By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]

After more than two decades, the City of Bowie has a new mayor and for the first time in its history, he is Black.

In what came as a shock to many in one of Prince George’s County’s most vibrant communities, Timothy J. Adams won by claiming 42 percent of the vote to defeat four other candidates in a virtual landslide. Adams got 3,477 votes and easily out-distanced Dennis Brady, who finished with 2,721  and Len Lucchi who ended with 2,600. Both Keith Jackson and Emerson Dewitt Ruth garnered 140 votes.

Last year, he ran unsuccessfully to represent Maryland’s 23rd District State Senator seat.

Timothy J. Adams was elected as Bowie’s first Black mayor. (Courtesy Photo).

“We have to embrace the historically significant milestone this represents because it’s 2019 and we’re still talking about firsts like this,” said Mayor-Elect Adams to the AFRO. “I’m humbled to be the first African American mayor, but I hope to be a mayor for all of Bowie.”

This will be the first change in city leadership in 20 years. Nearly 4,000 Bowie residents voted in the mayoral election after a campaign that was more provincial than political.   

The residents were clear about the issues affecting their city while blocking out the political clutter from national influences just miles away.  It was also clear to local political experts that residents’ top priority was to end over-development because of the stress on the town’s infrastructure and maintain a clean and family-oriented city. A desire to keep the city of Bowie safe was paramount to most voters as well.

“I am for true economic development, which involves bringing more 21st century jobs into the area,” Adams said.  “But we have to do it in a balanced way. We can’t just continue building real estate developments and lose the ability to keep our neighborhoods safe.”  

 Adams and his wife, the Honorable Sheila R. Tillerson Adams, have lived in Bowie for 25 years and are active members of the community. He is currently the president and CEO of Systems Application and Technologies, a company he founded in 1989 that specializes in technology and technical support areas for the defense industry. The mayor-elect feels his experience in the private sector as a businessman gives him the perspective to run the city.

“When you run a company you have to understand budgets and find waste,” Adams said.  “You’ve got to make the tough decisions and build consensus among people from all walks of life.”

Adams hopes to unify the town of Bowie after canvassing 19.25 square miles knocking on 15,000 doors to achieve his milestone political victory.  Various agendas from different neighborhoods seem to have slightly fractured the community. However, Adams has a theme he hopes will mend the fences and bring all the political sides together.

“We’re divided in the sense we’re just getting over the election,” Adams said. “I am focused on bringing the city back together in line with what residents want, and to move forward in strategic and inclusive ways. This is what the theme, ‘One Bowie,’ is about.” 

Adams also serves as a role model for disabled Americans.  He was paralyzed from the waist down following a fall during a visit to the Tidewater area of Virginia in 2004. Mayor-elect Adams was diagnosed with an incomplete spinal cord injury and lost the use of his lower extremities. However, Adams never gave up his zeal for public service.

“I want other disabled Americans to know that the sky’s the limit,” Adams told the AFRO.  “Being disabled doesn’t limit the chance to serve and I hope to be the inspiration to let others know they can still make a difference.