SEABROOK – After eight years severing as the State’s Attorney, Angela Alsobrooks is months away from competing for a general election that, if elected, make her the first woman and African American woman to be elected as County Executive for Prince George’s.
Leading on a campaign focused on her 21-year public work experience and growing local ties, the Camp Springs native is hoping to maintain her momentum after capturing the Democratic nomination.
Currently residing in Upper Marlboro, Alsobrooks is proud to be in the position of making history but continuing her work within her home county.
“I absolutely love Prince George’s County,” Alsobrooks said. “There are very few places in this country, cities or towns, that provide the opportunities that it has provided me, a person who grew up here…To think that the place where I grew up would provide the opportunity to lead this way is amazing.”
Alsobrooks defeated eight other candidates to win the Democratic nomination for county executive. Her victory was unprecedented, collected over 60 percent of the vote despite competing with veteran politicians like former U.S. congresswoman Donna Edwards and State Senator C. Anthony Muse.
The margin of victory stunned Alsobrooks’ campaign staff. However, for State Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, who was in the audience for her victory party, was not shocked as Alsobrooks had resonated in the community and is not a stranger to residents. Whenever there was a situation happening to a citizen in her district, Alsobrooks was always a phone call away Peña-Melnyk said.
“I found her to be very responsive to my constituent, even if it is 11 (p.m.) at night, she picks up the phone,” Peña-Melnyk said. “And to me, constituent services are important…it’s about going to extra mile and she does that, and that is why I respect her, and she has my support because she cares about the community.”
She has been a mainstay in the county since beginning her career as a county assistant state’s attorney in 1997, severing in multiple roles in and out of the court system. She was elected as the state’s attorney in 2010 and is using her longevity as a selling point to voters.
“In terms of just staying present in the community, I think that what really contributed to the very large margin of victory that we were so grateful for it and it is because the people who voted actually knew me,” Alsobrooks said.
As the county’s top prosecutor, Alsobrooks was one of several factors why the county’s overall crime rate is down 50 percent from 2010 to today, current County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said.
By establishing partnerships with the county’s police department, more cold cases have been solved while more attorneys have been assigned county cases to ease backlog issues.
“The problem in the past has been that the state’s attorney and the executive branch didn’t get along in terms of public safety,” Baker said. “You didn’t have the police department working hand-and-hand with the state attorney’s office. They were very adversarial. And in Angela’s case, it was not the case.”
In November’s general election, she will take on Republican candidate and real estate agent Jerry Mathis, who is running on a platform of re-establishing a two-party competition for the position in the county.
He said in an interview after her nomination that he planned to reach out to Alsobrooks’ primary opponents to gain partisan support towards his campaign.
However, Alsobrooks does not see Mathis’ point of view of the county as being ‘too Democrat.’ After acknowledging that residents register in large numbers in support of the party, she said that her counterpart’s way of discussing the issues is “very backward-looking” and does not look forward to helping county residents in the future.
“I have gotten a clear indication from Prince Georgians that they would like to talk about the future,” Alsobrooks said. “They want to talk about what we can accomplish on their behalf; how we can and will improve their school system; how we can and will plan to have quality retail and quality restaurants or businesses that will provide jobs for families or housing for seniors and millennials.”
Even if Mathis generates support, Alsobrooks’ campaign has continued growing since she started running for the position. Baker said he would provide support to her, believing she is the right candidate to fill in the role. Since getting to know her during her days as the Education Liaison in 2002, Baker said he admired her work ethic and willingness to go beyond her job description.
Her platform of improving teacher wages, maintaining affordable housing, providing more jobs in a growing county and continuing key crime partnerships have brought on more support for Alsobrooks’ campaign. Baker, other fellow Democrats, county leaders and separate businesses entities have announced their support since her primary win.
“Angela’s experience leading a large governmental organization will serve her well. Her work helping citizens, especially the young people of Prince George’s, is the kind of leadership we need in the county right now,” said Lisa Brown, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Maryland/DC Division said in the company’s endorsement statement.
Alsobrooks has maintained a balancing act of continuing to lead a staff of 100 attorneys and 110 administrative staff while managing a campaign and checking in her home life.
Alsobrooks’ office announced that they will be taking over the case against former University of Maryland Men’s Basketball star, Damonte Dodd, who was charged with second-degree rape in May.
On July 18, as local democratic leaders united to support gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, Alsobrooks had an arrangement for her daughter, Alex, already scheduled. Together with her daughter’s father, her mother and other family members, they help to keep life simple for the 13-year-old.
“We juggle everything like most families do, and it helps me understand a lot of the struggles that families face because we face them,” Alsobrooks said.
Despite not attending the event, the support for her campaign was noticeable as the audience released a loud ovation after Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews announced Alsobrooks’ name. Baker publicly announced his support for Alsobrooks while Jealous mentioned her in his address.
“I am absolutely committed to becoming the best governor that Angela Alsobrooks could ever hope for when she is your next county executive,” Jealous said. “We will work together to keep Prince George’s County moving from strength to strength.”
While the rigors of campaigning have slowed down since the primary, the goal has not been reached yet for Alsobrooks. Her plan of being an approachable public official and attending events like homeowner association meeting and church gatherings is the only way for people to meet her as a person, Alsobrooks said.
“We need, in Prince George’s County, a real strong dose of pride of where we live and a real sense that we are able to confront the challenges we are facing,” Alsobrooks said. “And that is what I am going to be interested in continuing and really inspiring hope in others as well.”