COLLEGE PARK – College Park’s mayoral race is underway with only four weeks left until election day. The two candidates for the seat are Mayor Pro Tem Denise Mitchell and District 1 Councilman Patrick Wojahn. The race is only the second contested election since 1989. Board of Elections Supervisor, Jack Robson, anticipates competing numbers at […]
COLLEGE PARK – College Park’s mayoral race is underway with only four weeks left until election day.
The two candidates for the seat are Mayor Pro Tem Denise Mitchell and District 1 Councilman Patrick Wojahn. The race is only the second contested election since 1989.
Board of Elections Supervisor, Jack Robson, anticipates competing numbers at the polls.
“I expect this will be a very competitive race,” Robson said. “Both candidates have served on the city council for a number of terms so they are well known to the voters and district.”
Mitchell is a 40-year resident of College Park Woods. She is a councilmember of District 4 and has served on the city’s council since 2009.
Mitchell’s primary focus is creating a “One College Park” approach.
“Currently there are four districts with different representatives, so we should all work collectively in developing College Park,” Mitchell said. “I want to create a visiting session for our residents so they can create a blueprint of how College Park should look like.”
Additionally, Mitchell wants to better communication and transparency between the community and city officials.
“I want to reach out to stakeholders, such as the university, business owners, and students, to help get them more involved and engaged in the city,” Mitchell said. “That needs to be done by actually going into the community and taking community walks just to hear what residents would like to see in College Park.”
Prior to serving on the council, Mitchell was on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Municipal League, a member of the West College Park Civic Association Board of Directors, and served as chair of the Education Advisory Committee.
Mitchell was appointed Mayor Pro Tem by Mayor Andrew Fellows in 2011. She believes her knowledge and leadership experience best suits her for mayor. She said her experience as Mayor Pro Tem, combined with her leadership and management skills, have provided her with the knowledge and experience to fulfill this position.
Candidate Patrick Wojahn has been a resident of northern College Park for 12 years and has served the on the city council for the past eight years.
Wojahn’s main goal is to enhance the city’s development through collaborative efforts between the community, university and College Park officials.
“I want to work with the residents to make sure we’re creating a community vision in what College Park can be in 10 years,” Wojahn said. “I’d like to get involved with the university and developers to help implement the resident’s goals.”
Wojahn thinks that community involvement is a key factor as the city continues to grow.
“I’m concerned that if we don’t work with the university and the county, then we could be overwhelmed by development and it may turn out to be something residents don’t want,” Wojahn said.
Wojahn also wants to improve the city’s communication. He said working with code enforcement would help the staff be more responsive to residents.
“Whenever our residents have a question, they should respond within 24 hours,” Wojahn said.
Improving downtown College Park is also an area of focus for Wojahn. His goal is to bring in favorable businesses to develop a satisfying downtown for residents.
“Residents want to see high quality restaurants, coffee shops and to solidify that vision we should work with the university,” Wojahn said.
Wojahn is actively involved in community engagement throughout College Park. He started College Park Day in 2010, which is a community event that highlights the diversity among businesses, organizations, and communities within College Park.
In addition, Wojahn founded the College Park Community Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed to support community organizations and projects.
Much like Mitchell, Wojahn said his record and experience shows what he’s accomplished on the council and what he can do for the city.
Although Mitchell is mayor pro tem, Fellows has also endorsed Wojahn.
“Both are qualified candidates for mayor,” Fellows said. “Mitchell did a good job as Mayor Pro Tem, but Wojahn is a more suitable candidate. He has a couple more years experience on the council and has done a good job with expressing leadership throughout the city as far as what’s best every community.”
The College Park municipal election is held Nov. 3 from 7:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m.