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Angela Alsobrooks prioritizes reform in Maryland Senate bid

Angela Alsobrooks seeks a Senate seat in Maryland, prioritizing education, healthcare and voting rights reforms.

Current Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is campaigning to be Maryland’s next senator. (Photo courtesy of Angela Alsobrooks for Senate)

Democrat U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland announced his plans to retire after his third term in May 2023. As the 2024 Democratic primaries approach, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks vies to become the Democrat Senate candidate in a tight race against U.S. Representative David Trone (MD-06). 

In an exclusive interview with The Hilltop, Alsobrooks reflected on her campaign and plans if elected to the U.S. Senate in November.

“There is a whole generation of people, families that I’ve served over the years, who need a person who not only knows how to deliver for families but who understands them, who shares their concerns,” Alsobrooks said.

As a native Marylander and University of Maryland School of Law alumna, Alsobrooks began her long-standing career in public service as an assistant state’s attorney in Prince George’s County, Maryland, — the first to handle domestic violence cases full-time. 

Alsobrooks said that when she became increasingly concerned about the safety of the county she was raising her four-year-old daughter in, she ran and was elected as the youngest and first woman State’s Attorney of Prince George’s County in 2010. 

During her two-term tenure, crime rates in the county dropped 50 percent and she established a unit to investigate and prosecute police misconduct. Alsobrooks then went on to be elected to her current position as the first woman Prince George’s County Executive in 2018, where she has made historic investments in education, economic growth opportunities, health care and public safety.

Alsobrooks shared how her first-hand experience in the criminal justice system and county leadership informed her approach to reform as a senator.

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“I know what it looks like to not have mental health care, addiction care or the affordable housing that’s needed,” she said. “The real hope and opportunity that comes about as a result of jobs and growing income.”

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks hosted the 39th Annual Women’s History Month Luncheon on Thursday, March 28. (Photo courtesy of Angela Alsobrooks via Flickr)

Alsobrooks launched her Senate campaign in May 2023, with a platform focused on lowering the cost of education, improving the health care system, fighting to create jobs, protecting voting rights and more.

“Those are the things that I have fought for over the last 27 years and prepared me to run for Senate because I know what families need and want, and I understand the importance of delivering those things to them,” she said.

Jamison Harris, a freshman political science major from Baltimore who plans to vote in the upcoming Senate primaries, said he believes that Alsobrooks is a qualified candidate. 

“She has done a lot of outreach to constituents and made sure that she is implementing policies that Marylanders agree with,” Harris said.

To increase access and the affordability of post-secondary education, Alsobrooks said she intends to support and collaborate with President Biden and legislators working to bring student debt relief and expand funding for Pell Grants, a federal grant program designed to assist students from low-income households.

“So, not only forgiving a portion of student indebtedness, but I think it’s going to be important overall to come up with strategies and policies to help us also bring down the cost of college, and that’s Pell Grants,” Alsobrooks said.

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In addition to championing existing voting rights legislation, Alsobrooks said she plans to sponsor the Freedom to Vote Act, which will expand voting rights, reform campaign finance laws, ban gerrymandering and strengthen ethics laws for all federal officeholders.

“Voting is foundational,” Alsobrooks said. “I will be a huge advocate of working to not only make sure we have access to the ballot but also prevent the real influence that corporations and billionaires have on our elections.”

In the primary race, Alsobrooks is up against David Trone, current U.S. Representative for Maryland’s sixth congressional district and co-owner of the multibillion-dollar alcoholic beverage retailer Total Wine & More. 

Trone has invested approximately $41.7 million in personal contributions to his Senate campaign against Alsobrooks, shattering the record for the most expensive self-funded Senate primary campaign and the fourth most expensive self-funded Senate campaign in history. 

“What we understand about public service and public office is the people who have the power often decide where resources go,” Alsobrooks said. “So, it’s important for all of us to have representatives who represent our communities, who know us.”

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks debated U.S. Representative David Trone for the Maryland Senate seat in Baltimore on April 15. (Photo via Angela Alsobrooks on X)

If elected, Alsobrooks would become the first Black Senator from Maryland and the third Black woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate. As a grassroots candidate, Alsobrooks has been endorsed by Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and over 150 elected officials, labor unions and organizations across Maryland and the U.S., including Emily’s List. 

“I think Alsobrooks can bring to the table a different perspective than what the majority of senators or senatorial candidates can produce, as well as her own different identity being a Black woman and a minority in a very white male space,” Harris said. 

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“There have only ever been 11 African-American senators in U.S. history, so this year’s primaries could add one to the books, which is very important for America’s future,” Harris said. 

Alsobrooks’ Senate campaign has garnered strong support from Howard University students, many of whom have volunteered and participated in the Alsobrooks campaign fellow program.

“Howard University students are engaged all around the country and they have been involved in politics, even in places like Prince George’s County,” Alsobrooks said. “Howard students have contributed since I ran for State Attorney’s office the very first time in 2010.”

Alsobrooks emphasized her commitment to uplifting the next generation of leaders and championing issues important to young voters. 

“I think Angela Alsobrooks is very conscious of important issues for young voters,” Harris said.

“I’m building a future that I may not even see all of,” Alsobrooks said. “The future I’m building is for [young people], and making sure that they have the opportunity to buy houses, afford the cost of living, send their kids to college, have access to quality health care and a court system that respects equality and justice.”  

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Janai Lesesne is a freshman political science major in the BA/JD program from Bowie, Maryland, who also plans to vote in the upcoming Maryland Senate primaries. 

“I believe that abortion is the most important thing for young voters and all Americans,” Lesesne said. “As a young African-American woman, I think it’s very important that we have the choice of what to do with our bodies, rather than having someone make our own decisions for us.”

Alsobrooks said that her work is motivated by not only her experiences, but also the experiences of young people who seek to positively influence the world via public service. 

“Younger generations, as a result of Dobbs, have fewer rights than my generation. So, we want to make sure that we’re expanding opportunity and not taking away opportunities,” Alsobrooks said.

She also highlighted the importance of mentorship, expressing hope that she can inspire the next generation of public servants.

“I have found not only more joy than I could have ever imagined in the work that I’ve done, but I look back now and I feel like I can see a long trail of people that I’ve helped as well and it’s the most satisfying thing,” Alsobrooks said. “I believe there’s a chance where they take over, and begin preparing for the next generation.”

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Reflecting on her journey and successes, Alsobrooks advised young people to pursue their passions, do what they love and chase what inspires them.

“Chase the thing that makes you get out of bed in the morning and help other people, and everything else takes care of itself,” Alsobrooks said.

The Primary Election day for the U.S. Senate in Maryland is May 14. The Democratic primary winner is expected to run against projected Republican candidate and former governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan. 

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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