BOWIE – Local residents in Bowie used the “stick to what you know” method in the voting booths during the city elections last week and also elected two new members to the city council. Current city of Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson will return to run the city for his ninth term and aims to […]
BOWIE – Local residents in Bowie used the “stick to what you know” method in the voting booths during the city elections last week and also elected two new members to the city council.
Current city of Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson will return to run the city for his ninth term and aims to “get things done.” He is joined by a few of his previous city council members, in Isaac Trouth (District 4) and Diane Polangin (District 2).
“Obviously I’m very pleased and proud and humbled by the fact that people still liked the direction we are going in and happy about the direction the city has been going for the past few years,” Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said. Robinson collected a total of 4,164 votes (63.90 percent), beating Dennis Brady’s 2,093 votes (32.12 percent) and Keith Jackson’s 249 votes (3.82 percent).
Polls were open on Nov. 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in eight different polling places, two for each district. This was the first election with candidates serving four-year terms, two incumbents and a newcomer vying for the mayor’s seat, with 18 candidates in total. According to the city of Bowie, there were 40,439 registered voters for the 2015 city election.
“We have brand new members, Courtney Glass, who I think is going to be a positive asset. She’s smart, a lawyer by training, and she’s got experience working with Annapolis and Upper Marlboro, so I’m optimistic of a smooth transition for her,” Robinson said. “Esteve is a young, aggressive and positive campaigner and I didn’t see anything negative from either of their campaigns while running, which I can appreciate.”
District 3 elected Courtney Glass, who obtained 708 votes (56.15 percent). She beat Babatunde O. Alegbeleye, who had 170 votes (13.48 percent), and James Scott Hessberger Jr. with 379 votes (30.06 percent).
Michael Esteve won District 1 with 844 votes (49.16 percent) against Monica Best-James (467 votes), Jenmaire Dewberry (308 votes) and Pauletta G. Handy (97 votes).
“I think they both come with the idea that the city is doing well and they both understand the challenges they will inherit in representing their district, but they want to take that good thing and make it even better,” Robinson said. “I am pleased with the caliber of the council I will be working with and I am convinced they understand the city is their client.”
Residents will see some familiar faces in the two at-large city council seats. Three incumbents James Marcos, Henri Gardner, and Dufour Woolfley, campaigned to win one of the at-large seats and the race was pretty close. Gardner collected 3,630 (34.63 percent) votes, while Marcos collected 3,575 (34.11 percent) votes to win the two seats. Woolfley was close with 3,261 votes, but was knocked out of the race.
“(The win) shows there’s a lot more responsibility that comes with being a representative across the entire city as opposed to it being just a district,” Gardner said. “It is still a seat on the council, but what it does is it affords me the opportunity to meet so many more of our residents that I haven’t had the privilege of meeting prior to now because I was representing District 3.”
Gardner plans to start a private partnership to create a summer jobs program for the city’s youth and improve upon the “already great service for the seniors.” Another focal point for Gardner is continuing to provide safety in the community by cutting down speeding and traffic in the region.
Both at-large candidates agreed that both of the new council members coming on board, Glass and Esteve, are “young, exciting, and have more energy.”
“I’ve always said you need a balance of maturity and youth to move things forward,” Gardner said. “It’s great that we have millennials on the council who can give us some insight into that community because we have a lot of millennials living in the city of Bowie. They are the future of Bowie and I think it’s a great mixture and the energy they will bring to the council an only be positive.”
Marcos said both of the new candidates have the “credentials and smarts” to back up their potential. He also said Robinson has been a great mayor and the election reflected that.
“It did seem important for me to step up because when I filed the (at-large) seat was vacant and I was the most experienced,” Marcos said. “It was important because it was my duty to step up. I had a strong feeling that I’d be in either way because I had the most tenure on the council.”
Marcos said the last council was really good at working as a team and he’s excited to be on this new team, “leading them.”
“It feels amazing to have won and a little overwhelming thinking about the huge responsibility I’m excited to take on,” Glass said. “I’m now responsible for about 10,000 people and ensuring that their lives improve. I have learned a lot from our residents and they were happy to see someone a little bit younger on the council who can bring fresh ideas and new energy to the city.”
Glass looks forward to continuing to attract and retain quality retailers, specifically at the Bowie Town Center. She also hopes to implement a STEM program that can serve as enrichment to students in public schools.
“I also want to make sure seniors have transportation to get to the stores, medical appointments, and look at rent control because they did not receive a cost of living increase in their social security yet their rent is going up, so I want to make sure that senior residents can thrive and grow as well,” Glass said.
Many of the winners said they are saddened by the loss of some of the council members who will not be returning this term. Woolfley and Brady will still be considered the council members’ friends and colleagues.
“I consider Dennis Brady to be one of the finest, most decent people in the city of Bowie. He is going to be missed by a lot of the residents, but he will definitely be missed by me,” Gardner said. “He was a fine entertainer and someone who helped me along the way and I always be grateful for that.
“Woolfley has a very bright future. He’ll be back,” Marcos said.
Robinson said he is especially saddened by the council’s loss of Woolfley and wants to continue to see him stay engaged in the city.
“I would work to see if there is anything we can tap him into,” Robinson said. “The problem with that was arithmetic. They had three great people running for two seats.”
The winners of last week’s election will be sworn in on Nov. 16 and will serve a four-year term.