Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker Announces Re-election Bid, Seeks South Asians’ Support

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January 24, 2013

By Special Correspondent, Sam Prasad Jillella – Special to MYDOSTI.COM

Prince George’s County, created from portions of Calvert and Charles Counties in 1696, and named for Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Queen Anne of Great Britain, is now the wealthiest African American majority county in the US. Baker is aiming to move the county from good to great, and wants a second term.

January 24, 2013

By Special Correspondent, Sam Prasad Jillella – Special to MYDOSTI.COM

Prince George’s County, created from portions of Calvert and Charles Counties in 1696, and named for Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Queen Anne of Great Britain, is now the wealthiest African American majority county in the US. Baker is aiming to move the county from good to great, and wants a second term.

Rushern Baker to South Asians: “I am proud of where Prince George’s County is after two years in office. I believe that we are moving in the right direction. I need another term to lead the County from being good to great.” – Images/Photos Credits: Kerry Watson

SILVER SPRING, MD — Rushern L. Baker (Democrat), 54, the 7th County Executive of Prince George’s County, with a population of 871,233, was sworn-in on December 6, 2010.

Immediately after his swearing-in ceremony, in Upper Marlboro, I had a chance to interview Baker for the Washington DC-based Asian American newspapers.

I asked Baker: What are your plans for the South Asian community in Prince George’s County? He answered: “I appreciate the hard-working investment that the South Asian community has made in Prince George’s County. They added to the rich diversity—whether its health care, education, or technology. I will work closely with them.” When asked: Will you visit South Asia if you get a chance? Baker cheerfully answered, “Sure, I will.”

Two years later, on January 08, 2013, Executive Baker told me in an interview for MYDOSTI.COM: “As the County’s first official trade mission, I traveled to India in November 2011 as part of Governor Martin O’Malley’s delegation, and met with Indian business and government officials. I witnessed a number of agreements that will bring businesses and jobs to Maryland.” Baker negotiated five major business deals for Prince George’s County.

A lawyer and former Maryland House Delegate, labeled as ‘a modest man of courage and conviction,’ Baker picked a talented team of professionals to help him operate the government.

Jewel of India Restaurant: Rushern Baker addressing South Asians at his reelection campaign fundraiser—“I appreciate the hard-working investment that the South Asian community has made in Prince George’s County. They added to the rich diversity—whether its health care, education, or technology. I will work closely with them.”Images/Photos Credits: Kerry Watson

At his reelection campaign fundraiser event, on January 08, hosted at the Jewel of India Restaurant, by owner, Ananda Poojary, Baker thanked the South Asian community for helping him get elected, and requested their support for his reelection in 2014. He articulated the accomplishments of his Administration’s first two years in office.

Baker’s Administration focused on the critical issues facing the County—education, public safety, job creation, economic development, and health care access.

Education: The Baker Administration is making sure every student in every school and college in the County receives a world-class education. He has been visiting one school a week to get better acquainted with students, teachers and administrators. The priorities in education are:

  • High Student Achievement
  • Highly effective Teaching
  • Safe and Supportive Schools
  • Strong Community partnerships
  • Efficient and Effective Operations.

Public safety: Homicides are down 50 percent. “Since I took office crime has plummeted in every category. The crime rate we have now is lowest since the mid1980s. This news is crucial for the County’s reputation, for business attraction, and for our potential as a regional destination,” claimed Baker.

Economic Development: Economic Development is a high priority for the County. The development priorities include:

  • Business Attraction: The County has significant assets that we will use to attract more businesses and development.
  • Small Business Encouragement and Support: The economic future of the County will be built on small and minority-owned businesses. Baker said, “We will nurture and develop our small business community, so that it can create jobs and support County-wide economic growth.”
  • EDI Fund: The first big initiative of the Baker administration was the Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund. An amount of $50 million was set aside to actually act as stimulus money, to help businesses invest and grow.

    • The new Economic Development Incentive Fund (EDI Fund) has invested over $2.4 million into six County businesses, generating $26 million in private investment and creating over 350 new jobs.
    • In addition, by supporting local businesses and leveraging over $700,000 in State funds, the EDI Fund has helped companies retain over 620 jobs. That’s nearly 1,000 jobs created or saved in the county by the EDI Fund. The EDI Fund is paying huge dividends.

Addressing Fiscal Deficit: “When I took office, we had a $77 million budget deficit, to greet me at the door, and the following year there was a deficit of $134 million. We addressed these financial deficits with no layoffs.”

Health Care: The Baker Administration, working with all the parties— the County Council, the Governor’s office, University of Maryland Medical Center, and Prince George’s Hospital— worked out a deal to build, not a new hospital, but a new regional health care facility for the entire part of southern Maryland.

The Baker Administration worked relentlessly to reshape the way the County’s government functions, in order to improve the quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors. It also worked to improve the County’s oversight of unethical conduct.

All the County’s departments and agencies have worked in concert with the County Council, the Maryland General Assembly and Congressional delegations, the State of Maryland, neighboring jurisdictions, the County’s 27 municipalities, and affiliated County offices, commissions, and boards to implement programs. As a result, Baker claims, Prince George’s County, in two years, made significant accomplishments.

Rushern Baker (seated, center) with the South Asian community leaders at his reelection campaign fundraiser in the Jewel of India Restaurant, hosted by owner, Ananda Poojary (standing, extreme Right)Images/Photos Credits: Kerry Watson

Baker requested the South Asian community: “I need your continued support to lead Prince George’s County from being good to great.”


Community Special to MYDOSTI.COM

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