Pr. Ge­orge’s top pros­e­cu­tor run­ning for county ex­ec­u­tive

An­gela Al­so­brooks en­ters pri­mary race with fel­low long­time county leader

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - MARY­LAND BY ARELIS R. HERNÁNDEZ arelis.her­nan­dez@wash­

The top pros­e­cu­tor in Prince Ge­orge’s County, An­gela Al­so­brooks, is run­ning to be­come the next chief ex­ec­u­tive in a pri­mary race that will pit her against an­other long­time Demo­cratic leader.

Al­so­brooks, 46, will com­pete in next year’s pri­mary for the county ex­ec­u­tive nom­i­na­tion against state Sen. C. An­thony Muse (D-Prince Ge­orge’s), who launched his cam­paign last month.

Al­so­brooks is near­ing the end of her sec­ond term as state’s at­tor­ney, over­see­ing a pe­riod of de­clin­ing vi­o­lent crime and growth in her agency’s per­son­nel and bud­get. She started her ca­reer in county govern­ment as a pros­e­cu­tor more than two decades ago and was ap­pointed to run the Rev­enue Author­ity be­fore run­ning for her cur­rent of­fice.

She an­nounced her de­ci­sion Fri­day on Face­book and is ex­pected to make her for­mal an­nounce­ment Mon­day at her par­ents’ Camp Springs home.

Her dec­la­ra­tion comes amid spec­u­la­tion that for­mer con­gress­woman Donna F. Ed­wards (D-Md.) is also con­sid­er­ing her own run for Prince Ge­orge’s County ex­ec­u­tive.

The cur­rent county ex­ec­u­tive, Rush­ern L. Baker III, is run­ning for the Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial nom­i­na­tion in 2018.

“I feel I know Prince Ge­or­gians. I un­der­stand the peo­ple that I am fight­ing for,” said Al­so­brooks, who grew up in the county and at­tended high school in the Dis­trict. “I’m one of them, and I be­lieve that pro­vides me a perch to fight in a dif­fer­ent way.”

Sup­port­ers say the state’s at­tor­ney is a re­spon­sive pub­lic ser­vant who so read­ily gives out her per­sonal cell­phone num­ber that her staff had to push her to get a sep­a­rate work num­ber to field calls. Al­so­brooks reg­u­larly at­tends com­mu­nity events.

Her of­fice worked closely with res­i­dents of a low-in­come co­op­er­a­tive hous­ing com­mu­nity who sus­pected that their gov­ern­ing board was over­charg­ing them for wa­ter and rig­ging the co-op elec­tions.

Al­so­brooks sent mem­bers of her team to in­ves­ti­gate the claims, and she per­son­ally over­saw the elec­tion when res­i­dents ousted the rul­ing group.

Apart from pros­e­cut­ing crim­i­nals and, in some cases, er­rant po­lice of­fi­cers, Al­so­brooks has spent the past eight years try­ing to bol­ster crime pre­ven­tion pro­grams.

The state’s at­tor­ney has cham­pi­oned tru­ancy re­duc­tion ini­tia­tives tar­get­ing mid­dle school stu­dents at risk of drop­ping out and worked closely with lo­cal churches to train clergy on the signs of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

In An­napo­lis and Up­per Marl­boro, Al­so­brooks has ad­vo­cated for bail re­form, shut­tered night­clubs with records of vi­o­lence and at­tached stiffer penal­ties for crimes com­mit­ted in the pres­ence of a child.

Al­so­brooks’s close work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Baker and many of the county Demo­cratic of­fi­cials has made her a tar­get for crit­ics, in­clud­ing Muse, who say she is be­holden to party lead­ers. The state’s at­tor­ney said she is con­founded by such por­tray­als, point­ing to her 2012 cam­paign in which she had lit­tle sup­port from Demo­cratic Party lead­ers.

“I am no­body’s punk. I am not a pushover,” she said. “It is so of­fen­sive for any­one to sug­gest that I’m un­able to think for my­self.”

Al­so­brooks broke with most of her col­leagues when she spoke out in sup­port of bail re­form changes that abol­ished Mary­land’s money-based sys­tem. “Our sys­tem fa­vored rich over poor and pun­ished poverty,” she said.

Muse brought for­ward leg­is­la­tion in An­napo­lis to roll back some of those changes and got sup­port from the bail bond in­dus­try and some in the le­gal com­mu­nity.

He ar­gued that the sys­tem needed fix­ing but that tak­ing away a judge’s op­tion to set bail was not in the best in­ter­est of crime vic­tims. The bill ul­ti­mately failed.

Al­so­brooks was also a lead pro­po­nent of Sen. Vic­tor Ramirez’s (D-Prince Ge­orge’s) 2013 leg­is­la­tion cre­at­ing sec­ond-class driver’s li­censes for un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants.

If elected county ex­ec­u­tive, Al­so­brooks said she wants to ex­pand the com­mer­cial tax base and lessen the tax bur­den on prop­erty own­ers. And she said she wants to spread eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties to some of the county’s most de­pressed com­mu­ni­ties in­side the Cap­i­tal Belt­way and ad­ja­cent to Metro sta­tions. Al­so­brooks said she is not con­sid­er­ing any tax hikes.

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