Senate candidate Alsobrooks casts herself as tough on crime, pro-choice mom


SILVER SPRING, Md. – Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks during a March 2 Senate candidates forum hosted by the Montgomery County Women’s Democratic Club. Katharine Wilson/Capital News Service

By Katharine Wilson
Capital News Service

WASHINGTON – Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks describes herself as a tough-on-crime former prosecutor and a mother who would defend abortion rights and bring diversity to the U.S. Senate.  

Maryland voters will decide on May 14 if she’s prepared to make the leap to federal office.

Alsobrooks is running against U.S. Rep. David Trone and eight less-prominent Democrats in the Maryland Democratic Senate primary. Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is the Republican front-runner.

In the Senate, Alsobrooks said she wants to advocate for economic growth for Maryland, reduced healthcare costs and abortion rights. Emily's List and other pro-choice groups have endorsed her.

"She is dedicated to codifying Roe v. Wade and safeguarding democracy," state Delegate Adrian Boafo, a Democrat whose district includes Bowie, said in an email to constituents May 1.

The Washington Post editorial board's endorsement of Alsobrooks "underscores her qualifications and readiness to lead," said Boafo, a former Bowie City Council member.

During an April 19 candidates forum, Trone, a father of three girls, said that he also would seek to "constitutionalize" abortion rights. However, his opponents cite a Time magazine report last year that Trone’s firm Retail Services and Systems donated to pro-life Republican candidates. 

Hogan has said he would not vote for a national abortion ban. But in a March interview with Axios, Hogan was noncommittal as to whether he would support codifying abortion as a constitutional right. 

The Maryland Senate race attracted national attention after Hogan entered the race. Several polls have shown that the popular former governor would be competitive in a potential matchup with Alsobrooks or Trone. 

A Hogan win in the general election "could flip the Senate," Maryland Treasurer Dereck Davis told CNS earlier this year. A longtime resident of Mitchellville, Davis has endorsed Alsobrooks.

Tackling crime and systemic issues

Alsobrooks started as an assistant state’s attorney for Prince George’s County in 1997, eventually becoming the county’s first full-time domestic violence prosecutor.

During her time in the latter post, Alsobrooks said there was a moment when she realized that her daughter was growing up in a place less safe than the one Alsobrooks grew up in.

Alsobrooks said she decided that there was more she could do to address systemic issues in the county.

“There were so many in our courtrooms and courthouses who were seeking second chances, and I realized that many of them had never had the first chance of success,” Alsobrooks said.

She was elected in 2010 as the Prince George’s County state’s attorney, the top law enforcement officer. Under her tenure, violent crime dropped by over 50% between 2011 and 2018, according to FBI crime data, when Alsobrooks was a part of a group of county leaders focused on crime reduction.

Alsobrooks accepted 46 out of 50 police reform recommendations in 2021 that came out of the county’s police reform work group. The tough-on-crime former state’s attorney said, “I believe that our families deserve to live in places where they have both justice and freedom.”

Alsobrooks then won her election for county executive in 2018.

Currently, the county is facing a wave of crime and unruly behavior at shopping destinations, including a teen brawl and looting at National Harbor. As a result, the Prince George's County Council is considering a juvenile curfew bill  for unaccompanied teens in retail zones

While a hearing and a vote is expected on the bill later in May, Alsobrooks has issued an executive order instating a juvenile curfew at National Harbor. She said at a press briefing that those responsible for the incident would be held accountable

The county also plans to support teens through its youth programs, Alsobrooks wrote in her blog April 25.

Prince George's State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy and Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown have endorsed Trone, while Gov. Wes Moore and many other top Democratic leaders in the state are supporting Alsobrooks.

Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Maryland, met Alsobrooks in the 1990s on Capitol Hill. “I've supported her and everything she's ever run for,” Mfume said. “I know her soul, her mind and I certainly know her history.”

Making the case for diversity in the Senate 

Alsobrooks was born in 1971 in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to a working class family. What she remembers about her childhood is how her community stressed the importance of taking care of others.

“We had an obligation to care about the success of others,” Alsobrooks said. “That has stuck with me, to really not only work hard, to make sure that we're improving the world.”

She attended Duke University for her B.A. in public policy and the University of Maryland School of Law.

If elected to the male-dominated Maryland delegation, Alsobrooks would stand out in a historic way. Only three senators in U.S. history have been Black women. Currently, there are no women in Maryland’s 10-member congressional delegation.

Without the perspectives of mothers, women and all races, Alsobrooks said the delegation is incomplete. “It is really important to have varied experiences there,” she said of the Senate. “Until that happens, I think our policies are incomplete.”

This lack of diversity is one reason why U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer said he endorsed Alsobrooks, someone he’s known for about 15 years. 

Hoyer, who represents most of Bowie, said: “I think that she will make a real contribution to the multiplicity of perspectives and opinions that we've brought to the Senate, so I'm a very strong supporter of hers.”

The experiences that Trone brings are well-represented in the Senate, unlike those of Alsobrooks’s life, he said. She has shown excellence and a passion for helping people at every stage of her career, Hoyer said in an interview.

Vowing to fight for equality

One of her priority issues in the Senate would be to promote equality and speak out against "discriminatory legislation" like  anti-trans bills, according to Alsobrooks's campaign website. Last year, she appointed the county government's first LGBTQIA+ liaison, Antonio Driver. 

Yet she did not garner the support of a key advocate of LGBTQ+ rights.

Prince George’s County Councilmember Krystal Oriadha, who endorsed Trone, claimed in a Zoom interview that Alsobrooks as county executive has not supported policies or funded initiatives that her campaign claims to support on healthcare and LGBTQ+ pride.

“I have to judge people off of their record,” Oriadha said.

Trone has criticized Alsobrooks for her support as state’s attorney for the death penalty in a murder case. Trone is opposed to the death penalty because he believes it is racist. Alsobrooks has since stated that she would not support a federal death penalty.

Alsobrooks has publicly criticized the wealthy Trone for attempting to buy the election by spending $41 million of his own money on his campaign. Alsobrooks has spent nearly $4 million on her Senate campaign, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission reports. Her major donors include ActBlue and Emily’s List.

“I do not believe that the people of Maryland are going to allow anyone to buy an election,” Alsobrooks said. “I think when they hear my record and vision, they'll support me.”

Emphasizing her push for federal projects

Another criticism Alsobrooks receives from opponents is her lack of federal political experience.

Maryland has only elected three senators without experience in the House, according to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. However, most current senators have not served in the House, according to the Senate’s website.

Alsobrooks stresses that she has experience working with the federal delegation and her constituents to bring projects and federal funding to the county. She has called the FBI move to Greenbelt an enormous win for the county.

A federal spending bill package that President Biden signed into law contained $30 million in funding for Montgomery and Prince George's counties, money that will help improve public safety, transportation and water quality in local communities, Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) said in announcing the funds. The junior senator has endorsed Alsobrooks.

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