BY SOPHIE GORMAN ORIANI
Kareem Redmond is the newly elected Ward 3 city councilmember and was sworn in for his first term on June 5. During the city’s May election, Ward 3 Councilmember Ben Simasek decided not to run for reelection, and two candidates stepped up to vie for the role. Kareem Redmond beat Alexander Houck, receiving 171 votes to Houck’s 98. (The Hyattsville Life & Times also tried to contact Michelle Lee, the newly elected Ward 4 councilmember, for an interview but was unable to arrange one in time for June’s print edition.)
Redmond grew up in Albany, N.Y., and came to the D.C. area to attend Howard University as an undergraduate. He has lived in the Hyattsville area for over a decade, he said in an interview with the Life & Times. “I moved [here] as a young professional looking for somewhere affordable and accessible, and I landed in Hyattsville and haven’t looked back,” Redmond said.
Redmond’s nonprofit-focused career has landed him at the Association of American Medical Colleges, where he helps provide professional development to people who work in hospitals and medical colleges.
Redmond said his ongoing tenure as president of his homeowners association has given him practice at problem-solving and thinking proactively about residents’ concerns. He also serves on the Hyattsville steering committee for the University Town Center Business Improvement District, which has enabled him to learn about business needs, resident needs and the intersection of the two.
Redmond noted that Ward 3 stood out from other Hyattsville wards because it was far from the city center. Ward 3, he emphasized, includes a mix of single-family houses, multifamily units, and commercial properties — as well as the Mall at Prince George’s, Northwestern High School and the Hyattsville Crossing Metro station.
Across the mix, however, Redmond said he soon discovered consistent concerns, including transportation and crime.
Redmond noted that pedestrian and bicycle safety was a big issue for many residents. “Crossing East-West Highway, you feel like it’s a game of chicken,” Redmond laughed. “If you bike, you don’t ever wanna go down East-West — or Adelphi Road for that matter; it’s a little less bad, but still leaves something to be desired.”
Redmond acknowledged that most of the crime in Hyattsville happens in Ward 3, primarily around the mall and the Metro station. “I’m looking forward to figuring out and advocating for whatever it is we need — whether it’s policy or resources or whatever can come together to address that crime. You know, if it was so easy to fix it, it would have been done a long time ago,” Redmond said. “But I think you gotta keep at it.” Redmond also noted the necessity of addressing the fentanyl crisis at Northwestern High School to best support its students and their families.
Redmond said serving others is a passion of his. “I use whatever talent that I have to help others,” he noted.
In the immediate future, Redmond said, he is looking forward to learning more about city procedures and to building relationships with other city councilmembers, city staff and his constituents. “Talking and getting to know my neighbors doesn’t stop now that the votes have been counted,” he said. “I’m excited about getting to know my neighbors on a deeper level, figuring out what their pain points are and how we can leverage city staff or resources to address them and just make life a little easier, if I can.”
Redmond intimated that he wasn’t daunted by the work he had ahead of him: “I know it’ll be hard work, and it will be challenging — but you know, I think that’s exciting too.”