Prince George’s County Council Gains Two At-Large Seats

A Washington Post article (2016-11-10) reported that the Prince George’s County Council will gain two additional at-large members in January of 2019 as a result of a ballot initiative that was supported by county voters during the November 8 election. From the article:

The new positions are seen as an opportunity for the council to have a broader, less parochial focus and for district lawmakers who are in the second of their two permitted terms to remain on the council if they run countywide. …

There are currently five second-term council members: Obie Patterson (D-Fort Washington), Karen R. Toles (D-Suitland), Mary Lehman (D-Laurel), Andrea Harrison (D-Springdale) and Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro).

Harrison and Franklin campaigned in support of the council expansion at polling stations. Democratic Party insiders say both appear to be interested in the new seats.

The article noted that County Executive Rushern Baker III and Council Chair Derrick Davis also supported the expansion. However, support for the measure was not universal:

“Most people who learned about the issue rejected the ballot question,” said Larry Stafford of Progressive Prince George’s, a coalition of labor and community organizations. …

“It was very hard to make an education pitch when someone is walking into a polling place and has just a few minutes,” said Suchitra Balachandran, who was one of a few dozen people campaigning against Question D at polling places across the county.