connection, transparency and fairness. My professional experience as a special ed teacher taught me patience and the importance of tailored solutions. As a corporate trainer, I’ve honed my ability to simplify complex issues. By assisting refugees and skilled migrants, I witness the resilience of the human spirit. My service with elected officials, both domestically and internationally, has provided me with invaluable insights into effective governance, policy creation and the complexities of leadership. My time in London, England, Dublin, Ireland and Wellington, New Zealand, not only broadened my worldview but also instilled in me a deep appreciation for the nuances of diverse cultures and community needs. Having met and interacted with individuals from all walks of life across the globe, I’ve learned that at our core, our dreams and aspirations are often aligned. I humbly ask for your trust, your support and your vote as we work together to build a bright future for College Park.
Day job: Stuart Adams is a community resilience engineer for housing, transportation, and disaster mitigation as a program manager at Stantec’s Prince George’s County office in Laurel. He manages and supervises technical support to local, state and federal agencies, including Amtrak, GSA, FEMA, National Construction Safety Team and White House Council on Environmental Quality. Adams’ expertise in floodplain administration, sustainability and resilience provides a strong understanding of community development and engagement.
Community Involvement: Current city councilmember (District 3), former president of Calvert Hills Citizens Association (3 years), Maryland Municipal League Emergency Management Officials Department, led community advocacy to preserve Albion Woods, championed Calvert Road Park tree sculpture enhancement, community leader of Save Guilford Woods, previous College Park Parks & Recreation committee member, member of Prince George’s County Climate Action Plan Resident Advisory Group, Committee for a Better Environment Green Award recipient, National League of Cities Community & Economic Development Committee and University Communities Council.
Statement to voters: Adams represents District 3 with a proven record of community-focused action and results. As a first-term city councilmember, Adams immediately pushed the city’s letter to the University of Maryland to preserve the Guilford Woods. He then led the closure of the slip lane in front of 7-Eleven at the corner of Baltimore Avenue and Guilford Road, diligently worked to add tow-away zone markings on the trolley trail, and coordinated with residents to install the Your Speed sign on Radcliffe Road.
He has supported the Elderly Property Tax credit and kept homestead increases at 0%, while also leading the city’s FY24 budget allocation for over $200k in business retention grants to help save displaced small and minority owned businesses in Campus Village Shoppes.
Adams elevates resident voices to aggressively pursue direct conversations on public safety and QOL. He currently leads the city’s implementation of a vacant property tax to reduce purposeful vacancies by commercial landlords. He is also spearheading a pilot program for rental assistance, secured investments in a downtown pedestrian plaza for events and weekends, and started the initiative to bring social sports including pickleball and kickball to College Park. Please visit StuAdams.com.
Day job: John serves as the operations director for a federal public health and health security agency.
Community involvement: John Rigg has been on the College Park City Council and proudly representing District 3 since 2017. He is past chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Health and Human Services Committee, serves on the legislative committee of the Maryland Municipal League and serves as a volunteer paramedic. Prior to his council service, John was a president for five years of the Calvert Hills Citizens Association and a commissioner on College Park’s Advisory Planning Commission. John is a former youth soccer and basketball volunteer coach and an active member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Old Town.
Statement: I am an experienced, pragmatic and progressive community leader who has been honored to serve the residents of College Park District 3 since 2017. I believe in working closely with College Park communities to help imagine an even better city where everyone can feel welcome and find a place to live, study, play and pray. I’m proudly running on a record of accomplishments, from establishing new day care center options for working families in our city, protecting natural places and preserving them as park land, helping to develop affordable housing so that more people can afford to live in our city, and championing infrastructure investments for sidewalks, trails, and sewer improvements. I’m eagerly looking forward to another two-year term and would be thrilled to have an opportunity to continue serving. I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to reach out via my website at jrigg.net
Day Job: I am retired. I worked as an agricultural specialist for the Farm Credit Administration and NASA. I home schooled for 26 years. I substitute taught, worked as a tutor and ran my own businesses. Now I spend most of my time caring for my aging mother.
Community Involvement: I am very active in church. I volunteer in the children’s department. I also work feeding and welcoming UMD international students every Friday night in cooperation with several area churches. I am a member of the College Park Woods Neighbor Watch team. As a College Park City Councilmember I am given opportunities to be involved on the Council of Governments, where I chair a committee. I am the council liaison to the city’s educational advisory committee and also serve on the grants committee for the city. I am working on the organization of Good Neighbor Day. I am a member of CMAST, a committee dedicated to safety and welfare for UMD students. I volunteer at most city events and attend many meetings representing our city.
Statement to voters: I have deep roots in College Park and care about the future of the city. I love living in College Park and it is my desire to make College Park a place where everyone loves to live, work, study and enjoy. I am a good listener and very patient. I desire to serve my fellow residents so I care about their cares and concerns. I am well-qualified and experienced.
Day job: Prince George’s County Government. County Councilmember Ingrid S. Watson (District 4). Director of constituents services and municipal outreach.
Community involvement: West College Park Civic Association, board of directors; City of College Park Education Advisory Committee, member; City of College Park Advisory Planning Commission, member; City of College Park City-University Partnership, education committee co-chair; Prince George’s County Municipal Association, past president;. Prince George’s County Elected Women, past president.
Statement to voters: The residents of District 4 deserve a candidate with experience, leadership, and dedication which is why Mitchell seeks re-election. With the clear understanding of the previous term, Mitchell will continue to work alongside the mayor, her colleagues, and our residents to ensure that services in our city are not interrupted and that your quality of life will not diminish. With a forward-thinking mindset, we will bring new means to support our city, such as grants for homeowners and businesses to keep them viable and successful. It will take a committed leader who understands the current setting to provide a progressive vision that aligns with the current strategic plan to move our city out of the hard times of COVID-19 while moving towards a true direction of an inclusive, diverse and collaborative city. The residents of District 4 and all residents in our city deserve to have affordable housing, a thriving partnership with the university that allows for employment opportunities, education advancement and a promise that their tax-dollars will be spent wisely. Mitchell looks forward to the opportunity to serve another term on the City of College Park City Council and asks for your humble support to achieve this in November. Please feel free to contact Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 240-391-8803