The candidates’ answers to questions posed by the Hyattsville Life & Times are presented, unedited, below. For more information on the Ward 5 special election, click here.
Age: 29 years old
Day job: District of Columbia Public Schools; Resource Instructional Aide DC Preparatory Academy; After School
Community involvement: Washington Adventist University; Alumni Board Member
Statement to the voters: I sincerely believe that serving as a council member on behalf of the residents of Ward 5 in Hyattsville, MD I am more than just a representative of ward 5 but an advocate for the residents. My goals are as follows once elected to the council would be to serve as an advocate, connect with each resident within the ward and promote the patronizing of West Hyattsville businesses among the residents.
Day job: 38 years of government service with the Central Intelligence Agency
Community involvement: Past Secretary, Vice-President & President of St. Jerome’s; Catholic School HSA (Home-School Association); Past member of St. Jerome’s Catholic Church Board; 16 years on Hyattsville City Council; Graduate of Academy of Excellence in Government through MD Municipal League; Volunteered services at several City schools both Public & Private for events, testing & substituting; Past member of DeMatha HS Band Boosters; Member of Community Emergency Response Team; Member of the Citizens Police Academy; Member of Safety Committee; Chairperson of Sonny Frazier Christmas Toy Drive; Recipient of Presidents Call to Service Award; Member of Aging in Place Organization in Hyattsville; Member of Hyattsville Preservation Association; Member of DeMatha Senior Boosters; Member of Ethics Commission
Statement to the voters:
I made the decision to retire from the Hyattsville City Council after 16 years of service feeling convinced that our new Council would continue to work for the betterment of our community as I had during my tenure.
Within a short time after the 2013 election, the City had a full staff of extremely qualified personnel, offering the ability and the tools with which to serve our faithful residents.
During the next couple of years, legislation was being passed and the City was moving progressively forward, yet we were all still constantly concerned about our “quality of life.” Why? All the tools were in place, but there needed to be a reassurance by our representatives that these tools were working for us.
So I started contemplating what could be done to make our residents realize that their concerns were being heard and that they would be addressed. The more I thought about the matter, the more I wanted to continue to be a part of the process.
In my mind, this opportunity presented itself when a seat on the City Council became open in Ward 5. If I am elected to serve, with my knowledge and experience, I will attempt to enhance the ability of all of our elected officials to act with humility in the best interests of the Hyattsville community.
I am in a unique position, with three generations of my family living in Hyattsville, to be able to have a broad understanding of the needs and desires of all of our residents no matter their circumstances or stage in life. We all want the same thing – a safe welcoming community with the infrastructure to support a quality of life we all deserve.
Please know that after living in Hyattsville for over 60 years, my commitment is here with our community and I feel that this is a crucial time to ensure that everyone is working together to move our community forward.
It is in this spirit that I am asking for your support and your vote on Saturday, 12 September 2015 at Magruder Park Recreation Center.
Day job: Project Coordinator Domestic Violence Unit at The Person Center, Adjunct Professor at Prince Georges Community College.
Community involvement: Community Activist and Advocate on the rights of African Immigrants on social media (administrator of multiple pages on Facebook)
Statement to the voters: My candidacy is primarily to encourage all minority young girls and women to get actively involved in this democratic process. It’s only in this great country of ours that a female African Immigrant, who is fluent in French and Spanish, can be given the leadership opportunity to serve all members of our great community. If elected to the council, I will continue to be a tireless champion for our small business owners, high school and college graduates and immigrants from around the world who have chosen Ward 5 as their primary residence.
Day job: Program Manager Juvenile Services, DC Department of Corrections
Community involvement: Linking Communities for Educational Success
(LINK DC), At-Promise Nation, The Beyond the Block Foundation, Planned
Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Women Organized Against Rape
Statement to the voters: Neighbors, it is an honor to ask for your vote in the upcoming City Council election. My desire to be your next Ward 5 City Council Member comes from my deep love for the people of Hyattsville. I have been a Hyattsville resident since 2007. I grew up in Philadelphia, PA in a poor urban community that lacked opportunity and growth. Through hard work and self-determination I was able to rise above those conditions. Having worked as a manager and administrator for government and private organizations for the past 15 years has uniquely prepared me to serve the residents of Hyattsville. I’ve always been an advocate for marginalized communities, creating a non-profit working on behalf of at-risk youth and working as a former talk show host on CBS radio. I am well prepared to work with diverse constituents and City leaders to meet our common goals. Just like many of you I have lived with some challenges here in Hyattsville however I have enjoyed far more positive experiences and a warm community spirit that’s empowering. It was my next-door neighbor former Ward 5 Councilman Clay Williams, prior to his departure that helped encourage me to run. I want to continue the great work that Clay Williams began as a Council Member. As your representative on the Council you would have a passionate advocate that will fight for you and your families while balancing the best interests of this great City. My work ethic, management experience and never quit approach to life is what I offer to the people of Hyattsville. It would be my pleasure to be your next Ward 5 City Council Member to represent your voice, hope and vision for a stronger Hyattsville. Please support me to continue to make our
neighborhood grow strong and beautiful.
Day Job: Community Organizer and Activist
Community Involvement: Hyattsville Elementary School PTA; CASA Human Rights Committee, member; SEDUth Columbia, President; Discussions and collaboration with Ward 5 Councilor on expanding recreational programs, seeking reasonable traffic calming solutions in Landhart subdivision, and planning Ward community party.
Statement to Voters: We have to continue to strive to make our City the place where every resident and business feels embraced and thrives in safety, engagement, and prosperity. As Ward 5 Councilor, I will work to ensure that we:
Embrace & Engage culturally diverse communities:
-Empower residents to find their voice and work with City to enact solutions.
-Improve and expand accessibility to City’s services and programs.
Oversee Fair citywide investment & development:
-Incentivize local small businesses.
-Drive responsible, eco-friendly economic development.
-Aware of community needs so that all residents can live, shop, and play in City.
-Advocate for improvements in schools, parks, and community areas.
Build a culture of commitment & accountability:
-Foster sense of community.
-Energize with stable and passionate leadership.
-Maintain transparency and easy accessibility.
We will ensure a brighter future by working together. It will be an honor to hear from you and responsibly work on your behalf. Please vote for me on Sept. 12! “One Community. One City.” Rommel currently works in advocating for marginalized and low-income communities.
Declaración a Votantes: Juntos trabajaremos para hacer de nuestra Ciudad el lugar donde cada residente y negocio podrá sentirse acogido y progresar en seguridad, involucramiento, y prosperidad. Como Concejal trabajare para:
Involucrar a comunidades de diversidad cultural:
-Empoderar a residentes a alzar su voz y trabajar junto para implementar soluciones.
-Expander accesibilidad a servicios y programas de la Ciudad.
Asegurar un desarrollo e inversiones justa:
-Incentivar a pequeños negocios locales.
-Impulsar desarrollo económico responsable y eco-friendly.
-Asegurar que todos puedan vivir, comprar, y jugar en la Ciudad.
-Abogar por mejoramientos a escuelas, parques, y areas comunitarias.
Construir una cultura de Compromiso y Responsabilidad:
-Promover sentido de comunidad.
-Revitalizar con liderazgo apasionado y estable.
-Mantener transparencia y accesibilidad fácil.
Juntos aseguraremos un mejor futuro. Sera un honor escuchar de ustedes y trabajar responsablemente por ustedes. Les pido su voto de confianza Sept. 12! “Una Comunidad. Una Ciudad” Rommel trabaja abogando por comunidades de bajo-recursos y marginalizadas.
Facebook Page: Rommel Sandino for Hyattsville City Council – Ward 5
Name: Roman A. Santillan
Statement to voters: I would like to introduce myself: Roman Santillan, a librarian, writer/academic, and activist/cultural diplomat, representing not only the Latino American community but also the multicultural population of the greater Washington D.C. area, specifically.
I am originally from Mexico. I came to this country in 1987 to pursue my first master’s degree in Latin American Literature. In 2009, I moved to Hyattsville — one of most diverse communities in Maryland — six years ago. This year I decided to participate in the community by running as a Ward 5 Council seat. More than one-third of the population in this community is Hispanic (34%). Almost half of the local population (around 41.9%) speaks languages other than English.
If elected, I would address the topic of housing affordability, one of the most important issues in the community. The majority of the residents in Hyattsville are renters, that is to say, 53.3%.
I have over twenty years of experience in higher education, as well as sixteen years’ experience in academic and public libraries. From the beginning in my life in the United States, I have been involved with the local Latino and African American communities in Ohio, New York, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
In my professional life as an academic and a librarian, I have been publishing academic and encyclopedic articles, reviews, and interviews, in both English and Spanish, about Latino heritage and issues. I have developed and participated in programs for the local communities. I also have had the opportunity of lobbying for education and libraries at the local and at the national levels.
I am aware that many voices of local residents have not been heard. My priorities are the cost of housing, access to schools and culture, and community safety. If I am elected to serve, I will work to improve the quality of life for ALL of the residents of the Hyattsville community.
Based upon my track record in the community, I am asking for your support and your vote.
Day job: Correctional Treatment Specialist (Law Enforcement, DC Government)
-Spoke person for the civil society platform for democracy.
-Sent contribution to the Hyattsville volunteer fire department.
– Member of the DC ONE FUND for the department of corrections collecting charitable donations for non-profits organizations in the Washington Metropolitan Area (Including Hyattsville).
-Contribute and help with my son school Rosa Parks elementary school.
Statement to the voters: If elected I’ll make sure that Hyattsville achieve its full potential economically, culturally and socially. In fact Hyattsville is just one stop from the national Capital, but the state of our roads, houses, and others infrastructures do not reflect what we can really achieve. Also I have a background in law enforcement. I would like to see Hyattsville be a more secured community and have all felon criminal illegals removed or reported to ICE.
Registration for the 2015 Special Election closed on Friday, August 7. Candidates Susan B. Miller (withdrawn) and Roman A. Santillan could not be reached for comment.