Prince George€s Dems Want O'Malley to do More for County

James Wright | 10/22/2009, 8:27 a.m.

Leaders of the Prince George's County Democratic Party are comfortable with the O'Malley-Brown Administration but they wish that the governor and his team would pay more attention to the needs of Prince George's County. That was the consensus at the Ploughman and Fisherman Breakfast at the Camelot of Upper Marlboro in Upper Marlboro, Md., on Tue., Oct. 13.

The breakfast is the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee's annual fundraiser and it has historically drawn the top Democratic officials of Maryland. This year was no different, with Gov. Martin O'Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, U.S. Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Dist. 4) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Dist. 8), attending with a number of members of the House of Delegates, state senators, county and local officials.

In 2006, O'Malley, who was the mayor of Baltimore, Md., joined with Brown, then a delegate representing the county in the state House, won the governor's mansion with 78 percent vote in Prince George's County. Since the election, there are some leaders who feel that O'Malley has not delivered to Prince George's in the manner that the county voters had expected.

"We need for the governor to be clear that there is a plan for Prince George's County," said Darrell Miller, the mayor of Capitol Heights. "The governor needs to be sure that he reaches out to the municipalities. True, the governor has made some strides in Prince George's, but due to the bad economy, we need help."

Del. Melony Griffith (District 25), who chairs the county's delegation to the House, agreed with Miller that O'Malley needed to pay more attention to the county.

"The governor should be working with the leaders of Prince George's," she said. "When he ran in 2006, he promised to re-locate a state or federal agency to the county and that has not happened yet. We also need more money for schools and more resources from the state given how much in taxes Prince Georgians pay to the state," Griffith said.

In his address to the gathering, O'Malley said that he understood the problems that Prince Georgians face and his administration is making progress on solving those problems.

"Our administration has increased minority enterprise dollars by 30 percent [since taking office]," he said. "In the school system, Advanced Placement scores have improved 17 percent and homicides are down by 18 percent from last year. We have an obligation to make progress but remember that every county is different. However, with Prince George's County we are by no means done," he said.

When asked whether O'Malley will have any trouble winning the county in 2010, Terry Speigner, chair of the Central Committee, said no.

"The governor is doing fine here," Speigner said. "Really, it is the state of the economy that has everyone anxious. We are in a county that has a high foreclosure rate and families are struggling to maintain their lifestyles."

Speigner said that county leaders have to do a better job of practicing "leverage politics."

"No other people are asked to vote and endorse the way we do and get almost nothing in return," he said. "That has to change because we are no different than anybody else. We have always come through for the Democratic Party here in Prince George's County and we want our state leade