This is our last issue before the city’s biennial election on May 3, so we decided to let the candidates speak for themselves. Ward 2 incumbent William Tierney hopes to fend off political newcomers Shani Warner and Connor Wilkinson. We invited each candidate to submit 300 words of their choosing. They could, we told them, use the space to make their cases to the voters, explain their platforms, or share why they’re running. Here’s what they told us.

William F. Tierney, councilmember -2011William F. Tierney II, incumbent
Age: 56
Day job: Retired
Community involvement: Ward 2 City Council member since 2006; past council president and current vice president. Member of the city’s Budget Task Force as well as the IT, Compensation, Personnel, Code Enforcement  and Finance committees. Volunteered at local soup kitchen for over a year and for the City for over 11 years; active contributing member of church; involved in several charitable and humanitarian organizations.

A lifelong resident of Hyattsville, twice elected to the city council, I have been an advocate for change. I sponsored the adoption of a nationally accredited budget process that will bring clarity, transparency and accountability to city finances.
A coalition and consensus builder, I worked with Council to provide management, facility, compensation and service delivery studies so we can now plan realistically for the future to improve city services and balance expanding costs with modest revenue projections.
We are now poised to bring forward realistic multi-year planning to address and facilitate development, new businesses, new traffic patterns, new expectations for city services and infrastructure, and new ways of looking at the city as a whole.
I cosponsored the City Sustainability Policy to preserve our resources and improve our residents’ quality of life. I advocate the completion and maintenance of the city’s roads and infrastructure, and to provide appropriate stormwater management, street lighting and renewal of the tree canopy.
I have supported our nationally accredited police force with over a million dollars investment in public safety and the use of technology to leverage staffing solutions throughout city departments.
Hyattsville has a rich history. We should continue to promote our neighborhood identities while embracing growth and diversity. I will promote the Aging in Place initiative and the Safe Routes to Schools program, and will continue to support public/private and volunteer initiatives to increase activities and services for children and seniors.
As deputy director of personnel for the U.S. House of Representatives, I received numerous awards for saving taxpayer dollars, improving benefits and service delivery at reduced costs, and excellence in multimillion dollar budget and project management.
I have the time, energy, experience, knowledge, skills, and proven ability to represent you well, and I ask for your vote.

Ward 2 councilmember Shani Warner, elected 2011Shani Warner
Age:  38
Day job:  Attorney at Williams & Connolly LLP
Community involvement: Worked to bring the Hyatt Park Community Garden to Hyattsville this year; co-captain, Ward 2 Neighborhood Watch; member, Hyattsville Horticultural Society, Hyattsville Preservation Society, Hyattsville Nurturing Moms, the H.O.P.E. listserv, the Prince George’s Community Pool and Friends of the Library. Regularly attend community meetings on topics ranging from the community legacy plan, traffic studies, the pilot trash program, speed cameras, and gang activity.

Three years ago my partner, Dave, and I bought a home together and moved to Hyattsville.  It took over two years to find what we were looking for — a place that is diverse and affordable, with a genuine, old-fashioned sense of neighborliness.  We fell for a house, but ended up getting a whole community.
Since moving here, I have thrown myself wholeheartedly into neighborhood life.  This is where we will raise our family.  I hope to use my enthusiasm, energy, imagination, and practical skills to continue the work of making Hyattsville a vibrant, safe, and walkable community, while preserving that quirky, welcoming, small-town feel which is at the heart of my love for this city.
I grew up in Harrisburg, Pa., and studied Classical Humanities and Philosophy at Georgetown University and at Trinity College, Dublin.  After receiving a master’s degree from the Great Books program at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M., I studied law at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I returned to Washington, D.C., in 2000.
As an attorney, I have worked on a wide variety of matters, from shepherding political nominees through the Senate confirmation process to representing multinational corporations to practicing intellectual property law to defending other law firms in professional liability cases.  I balance work, family and community involvement, knitting and reading in my free time.
Recent Ward 2 elections have been unnecessarily divisive and I will do everything I can to change this dynamic.  Win or lose, this is my home, you are my neighbors, and I intend to be here working hard to make this community better for a long time to come.

Connor Wilkinson, 2011 Ward 2 candidateConnor Wilkinson
Age: 19
Day job: I am currently a student at UMBC majoring in History, with a minor in Political Science. I am also pursuing a secondary education teaching certificate, and after graduation plan on being a high school history teacher.
Community Involvement: Graduate of St. Jerome’s and DeMatha; former Hyattsville Troop 224 Boy Scout; former HMB soccer coach; current  lacrosse coach at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt.

As someone who has grown up and lived in Ward 2 all my life, I have gained a lot from the surrounding community and have developed a strong pride for my hometown. Now as I enter into my adult years, I desire to give back to the city through civic service. I want to remain in the city and hopefully someday raise my own family here.
Hyattsville is a growing community that has seen a lot of changes over the past few years, especially in the development sector. However, the true fabric of a community is made up not of its infrastructure, but rather its residents.  As a councilman for Ward 2, I want to represent and work for the residents.
As important community issues like speed cameras and development projects come before the city council, the opinions of residents need to be heard and represented by the city council. I want to make sure that anything the city council does is done first and foremost with the needs of current residents in mind, and for their benefit. While it is important to attract new residents to the city, the needs of those who live here should not be ignored. In fact, they should come first.
I will strive to make sure that every resident has the tools to communicate with me directly about any issues, questions, or problems.  I believe that I am capable of being the best councilman for Ward 2, and hope that you believe so too. To keep up with the campaign or to contact me, please visit my Facebook page.
Ward 2 votes at the Magruder Park Recreation Center, 3911 Hamilton Street. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Not sure of your ward? Call 301.985.5000.