BOWIE – Monica Best-James is a new candidate for Bowie City Council. She hopes to win the District 1 seat currently held by Councilman James Marcos. Best-James, 56, has been active in Bowie for nearly 27 years, working on the referendum to start the police department, getting traffic lights installed at intersections, along with other […]
BOWIE – Monica Best-James is a new candidate for Bowie City Council. She hopes to win the District 1 seat currently held by Councilman James Marcos.
Best-James, 56, has been active in Bowie for nearly 27 years, working on the referendum to start the police department, getting traffic lights installed at intersections, along with other tasks.
“I feel like I have been working toward the opportunity to serve the residents of District 1 on the council for years and the opportunity arose when Councilman Jimmy Marcos decided to run at-large,” Best-James said. “So I decided this was the time that I should throw my hat into the ring and see if can work from the position of a councilperson.”
When it comes to establishing her platform, Best-James wants to continue working on key issues, such as public safety.
“As you know, for example, there’s been recent criminal activity that everybody’s concerned about. So the city held sort of an open forum for the residents on July 7. I was there and I heard their concerns,” she said.
Best-James plans on promoting a “supportive system for our young people” and appreciates that the council approved a jobs program for young people from ages 15 to 25. The program is designed to help resolve the problem of some young people who do not have jobs or educational activities to engage them and help keep them out of trouble.
Education is important to Best-James and she’s engaged in helping to promote learning opportunities for the youth. She serves as the co-chair of the mock-trail committee for the Prince George’s County Bar Association and is on the Board of Directors.
“I’ve taught trail techniques in school. I’ve taught public policy. I’ve taught financial literacy and so I tend to continue engaging in that kind of activity to support the youth of our city,” she said. “As a matter of fact, my treasure is my son, who is a recent graduate of College Park. So I’m not just talking the talk, I’m living it.”
Best-James said she wants the same sort of supportive, educational programs for the youth in District 1A and District 1B because she is “very concerned” about public safety. However, she thinks voters should elect her into office because of her competitive edge and passion for helping people.
“I’m the only candidate, as far as I can tell, that’s worked at the state level. I’ve worked for the comptroller’s office. I’ve worked for the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulations. I’ve worked at the county level for Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission,” she said. “I’ve volunteered for years at the city level. I’m an experienced attorney and I have public policy experience as well. So I bring a lot of my legal training, my policy experience, and my connections to the position with me. I think that distinguishes me and I’m very passionate about my city. I’m very passionate about helping.”
Passion for helping people burns within Best-James and she said that deep down, she still considers herself a public interest lawyer. It’s a skill that she believes will benefit her if she’s elected.
“A lot of my clients are single parents and seniors and I’m very passionate about helping people,” she said. “Serving on the council gives me another opportunity to serve my community.”
Currently, Best-James works as a senior advisor for the Maryland Comptroller’s office. When it comes to the city, she doesn’t want Bowie to change. She wants it to grow.
“I would like to see the community continue to grow,” said Best-James. “I would like to see it continue to focus on becoming more connected in terms of communication and safer.”
If elected, Best-James promises to help Bowie grow in the following ways: working with community groups; working with public safety committee; working with the police department; working with the fire department; and working with the emergency services coordinator so she has a “clear understanding” of what the issues are and can facilitate any way that she is able.
“I know understanding the budget is an essential part of the process, but I’ve worked on budgets when I worked for the state and county government,” she said. “When there are opportunities to dedicate portions of the budget to help support the public safety measures, I will work toward that as well.”
According to Best-James, the city government is transparent because their city council meetings are televised and “always open” to the public.
“I have no reason to believe the city doesn’t do everything it can to be as transparent and available as possible,” she said.
If elected, Best-James said she will continue to improve and further the transparency of city council through use of technology and methods of communication.
“I have a website. As I’m speaking with voters, I’m encouraging them to go to the website and send me messages,” she said. “I will continue to share that with city staff and council members so that I’m accessible.
“I think part of transparency is accessibility and in each message I’ve received that’s how I’ve given a response. I think that’s part of it, the dialogue back and forth,” Best-James said.