Prince George’s Proud
Why Angela Alsobrooks’ First State of the County Address Is More Than Just An Update
By Raoul Dennis // Photography by Frank Solomon
In all the ways that matter, Prince George’s County is moving in a positive direction.
The primary indicators are all good and prospects of economic development are grinding ahead with deliberate pace.
County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks outlined the greatest gains and ambitions of her young administration in her first State Of The County Address June 11 hosted by the Prince George’s Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable. But the most poignant message of the county executive’s remarks centered on building pride in the county in order to continue fueling the momentum of the past decade. Alsobrooks aimed at the hearts and souls of residents, business owners, elected officials and stakeholders with her message that the days of hopeful glimmerings for the county’s potential are in the rear view mirror and that “Prince George’s County has arrived.”
And Ms. Alsobrooks nailed it.
The timing of the message follows the launch of several initiatives by the administration that include new business development, the creation of destination points, addressing the county’s trash issues and a significant $1.5 billion education victory in Annapolis among others. She’s also working on challenges with food deserts while launching a needed new Office of Veterans Affairs. Alsobrooks’ bold effort to increase the county’s summer youth employment program will move forward this week with some 6,000 young Prince Georgians. In keeping with her resounding theme to be close to her constituents because ‘one cannot lead communities that one doesn’t know or understand,’ Alsobrooks has spent a great deal of her first months visiting dozens of housing associations and neighborhood groups to keep her finger on the pulse of their concerns.
But the impressive stats were just the surface of the Alsobrooks message. It was acknowledgment important to residents and business leaders alike that the continuous economic strength of the county make it a marketable player on the national stage.
The county executive made clear that pride in Prince George’s is the common denominator central to its continued success.
There are reasons pride and unity are important now.
First, as Prince George’s moves toward a million residents in the region’s remaining growth jurisdiction, the county will draw greater attention from outside interests. It’s important for county leaders to help forge an identity that will unite Prince Georgians now but especially into the future.
Second, the administration has tremendous popular momentum and political capital that can be directed toward tremendous progress. The Alsobrooks Administration came into office with over 60 percent of the vote and the sweeping popularity of one of the county’s favorite daughters. Smartly activated, that momentum can be applied toward galvanizing efforts that will lead to important victories. Alsobrooks’ focus on obtaining education funding rather than sparring with Maryland Delegate Mary Ann Lisante over a racial slur is a small example of the county executive steering the conversation rather than following it. A proud, united Prince George’s allows the executive the freedom to make bolder moves in the future and the base strength to leverage it.
Third, home pride is its own reward. Over time, it inspires cleaner towns and cities, it attracts better teachers and professionals – and retains them as well. It encourages deeper business commitments and elevates local economies – which eventually raises property values and commercial space rentals. It’s a gift that keeps giving in ways more immeasurable than measured but invaluable to the potential of a growing metropolis.