McAl­lis­ter cho­sen as next CCDCC leader

New chair to fo­cus on com­mu­nity re­newal

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By CHAR­LIE WRIGHT cwright@somd­

Mem­bers of the Charles County Demo­cratic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee (CCDCC) unan­i­mously elected Abena McAl­lis­ter last Tues­day to suc­ceed Gil­bert Bowl­ing as chair of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“I’m pleased and I’m hon­ored to be chair of such an il­lus­tri­ous com­mit­tee,” McAl­lis­ter said. “I want the en­tire com­mit­tee to reded­i­cate our­selves to en­sure Democrats are elected to pub­lic of­fice. I also want to en­cour­age the par­tic­i­pa­tion of ac­tivists and vol­un­teers.”

McAl­lis­ter joined the com­mit­tee in 2014, serv­ing as par­lia­men­tar­ian for the past three years. Bowl­ing will have served a sin­gle fouryear term as chair. Carmella Davis-Watkins will take over for McAl­lis­ter as par­lia­men­tar­ian.

“I’m priv­i­leged to have led the com­mit­tee these last three years and I can’t think of a finer suc­ces­sor than Abena,” said Bowl­ing in a press re­lease.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing with cum laude honors from Ny­ack Col­lege in New York, McAl­lis­ter earned her doc­toral de­gree from the David A. Clarke School of Law. She worked in the of­fice of coun­cil­woman Yvette Alexan­der and also served as a law clerk in the Mary­land Of­fice of the Pub­lic De­fender prior to join­ing the com­mit­tee.

Dur­ing her time un­der Alexan­der, McAl­lis­ter drafted the Car­diopul­monary Re­sus­ci­ta­tion and Au­to­mated Ex­ter­nal De­fib­ril­la­tor Re­quire­ments Act of 2013, which re­sulted in a pro­gram across District of Columbia schools es­tab­lish­ing pro­ce­dures for med­i­cal emer­gen­cies.

“She’s such a go-getter,” said Vir­ginia Bene­dict, the long­est-tenured com­mit­tee mem­ber. “I’m just so im­pressed with ev­ery­thing she does. Com­mu­ni­cat­ing with peo­ple and get­ting things done ... that’s the type of per­son you need as our leader.”

McAl­lis­ter’s one-year plan is cen­tered on re­newal within the county. She is seek­ing to in­crease voter turnout as well as par­tic­i­pa­tion from ac­tivists and vol­un­teers. McAl­lis­ter has al­ready made ma­jor strides in the com­mu­nity, most no­tably by start­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion Women of Ac­tion Charles County (WOACC), which fo­cuses on women’s rights and fe­male em­pow­er­ment. The group ini­ti­ated a women’s march through La Plata in March and, in a few months, par­tic­i­pa­tion has grown from 44 orig­i­nal mem­bers to more than 400.

“I think my back­ground has shaped me into the type of leader that is a ser­vant first,” McAl­lis­ter said. “I want to serve the peo­ple, I want to find out how I can bet­ter the party.”

For­mer CCDCC chair and cur­rent mem­ber of the Mary­land House of Del­e­gates Edith Pat­ter­son ad­vised McAl­lis­ter to re­main fo­cused on the mis­sion and to be fair and im­par­tial.

“As a for­mer chair, I un­der­stand the crit­i­cal role that the chair plays,” Pat­ter­son said. “She’s smart, her track record is solid, and I com­mend the com­mit­tee for vot­ing her in.”

McAl­lis­ter and her hus­band, Wil­lie, live in Wal­dorf with their 1-year-old daugh­ter and two Shih Tzus, Char­lie Brown and Manny. She gave a spe­cial shoutout to her spouse of nine years for be­ing so sup­port­ive through­out her ca­reer.

“I just want to thank my amaz­ing hus­band,” McAl­lis­ter said. “He’s just an awe­some, sup­port­ive guy and I’m grate­ful for him.” Twit­ter: @Char­lieIndyNews

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