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Rushern Baker officially files as candidate for Pr. Geo.'s County Executive

Jonathan Mummolo

Baker.jpgFormer Del. Rushern L. Baker III (D) filed as a candidate for Prince George's County Executive Friday, his campaign spokesman said, marking the official start of Baker's third bid for the post amid what is shaping up to be a crowded race to replace term-limited executive Jack B. Johnson (D).

"Excellence isn't a dream we have, but a choice we make," Baker said in a statement.

Baker is widely considered to be a top contender in the race, having shown impressive ability to raise money and get several key law enforcement union endorsements.

However, the field for the September Democratic primary also includes several other big names in county politics, including Sheriff Michael A. Jackson, and County Council member Samuel H. Dean (D-Mitchellville). Del. Gerron S. Levi is the only other candidate to file so far, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections Web site. County Council member Tony Knotts (D-Temple Hills) and Henry C. Turner, Jr., chairman of the Veteran's Commission for Prince George's County, are also running.

Baker's campaign had announced he would file earlier this week, but postponed the event due to travel difficulties, campaign spokesman James Adams said.Baker also ran in 2002 and 2006, but lost both times to Johnson.

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  March 12, 2010; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County  
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outsider hatorade - I am not a PG resident, but PG needs better. I have interacted with this guy before. we do not know one another, we are not friends nor enemies. When i found out he was a state senator/legislator, I could not believe he could even be a PTA president. he's ambitious, but qualified and competent? i just don't see it.

Posted by: oknow1 | March 12, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Anyone can have an opinion, Oknow1. But what is yours based on?

Rushern Baker was instrumental in passing the Thornton Education bill, which is bringing tens of millions of dollars to Prince George's County schools every year. Certainly he was an extraordinary legislator.

May be, I am missing something. What is the substance of your opinion, please?

Posted by: Hellmut | March 12, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

the Thorton Education Bill was a joke, it was an unfunded bill that is in the process of bankrupting the state. Since Thornton was passed, thousands of state workers habe been furloughed and will be again, hundreds may be fired, and the quality of PG schools has hardly changed.

Posted by: VikingRider | March 12, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

State workers have only been furloughed in fiscal 2010. The Thornton bill was passed early in the decade.

Therefore, it is illogical to blame Thornton for the furloughs. The current budget crisis is largely a result of the recession.

Posted by: Hellmut | March 12, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The current state budget crisis is partly a result of the lousy national economy, however, it is because of programs like Thornton, that were approved with no funding source, that the state is way deep in the hole. what kind of a leader is it who pushes programs and services when there is no money to pay for them? If you are in private business, and you try to expand without the cash on hand to do it, you will fail (unless you're a bank thats too big to fail and then your uncle Sam bails you out).BTW I am not a state worker but I know people who are, they are being furloughed in FY11.

Posted by: VikingRider | March 12, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Rushern Baker's legislative accomplishments were not limited to Thornton, but he certainly deserves part of the credit for that bill, which has helped all Maryland counties, not just Prince George's. It was passed with Republican and Democratic support, and was allowed to go into law by a Republican governor.

The debate over a "funding source" is a red herring. The Maryland Constitution requires the state to provide an "adequate education" for all students, and that is what the law is designed to do. It does not require a dedicated funding source any more than state police or prisons or other essential functions do. In fact, the danger of pinning education on a dedicated funding source is perfectly exemplified by what has happened with slots, which was sold as a boon to education.

Anybody who argues that Thornton has not helped improve the public schools, in Prince George's or other counties, simply has not followed the news or read the statistics, or is being deliberately misleading.

The bigger problem is that two years ago the legislature and Gov. O'Malley gutted Thornton by repealing the automatic inflation adjustment contained in the original bill. In addition, the bill's Geographic Cost of Education Index, designed to compensate counties with a higher cost of living, has never been fully funded. Finally, Prince George's has lost millions of state education dollars because of an anomaly in state law that favors high-income jurisdictions like Montgomery County.

As to furloughs of state workers: we all should be concerned about their loss of pay and lowered living standard. But ask the 1600 or more employees of the Prince George's County School System who have been laid off because of budget cuts and unfulfilled funding promises whether they would have accepted a few days of furlough instead, and I think it might shift your perspective.

The greater danger now is that the hard-won gains Prince George's students made in the first six years of Thornton now will be lost because so many of the programs that were implemented to help them are being dismantled.

Posted by: drmerkowitz | March 12, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Good luck Rushern! Mr. Baker will make a great County Executive. He has the character, work ethic and compassion to lead Prince George's to its fullest potential.

Posted by: voteforbaker | March 12, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

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