“All politics is local.”
Regardless the origin of the phrase, truer words have never been spoken in American politics. Pundits and media tend to focus on national politics and elections. Nothing dominates the news cycle like a Presidential election. However, most people who run for national office, got their start much lower on the political food chain. Town councilmen go on to become mayors or state delegates. Mayors run for governor. State delegates run for Congress. Congressmen run for Senate. Senators & governors run for President. The Democrats have been playing the local game for decades. In many places, including my own Upper Marlboro & Prince George’s County, the Republicans are not even in the game. It’s up to us to start holding our elected officials accountable. That means learning more about our local governments, how they are run, the people who run them, and what we can do to make sure our voices are heard.
Here in Upper Marlboro, there will be a Council meeting January 13, 2015 at 7:30p in the Town Hall at 14211 School Lane, Upper Marlboro, MD. The biggest item on the agenda appears to be changing a section of Pratt Street to a one-way street, but there will be updates on other projects, like a bike & pedestrian study the town is having done, and an addition to Town Hall. All of this information is in the town’s monthly newsletter. You didn’t know the town publishes a newsletter? You aren’t alone, my family has lived here since 1990, and this is the first we have ever heard of it. There are lots of other resources and interesting tidbits about our town available on their website, www.uppermarlboromd.gov.
Prince George’s County Council will be a bit more difficult to attend. Weekly meetings are held on Tuesdays at 10am on the second floor of the County Administration Building in the heart of downtown Upper Marlboro. (14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD) Their agendas were even harder to find, but the agenda from the Council Retreat last week was especially illuminating. Apparently, Prince George’s County has a deficit of over $40 million dollars this year with projections of deficits soaring $120 million by the year 2020. You don’t need a crystal ball to see where this is going. The council, stocked with nine democrats – each drawing a triple-digit figure salary from the county, is already looking into ways to raise taxes. There is a bill being floated right now, Prince George’s 413-15, that would raise the sales tax another 1%, in order to “build new schools.” If we do not get involved and make our voices heard NOW, not just to the PG County Council, but our state legislators as well, we will be seeing new taxes levied on us very soon.
Get involved, before it’s too late.