- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Charles County commissioners’ Vice President Reuben B. Collins II announced Saturday at his childhood home in Bryans Road that he will run for board president in the 2014 election.
Having grown up in Charles County and witnessed its steady growth in the last few decades, Collins (D) said he believes he is “uniquely positioned” to help direct the county moving forward.
An advocate for term limits, and currently serving his second consecutive four-year term as District 3’s commissioner, he said, “I knew I was going to run for a different position.”
Collins pondered a run for the State House, and said he was encouraged to do so by supporters, but ultimately settled on seeking the commissioners’ presidency.
“I was looking at every possibility. I started looking at all of my options, but there are things I’d still like to accomplish on the local level,” he said.
Principally, Collins wants to boost the county’s commercial tax base, which he said he believes is the main thing holding it back from becoming “a major player” in the state. He said that there has been “too much emphasis and chatter” in recent years on residential growth.
“I just think when you look around, where we’re lacking is having that solid commercial base that can provide a sense of relief for our citizens. We, particularly the last two years, have had limited options in terms of balancing our budget and moving forward on very important programs, and I believe with a solid commercial tax base, you give government more latitude to make decisions that are less likely to be an increase in personal income taxes,” he said. “With a solid commercial tax base, you’ll be able to provide more revenue for education policy, for law enforcement. When you look at our neighbors in the region, even in Southern Maryland, they have a very solid commercial tax base.”
Collins said, “Waldorf will always be the primary commercial center of our county” and that he is “proud to be an advocate from the very inception” of its redevelopment plan. But he also identified the Indian Head-Bryans Road corridor along Route 210 as the county’s greatest “untapped resource.”
“I think that the western side of the county has traditionally been one of the primary commercial hubs of the entire county,” he said. “We’ve seen through the years, and certainly my observations as someone who grew up in that part of the county, is a tremendous flight of businesses that used to thrive in that part of the county.”
He pinpointed Naval Support Facility Indian Head and the Metrobus line that links it to the Southern Avenue Metro station in Temple Hills as important but underused assets.
“The basic advantages we have with that base and with that corridor — we’re hopeful and we’re looking forward to bringing mass transit to the eastern side in Waldorf in the form of light rail — but the western side has maintained Metro for years now. That’s a tremendous advantage we have right there in that corridor,” Collins said.
Collins also said that current commissioners’ President Candice Quinn Kelly (D) urged him to run for president.
Kelly declined to confirm whether she encouraged Collins to run, but did say she has yet to decide whether to run for re-election herself.
“It is my deeply held conviction that one must never run against an individual, but rather run for the position,” Kelly wrote Sunday in an email to her supporters. “As the elected Commissioner President, I shall continue to stand for you and our citizens without fail. The general election is over a year away, and I will not allow myself to be distracted by political chatter. I will focus my attention, as I have always, on serving the citizens of Charles County.”