Catherine Taggart-Ross to Run for County Council

Carla Peay | 10/30/2009, 5:37 a.m.

The Prince George€s County Council will have several new faces after the 2010 Election. The nine-member council will be losing five seats to term limits: Marilynn Bland (Dist. 9), Sam Dean (Dist. 6), Tony Knotts (Dist. 8), Tom Dernoga (Dist.1) and Camille Exum (Dist. 7).

Over the upcoming weeks and months, a number of candidates will be coming forward to announce their plans to run for the vacated council seats. One prominent candidate for District 9 is Catherine Taggart-Ross (€Tiger€) a community activist and organizer in Clinton, Maryland.

€It takes various skills to be an effective leader. I believe there are born leaders, and there are people who are made to be leaders. From day one, I have been a leader in the community because I see what you see. A leader takes charge, not a lot of talk,€ Taggart-Ross said. At the tender age of 12, my mother said to me, €child you have too much ML King in you€ I am now 52 years old, and want to be a voice for the community and continue to engage the citizens in District 9 to be part of a new vision for our district. My main reason for running is for the people. The citizens deserve a person who cares about delivering constituent services,€ Taggart-Ross said.

Taggart-Ross is a retired police officer, serving 20 years on the Washington D.C. Police force, primarily in District 7. During her tenure, she was awarded the Bronze Medal of Merit and the Silver Medal of Valor for risking her life above and beyond the call of duty.

€My issues are public safety, infrastructure, jobs and education. I see what they see. We do not have [adequate] schools and recreation facilities for the children in Southern Prince George€s County. Taggart-Ross said. She expressed her concern about the , growing transportation and infrastructure problems in the District.

Currently, Taggart-Ross is the co-facilitator of the District V Coffee Club, a community activist organization that meets weekly in Clinton. She helped initiate the Volunteers in Policing Program (VIPS) for the County€s police department, and completed a nationally acclaimed training program for VIPS.

€She does the work of three people. She is very committed to improving the quality of life for the people in this community. She is a pleasure to work with€ said Major David Morris, Commander of the District 5 Police Station in Prince George€s County.

Taggart-Ross and her husband Bob Ross is also a community activist. Together they assisted in the planning and organization of a bus trip to Jena, La., along with the Surrattsville High School PTSA. Ross serves as the PTSA president at Surrattsville H.S. They helped raise more than $20,000 to sponsor a trip for more than 70 students and community residents to attend the Jena Six rallies, which were held in August o

€My unique qualifications will create a change in the community and my record for community service stands out from the other candidates running for the District 9 council seat. If we are going to help our County go green and develop a new business model, we must shed old habits in Maryland politics, so the first step is to peel away the layers we have piled on in an attempt to fit in. Conformity is not unique, remaining authentic and changing with the sign of the times . . . that willingness to change and stimulating the community in which you live and work because together we can do it.

Ross believes that no community can depend totally on government services, and residents must become involved so they can become self-sustaining with government support. €The community as a whole must come together and keep each community as it was envisioned which caused people to move there. But the community will not sustain itself,€ Taggart-Ross said.

Taggart-Ross is well known throughout Southern Prince George€s County for her work. She received the Phenomenal Woman of the Year Award in 2007 from the Sisters Enhancing Sisters Networking Fellowship. In 2008 and was honored with the Ebone Image Political Award by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

€I offer substance to the community by acting, believing and the courage to make it happen. I speak what I€m going to do, and then I do what I say I€m going to do. During my 20 years in law enforcement, eight of those years I served as a community relations officer. When you get that close to a community on a grass-roots level, you began to see what they see said Taggart-Ross.

During the next coming weeks and months, Taggart-Ross plans open discussions within the community with residents.

€The new challenges we face is charting a course for the future [of our county] with things like clean energy, building energy efficient homes, improving our infrastructure and addressing overdevelopment in our communities. My constituents have my full time and attention which is much overdue and needed in the communities, which was not given in the past to our citizens. It€s time for a change because I See What You See.€ Taggart-Ross said.