Gerron Levi said she wants to serve on the Prince George’s County Council as an at-large member because she believes effective government should be a priority for the county’s legislative body. “I am running because the county’s taxpayers need to have a strong advocate and work to try to hold the line of real property tax rate,” Levi told the AFRO. “If we do that we will improve property values and county services as well.”

Levi, a Democrat who represented District 23A in the Maryland House of Delegates, said she wants to be elected to one of the two new at-large seats on the council in 2018. She will likely be competing against Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin (D-District 9); Prince George’s County Council member Karen Toles (D-District 7); Calvin Hawkins, an aide to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, and former County Council member Eric Olson.

Gerron Levi, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, has decided to run for a county at-large council seat. (Courtesy photo)

The Democratic primary takes place on June 26. The county has a 10 to one Democrat to Republican advantage and therefore the top two vote winners in the Democratic primary are set to win decisively in the Nov. 6 general election.

Levi, 49, is a Chicago native who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law. She worked on Capitol Hill for then U.S. Rep. Gus Savage (D-Ill.) and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). She has worked in professional positions for the Laborers International Union of North America and for the AFL-CIO. In 2010, Levi ran for the Democratic nomination for county executive that was won by Baker.

While in the House, Levi [co-sponsored/sponsored/introduced/voted for] a law prohibiting the issuance of learner’s permits to teenagers who consistently failed to attend school and sponsored anti-gang and anti-gang violence legislation. She was a reliably Democratic, progressive vote on most issues.

On the county council, Levi said she will commit to help the public education system. “Education is the toughest challenge that we have as a county,” she said. “The way to fix it is for the community and government to work together.” She said that the school system faces three challenges: discipline issues within the schools, chronic absenteeism and the need to beef up after-school and summer enrichment programs.

Levi said she will sponsor legislation on the council that will protect the most important asset a family has, which is its home. She understands that there are neighborhoods, particularly in municipalities and unincorporated areas in inner-Beltway communities, such as District Heights Md., with many abandoned houses and she wants to remove that blight. “We have pockets of under-valued property in the county and we need to focus on remedying that,” she said.

In addition, she said focusing on helping county residents find high-paying jobs, smart development that includes transit-oriented development and helping small businesses prosper in Prince George’s County will be priorities.

Levi attends the From the Heart Church Ministries in Suitland, Md.

James Dula, a former president and CEO of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce, is credited with reviving that organization. He serves as the president of the South County Democratic Club, one of the fastest growing political clubs in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. “When she was a delegate, she served the people well,” he told the AFRO regarding Levi. “She put the people first.”

Dula said Levi has attended meetings of the South County Democrats and they have had conversations on issues. “She has talked about her concern about rising taxes on seniors and they should be given a break because they were here when things weren’t so good in the county,” he said. “She has also mentioned more vocational programs for young people who aren’t interested in college and cleaning up the county. She wants Prince Georgians to live in a county that they can be proud of.”