SEABROOK – In the race for the District 6 county council seat, two political neophytes are challenging the sitting incumbent, Councilman Derrick Davis. District 6 includes Forestville, District Heights, Kettering, Largo, Mitchellville as well as unincorporated areas of Bowie, Capitol Heights,and Upper Marlboro. All three candidates –Davis, Ryan Greene and Duane Staples – are running […]
SEABROOK – In the race for the District 6 county council seat, two political neophytes are challenging the sitting incumbent, Councilman Derrick Davis. District 6 includes Forestville, District Heights, Kettering, Largo, Mitchellville as well as unincorporated areas of Bowie, Capitol Heights,and Upper Marlboro.
All three candidates –Davis, Ryan Greene and Duane Staples – are running as Democrats.
“It’s a great county, but I’ve definitely seen some deficiencies,” Greene said. “I want to get in there and really make a difference.”
If elected, Greene said he would prioritize improving the public school system, combatting human trafficking and “making communities safer and more accessible for seniors.”
“I feel like there’s been a lot of attention put towards development, but not really so much to the people and the heart of the people of Prince George’s,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I could get in there and try to do that as well.”
Greene said as a councilmember he would go throughout the neighborhoods of the district to make himself available to the residents.
He is interested in “improv(ing) public safety” and ensuring roads are well-maintained.
“I want also to continue to increase the wealth and the wealth potential of entrepreneurs and residents of Prince George’s County,” Greene said.
A business adviser, Greene has been active in community service and founded the Jacqueline M. Kidd Foundation in 2000.
He decided to run for county council this year because “I think that residents want new people in office, they want people who are authentic, real people, but who can also go in there and represent them. I wanted to get in there and really make a difference on a bigger level.”
Staples is also looking to unseat Davis.
“The incumbent has been in office about eight years,” he said. “In those eight years, I haven’t seen the progress that I’ve hoped for. District 6 feels the same. We’re not where we need to be.
“I hope people say no to the status quo and vote for excellence.”
Staples said his priorities include improving the school system in the county, including ensuring the appropriate funds from the MGM Casino are allocated to the school system.
He is also concerned by the lack of affordable housing for seniors and insufficient support for disabled veterans and wants to improve the overall quality of life.
“There’s a lot of construction going on, and residents have no idea what’s going on,” Staples said. “There is a lack of transparency (with the county council).”
Staples has been active in his local communities as a volunteer and serving on the board of the local homeowner’s association. He was elected to the board as treasurer about 10 years ago and is now the president.
“I’ve had experience of building a community from the bottom up,” he said.
He also worked in the private sector, where he managed multi-million dollar budgets.
Davis, on the other hand, hopes his years of political experience will put him ahead of his opponents. He has served on the county council since 2011 and served as chair for two years.
“We still have work to do,” he said.
Davis said the council has been implementing the Economic Development Strategic Plan to create jobs in the county.
Davis said if he is reelected, his priorities would include the Largo Town Center as well as focusing on suburban and rural opportunities in District 6, as well, including the Westphalia Sector Plan.
He said the Largo Town Center Sector Plan “created an opportunity for the full redevelopment for what was at the time a failing retail center, into what will be a thriving medical center with a retail town center and a mixed-use development at one of our 15 metro stations. It’ll be the new downtown for Prince George’s County.
“I dare say at this point, the dirt is flying, and the bricks are coming in. Every time you see the dirt flying and the bricks coming in, you have jobs being created for Prince Georgians. That plan has got us to a point where unemployment is down (and) median income is up.”
Davis is also interested in building stronger communication with the board of education to improve the school system. While the board itself is responsible for school policies and procedures, the county council approves their budget.
“We have the limited capability to move money through budget categories,” Davis said. “We need is to make sure there is inside those categories, we are getting bang for our buck. Our process of continuous business improvement provide a mechanism that we can communicate with the Board of Education and our offices through the budgetary line items. And so, what we need to do is work together over the next four years to begin a process of sincere school reform.”
Davis previously worked for a former District 6 councilmember and in the public school system.
There will be a forum on the candidates for Districts 5 and 6 county council seats on May 24 at The First Baptist Church of Glenarden from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
This article is part of a series.