BOWIE – Last week, two new candidates—a nurse and a political consultant—threw their hats in the ring for this year’s city election. Babatunde Alegbeleye who works as a geriatric nurse with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., has decided to run for a seat representing District 3 on the city council This will […]
BOWIE – Last week, two new candidates—a nurse and a political consultant—threw their hats in the ring for this year’s city election.
Babatunde Alegbeleye who works as a geriatric nurse with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., has decided to run for a seat representing District 3 on the city council This will be his third time running for the position after previously applying for Geraldine Valentino-Smith’s seat in 2011 and Todd Turner’s at-large seat last fall.
“Bowie is one of those cities that does not control our zoning and our planning unlike Laurel who has a lot of power over how they want their community to be,” Alegbeleye said. “So with this new council coming in, if I’m elected, that’s one of the things that I’m going to go forward, our planning and our zoning so we have the autonomy to do those things.”
Alegbeleye said he also wants to help senior citizens who rent residences, so they know what to expect when it comes to their rent.
“When I go talk to them, the main thing that they talk about is their rent,” Alegbeleye said. “We should be able to support them with the property owners to be able to see how we can help with the rent prices so they (the seniors) know what’s coming up.”
Alegbeleye also said he wants to win to help bring more diversity to the city.
“I found out our city does not know much about all the people living here,” Alegbeleye said. “We have a very diverse city, people from all parts of the world. I do believe that our council needs to be represented to reflect the people who live in the community.”
If elected, Alegbeleye said he will bring a “different approach” to governing the city.
“People want to do 10,000 things, but you’ve got to work with what’s a budget-wise priority,” Alegbeleye said. “Our decisions should be fair and we should be more transparent. So those are the things I’m going to bring about, more transparency into our city government.”
Alegbeley, 58, and his wife and seven children have called Bowie home since 1995.
Michael Esteve, a political consultant, filed his candidacy last week for District 1. Esteve started his career in politics at age 15, knocking on doors for then Councilman Douglas J.J. Peters when he first ran for the state Senate. Esteve said he has been active in the community ever since.
“I very much like the mayor. I have good relationships with (Councilmember) Diane Polangin and the others. They’re all very good people,” Esteve said. “But one area where I really wanted to bring something more, the first district, is better quality constituent services. I think our district deserves a little bit better personal attention.”
If elected, Esteve said he will go door-to-door and let folks know he is their councilman and he will share his number with his constituents and inform them of the services that are available.
“A lot of people don’t know what the city or county even does in their interest,” Esteve said. “So just making sure that they’re informed, they have phone numbers and they feel comfortable reaching out to the right people when they’re in need of something—that’s a big priority.”
Esteve said he has focused his campaign on what he calls the “3P’s”: protect the community, preserve the quality of life, and plan for the children’s futures.
Esteve said he wants to protect the community with plans to continue to gradually grow the police department over the next few years. Secondly, he wants to preserve the city’s quality of life by protecting homeowners and be “proactive” in dealing with foreclosure. Finally, Esteve said he wants to plan for future of the city’s children by developing the community “the smart way” by putting tax dollars to “efficient use.”
Esteve, 24, said he has lived in Bowie his whole life, which is why he considers himself a “veteran” of the city. Esteve said his long-term planning skills separate him from other candidates in the race.
“I think the main thing that separates me is I bring a certain amount of energy and a certain amount of use as a more long-term outlook to the city,” Esteve said. “I’m not just planning for four years down the road. I’m looking at what this community is going to be like 20 years down the road and I think it resonates with people.”