In the Face of a Potpourri of Challenges, Baker Upbeat

Barrington M. Salmon | 3/8/2012, 1:59 p.m.

What was most telling, as Baker recounted, were the many instances where state and county officials in the past made choices that have come back to haunt residents. For example, Prince George's County has few if any reentry programs for those who are returning home after being incarcerated.

"We're going to have the greatest number of young people coming back with few resources to deal with them," said Baker. "In the county, every segment of government is affected: economic development, family services, social services, healthcare and housing. We're taking all the resources, even taking money out of a discretionary fund, but none of this is enough to deal with the volume of people coming out."

Baker cited the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the lack of drug treatment centers and scarce affordable housing as among the areas most critically affected by previous elected officials' poor decisions.

Yet, in the face of all this, the mandate is clear, Baker asserted.

"We have to deal with these issues. These are issues of our own making. We have to be aggressive about what our priorities are. We have targeted certain areas - social services, education and healthcare. These are directly connected to our children. We have to address these issues. They are now ours."