University of Maryland President Dr. Wallace D. Loh walked to the news conference podium on March 24 at the College Park campus. As Loh looked out into the room full of elected officials, residents, and university staff, he was beaming.
"F.B.I. stands for," Loh said, then paused for a deep breath and chuckled. "F.B.I. stands for Fully Behind It." Loh then started a chant of FBI with the crowd joining in.
With that, another effort to advance Prince George's County as the best option for the relocation of the new and consolidated FBI headquarters, was started. In attendance were Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Gov. Martin O'Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Sen. Ben Cardin, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards, Prince George's House Delegation Chair Jolene Ivy, Prince George's Senate Delegation Chair Doug Peters, Prince George's County Council Chairman Mel Franklin, other members of the County Council, and other elected officials.
"It is truly exciting to see that leaders from across the County and the State are united behind bringing the FBI headquarters to Prince George's County," Franklin told the crowd.
The officials and community leaders came together inform the public about this opportunity for the county and state.
In November 2013, the General Services Administration (GSA) began their search for a location to build new headquarters for the FBI. The GSA was very specific in their demands, asking for 50 acres of property within two miles of a metro station and within two-and-a-half miles of the Capital Beltway.
The new FBI headquarters is estimated to be a $2 billion economic development project and home to 11,000 jobs. Prince George's County is the only jurisdiction in Maryland that has submitted bids for the project. The proposal has offered Greenbelt as a venue for the new headquarters, which would be about two miles or less from the Greenbelt metro station. Prince George's County is the only jurisdiction that can offer direct Metro access to a future FBI headquarters without the need of using shuttle bus service to and from the Metro station.
"By working together with our partners at the federal, state and county level, we've made major investments in our schools, our transportation infrastructure and our communities," Lt. Gov. Brown said.
"Prince George's County is an embarrassment of development riches," Edwards said. "The County is without question the logical location to consolidate the FBI headquarters at one location. Prince George's County offers land, close proximity to multiple Metro stops, Joint Base Andrews, Fort Meade, academic institutions, airports, and downtown Washington D.C., while providing the most affordable option to taxpayers. A fair, transparent, and competitive process makes Prince George's County the obvious choice."
"I am proud that Prince George's County has the support of the entire State leadership for this effort and that we are all in and determined to succeed," Baker said. "I am confident that this county will soon be known as 'Home to the FBI."
Baker ended the conference with a "We're All In" chant that got the entire audience on their feet, waving their hands, raising their voices and pumping their fists.
"We're All In. We're All In. We're All In."