The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The Post endorses Alsobrooks for Prince George’s County Executive

Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks is pictured at a community event in Suitland, Maryland, on Aug. 3. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)
3 min

Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D), who leads a locality of nearly 1 million people, was the focus last year of speculation that she would seek Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Though she was expected to be a formidable candidate, she instead decided to run for a second term in her current job. It’s a race in which she is regarded as unbeatable, and for good reason: Ms. Alsobrooks has been an excellent steward of a complex jurisdiction. She has earned reelection, and we endorse her in the July 19 Democratic primary, whose winner is a shoo-in to win the general election.

Barely a year into her term, Ms. Alsobrooks was confronted with the pandemic, which hit Prince George’s with particular fury. With a Black population of more than 60 percent and a woefully underfunded health department, the county’s infection and hospitalization rates soared, at times leading the state. Now, more than three-quarters of residents are fully vaccinated, including 95 percent of senior citizens, a stellar record considering the covid-19 crater from which the county had to climb. Ms. Alsobrooks — competent, unflappable, determined — deserves much of the credit.

As the county’s top elected official, she has mainly focused on what she can control. Faced with political infighting on a fractious county council, she has been generally successful in staying away from the mudslinging. Confronted with a daunting spike in crime, including more than 110 homicides last year, she beefed up the county’s spending on mental health and pushed to complete a new mental health and addiction facility.

She has notched concrete achievements that will touch the lives of residents. Those include a $400 million infusion of state borrowing, enacted by the legislature in Annapolis, to revitalize Metrorail’s Blue Line Corridor, a five-mile stretch from Capitol Heights to Largo. The upgrade, still in the planning stage, would represent a critical improvement for a part of the county that badly needs it. Ms. Alsobrooks envisions remaking the corridor as a sports and entertainment magnet — regardless of whether the National Football League’s Washington Commanders elect to replace their antiquated stadium there or relocate. It’s a smart move and a testament to her no-nonsense approach, having struck the deal with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, with whom some other Democratic local leaders prefer to squabble.

Ms. Alsobrooks was also instrumental in breaking ground for a record number of new schools around the county, which suffers from dilapidated older buildings and overcrowded classrooms. And she has provided a critical push for a new cancer center, now under construction, in a county that has lacked one for too long.

Nearly as important, she has been a good ambassador for Prince George’s, which, just over a decade ago, was reeling from a pay-to-play scandal that landed a previous county executive and his wife in prison on federal corruption charges. These days, thanks largely to Ms. Alsobrooks, the county’s former top prosecutor, and her predecessor, Rushern Baker, Prince George’s reputation is restored, even if many residents still yearn for better retail, dining and high-end local employers.

Granted, she has made some missteps, notably by naming a divisive, ineffectual figure, Juanita Miller, as the county’s school board chair. She has acknowledged that mistake and tried to rectify it, so far without success. Nonetheless, Ms. Alsobrooks has compiled an impressive record in her first term. She deserves a second.

The Post’s View | About the Editorial Board

Editorials represent the views of The Post as an institution, as determined through debate among members of the Editorial Board, based in the Opinions section and separate from the newsroom.

Members of the Editorial Board and areas of focus: Opinion Editor David Shipley; Deputy Opinion Editor Karen Tumulty; Associate Opinion Editor Stephen Stromberg (national politics and policy); Lee Hockstader (European affairs, based in Paris); David E. Hoffman (global public health); James Hohmann (domestic policy and electoral politics, including the White House, Congress and governors); Charles Lane (foreign affairs, national security, international economics); Heather Long (economics); Associate Editor Ruth Marcus; Mili Mitra (public policy solutions and audience development); Keith B. Richburg (foreign affairs); and Molly Roberts (technology and society).