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Jackson Wants the Best for Prince George's County

James Wright | 5/19/2010, 10:06 a.m.

A candidate for county executive in Prince George's County said that if elected he will focus on public safety, the school system and economic growth.

"In the wealthiest country in the world, in one of the wealthiest states in the nation, there is no reason why we cannot become number one in education, number one in high technology jobs and number one in providing an unequalled quality of life for our citizens," Sheriff Michael Jackson, who is running for the county's top elected position, said.

Jackson, 46 and a resident of Brandywine, said that his family dates back to the pre-Civil War era. He attended Prince George's County public schools and graduated from Crossland High School in Temple Hills, Md., in 1982. Jackson has served in the Marine Corps reserves.

He joined the Prince George's County Sheriffs' Office as a deputy and was active in the Fraternal Order of Police union, eventually becoming president of the Prince George's chapter.

In 2002, he defeated incumbent Sheriff Al Black by a narrow margin, and he was re-elected in 2006.

Jackson understands that he has a strong law enforcement background and says that he will use his experiences if elected to the office of county executive.

"In terms of crime, I have done it for the last 20 years," he said. "I believe that the more educated people are, the less likely they will commit crime."

"We need to offer our young people more career opportunities."

Jackson, who is married to Kim, and has one son, Aaron, and two grandchildren, said that improving the education system is his "number one priority."

"It is good but should be great and we can do that by adding more opportunities for our students," he said.

Jackson holds a bachelor's degree from the DeVry Institute of Technology and a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Belinda Queen, a civic activist who lives in central Prince George's County, said that Jackson's platform seems narrow.

"I heard him speak at a forum recently and he talked a lot about the police force and the schools," Queen, 47, said.

"I would really like for him to talk about the county as a whole, not just the police and the schools. I think he needs to address what he will do for residents and businesses."

Jackson said that he wants to recruit businesses to the county and grow the ones that are there as a part of his strategy to make the county more business friendly.

As sheriff, Jackson has been praised for his implementation of the first 24-hour domestic violence unit in Maryland. It is one of his proudest achievements, he said, because "domestic violence is a serious problem in Prince George's County."

His work in domestic violence impressed Del. Aisha Braveboy (D-District 25).

Braveboy, 35, of Mitchellville, commended Jackson for his efforts.

"A lot of women are hurting and what he has done helps a lot."

Braveboy, who like Jackson grew up in Prince George's County, said she also likes his ideas in regards to the school system and his vision of a countywide clinic system to address health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

Jackson said that the county's potential for growth is unlimited because areas around the 15 Metro stations are ripe for development.

"We can be the county that everyone wants to live in because of our strong Metro presence, which can produce good living through smart growth," he said.

"We can use smart growth to produce a green county that will be good for everyone, and that is what I want to do as county executive."

Queen said that she hopes Jackson will listen to the residents and not just do what he wants.

"I want a county executive who will execute the vision that the people of Prince George's County want," she said. "I want to elect a county executive who will listen to what the people want."

The Rev. Diane Johnson of Capital Heights said that Jackson is just the man to do that.

"He has proven himself to me," Johnson, 73, said.

"He has stood up for the right things and I have confidence in him."