District 4 in Howard County is a diverse and vibrant place to live, but too many of our neighbors continue to face challenges that are complex and intersectional, like gaps in educational equity, a lack of affordable housing options, and growth that doesn’t always meet the needs and aspirations of our residents. I’m running to serve our communities on the County Council because I know that a more resilient, thriving, and equitable Howard County is possible in every neighborhood – for every neighbor – when we come together as one community, rooted in the values that brought us to this place to build a future that works for everyone.
One Community. One Future.
‘Everyone’ includes our new residents and those who have lived here for decades; those who earn higher-than-average wages and the heroes who work in our communities every day but often can’t afford to live in them, such as our medical professionals, our public safety personnel, and our educators. Every person who lives, works, and plays in Howard County lends to and should benefit from the culture, economic strength – and community – that have always made this such a beautiful place to call home.
This is our movement. This is our moment. This is our future.
This campaign has one foundational vision: inclusive justice and prosperity shouldn’t be so difficult for so many.
We must be more intentional in our work to move away from us vs. them – towards a vision for a tomorrow that we can all believe in. We can accommodate growth, revitalize aging infrastructure, and deliver new cultural amenities while preserving our natural environment, expanding our green infrastructure network, and improving our quality of life. We can create and sustain wealth and bring businesses and new jobs to the district while enhancing the character, strength, beauty, and history of our neighborhoods.
The best way to predict the future is to create it.
As our “new normal” continues to shift across the country and right here in Howard County, communities have responded to this moment of increased uncertainty through self-organized volunteer responses. They are taking action and demanding that their elected officials also rise to the occasion. As an immigrant, a community advocate, a parent, and a former government executive, I am intimately familiar with what happens when our policies don’t work for the people who are the most vulnerable among us – as I once was. We can no longer afford to be represented by elected officials who are not moved into action by a vision of a more equitable community.
WALKING THE WALK
Like so many of our residents, my story is one of struggle, overcoming, and hard-earned success. My home is Columbia, but I was born in Barbados. I was taught from an early age that there are no greater catalysts for individual and collective opportunity than service to community and an unyielding belief in tomorrow’s potential.
I still remember my family of five sharing a queen mattress in my uncle’s basement bedroom, where we stayed for over a year until we were able to afford rent payments on our own two-bedroom apartment home. For eight years, my family relied exclusively on public transportation to get around.
My parents worked selflessly so their children and relatives could have a better life. My mother fought to get my sister and I in “Gifted and Talented” classes when our teachers thought we weren’t a “good fit” for the program. Thanks in great part to the sacrifices and struggles faced by generations before me, to educators like David Cook, founder of performing arts troupe, Colours, and the late Lucille Clifton who gave me the confidence to find my voice through the arts, and to my family’s emphasis on education as a passport to a better future, I earned an undergraduate degree from Saint Mary’s College of Maryland in Political Science with a minor in African Diaspora Studies before receiving a law degree from Washington and Lee School of Law.
Service. Experience. Energy. Action.
I have worked professionally in both the public and private sectors, including more than six years in Howard County government at the Howard County Office of Law and in the County Administration. Before that, I worked in Prince George’s County government in the Government Operations Division on personnel matters, public safety trial boards, zoning appeals, and code enforcement. My two years in the Howard County Office of Law were spent providing a wide range of legal advice on a range of matters before the County Administration and departmental leadership.
In 2017, I was appointed by former County Executive Allan Kittleman to serve the County as an Assistant Chief Administrative Officer. County Executive Ball retained me in that position when his administration began, where I assisted in managing day-to-day operations and oversaw multiple administration priorities for several County agencies in procurement, central fleet, human resources, and human rights and equity. During this time, I worked closely on labor relations and on the County’s handling of the COVID-19 response as it pertained to ensuring continuity of essential government operations while maintaining the safety of employees and maximizing virtual resources. I also served as the Acting Human Rights Administrator for half a year, during which time the Office was restructured and the mission expanded to incorporate equity and restorative justice as a focus.
Anchored by a commitment to bring the margins to the center and ensure that diverse voices have a seat at the table, I currently serve the community in a variety of roles, including the Executive Board for the Howard County Conservancy, as an At-Large Board member of the Howard County branch of the NAACP and a Co-Chair of their Environmental and Climate Justice committee, and as Vice-Char on the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. I am also currently concluding a second term on the Hickory Ridge Village Board.
My wife, Sonya, and I live in Columbia with our two elementary-school-aged daughters.