By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, [email protected]
Seat Pleasant businesswoman LaTasha Ward is running to be a Maryland State delegate because she wants her district to be treated with the same respect that other districts’ residents get.
“I have lived in District 24 all of my life,” Ward told the AFRO. “There are some things that need to get done here and I want to be the one that facilitates that.”
Ward is the owner of Go Central Express, which is located on Central Avenue in Seat Pleasant. She is a 1986 graduate of Fairmount Heights High School and 1991 graduate of St. Peter’s University in New Jersey.
District 24 is located in central Prince George’s County that borders the District of Columbia on the west and goes beyond the Beltway in the east.
The district is 85.2 percent Black, according to the 2010 census.
Ward currently represents District 24 on the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee and was elected in 2014. She wants to make it clear that in her mind, the needs of District 24 residents come first.
“We have an education system that is ranked [academically] 23 out of 24 [counties and Baltimore City] in the state and that is unacceptable,” Ward said. “That ranking doesn’t reflect the caliber of the people in the county. We must do something to improve our educational system because we are losing teachers to Montgomery County, Virginia and D.C. because of pay and other benefits.”
Ward noted that the county budget has a $144 million surplus and some of that could be used to pay teachers better. Also, she said that the county needs an all-elected school board.
“The board should be held accountable to the people, not just one person,” Ward said, indirectly stating that the CEO of the Prince George’s County school answers to the county executive.
Ward said that some young people who live in the 24th Legislative District have a bleak picture of their future and she wants to change that.
“These young people will eventually need jobs that provide a living wage and they can only get those through training and education,” she said.
Ward said that returning citizens should be provided job training also.
Ward refuses to get involved in the geographic politics that sometimes defines Prince George’s County.
“I will be the voice of the people inside the Beltway and outside the Beltway,” she said. Ward’s business is located in the inner-Beltway but she lives in the Holmehurst Bowie community that is in the outer Beltway.
Ward wants tougher penalties for reckless driving and child abusers, additional care for drug addiction, a registry for domestic violence offenders and safer crosswalks for pedestrians.
She is also interested in rent control for seniors and providing tax relief to small businesses, such as hers, to help operating costs and hire people.
Ward has received endorsements from local elected officials such as Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant, Capitol Heights Mayor Shawn Maldon, and Fairmount Heights Mayor Lillie Thompson-Martin as well as from county officials such as Cereta Lee, the Register of Wills. Former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey supports her and so does outgoing longtime Maryland Delegate Carolyn J.B. Howard (D-District 24).
“We need a leader who understands the 24th district,” Howard said. “LaTasha Ward is that leader.”
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