Angela Alsobrooks was sworn in Monday as Prince George’s County executive at Show Place Arena, becoming the first woman ever to hold the position.
Alsobrooks, who joined the 11 county council members also sworn in during the inauguration ceremony, expressed optimism in the majority-Black jurisdiction that will open a new regional hospital in Largo in 2021, houses the D.C. region’s largest transportation hub in New Carrollton and the state of Maryland’s largest casino rests at MGM National Harbor.
“I am so proud to declare today that we don’t need to compare ourselves to anyone,” she said before a county park and planning estimate of 1,500 people. “We are a model for other to follow and every day of the week we loan this region our workforce, our intellect, our labor.”
Alsobrooks, who won the Democratic nomination this summer and ran unopposed in last month’s general election, will lead the state’s second-largest jurisdiction of slightly more than 910,000 residents.
During her 20-minute speech, she thanked dozens in attendance such as her parents, her daughter, outgoing County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland).
The loudest applause came when Alsobrooks expressed gratitude for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. However, she had a polite message for the mayor.
“Mayor Bowser, I love you like a sister and I am grateful for your friends … and your devotion to all eight wards in the District of Columbia and to the region,” she said. “So I know you won’t take this personally. Prince Georgians, write this down: we are not Ward 9.”
As executive-elect, Alsobrooks announced the appointment of several new administrators, including George L. Askew, who will become the deputy chief administrative officer for Health and Human Services. Askew, a former chief medical officer under the Obama administration, previously served as deputy commissioner of health in New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Terry Bellamy moved from Durham, North Carolina, as the city’s director of transportation to now work as the county’s director for the Department of Public Works and Transportation. He held similar positions in D.C., Arlington, Virginia, and San Antonio.
Most of the public safety leadership will remain in tact such as Mark Magaw, deputy chief administrative officer for public safety and homeland security. One change will be Tiffany Green as deputy fire chief, which the county touts as the highest-ranking female fire official in the D.C. area. Green has worked with the county’s Fire/Emergency Services Department since 1999.
In the meantime, Alsobrooks ensures she will change the perception of Prince George’s, especially when it comes to education.
Some infighting took place amongst the school board after a state audit concluded some seniors received inflated grades and incorrect attendance figures.
Some board members blamed former schools CEO Kevin Maxwell for not being a stronger leader, particularly regarding his oversight of unauthorized pay raises for certain staffers.
During a brief press conference after the ceremony, Alsobrooks reiterated that the county shouldn’t include politics when it involves children.
“We have to de-politicize education in this county,” she said. “It has hurt us so gravely. We have talked so much about adults and their positions and their power that we have forgotten to talk about our children. Schools are about kids. The conversation … has to return to the best interest of students, their teachers and their family members.”
Alsobrooks pledges for strong constituent services and take care of seniors, including those who “line-danced with me at so many events.”
Whenever music comes on at certain functions, sometimes Alsobrooks will dance which she has said helps keep people in physical shape and relaxed mentality.
Besides complimenting Alsobrooks’ intelligence, compassion and her work as the county’s state’s attorney, Baker said in an interview last week she “will be the first county executive with rhythm.”
As for the county council, six new members took the oath of office to join the now-11-member group: Thomas Dernoga (District 1), Jolene Ivey (District 5), Rodney Streeter (District 7), Monique Anderson Walker (District 8), Sydney Harrison (District 9) and Calvin Hawkins (at-large). Voters chose County Councilman Mel Franklin to fill the second at-large seat to represent the entire jurisdiction.
“I know there will be some adjustment being on council, but I feel I’m prepared and will do a good job,” said Streeter, a Hillcrest Heights resident who worked for former Councilwoman Andrea Harrison.
Walker — the first Black woman chosen to represent District 8, which includes Fort Washington, Camp Springs and Oxon Hill — said Monday she understands the significance of Alsobrooks being Prince George’s first female executive.
“We can’t wait to start working together,” Walker said from the stage while her husband, state Delegate Jay Walker (D-District 24), dabbed tears from his eyes. “We think she’s a phenomenal leader. We look forward to collaborating with her and prioritizing how we want to make this wonderful county even better.”