Larissa Ferrer of Upper Marlboro said she believes true beauty is achieved when design and functionality are merged and as the towns newest commissioner, she said she hopes to use her background as an architect to make Upper Marlboro a more practical, attractive place to live.
Ferrer was elected as a commissioner after the town held its biennial election Monday.
She ran unopposed along with Upper Marlboro residents Steve Sonnet and Jim Storey as candidates for the town’s three commissioner positions.
Ferrer said she decided to run for a commissioner seat because she has a passion for local politics and thinks active residents can make a difference in their communities.
“Things always change,” Ferrer said. “I don’t want things to change for the worse. I want them to change for the better. I believe the success of our country as a whole starts at the local level.”
Sonnett, the town’s current president of commissioners, said Ferrer has been active at town meetings and is confident she will do well on the commissioner board. She has a background in architecture and a passion for the town, so she will be a great help in the town’s plans to renovate downtown Main Street, Sonnet said.
The town recently submitted an application to become a Maryland Department of Planning Sustainable Community, which would allow access to grant money for town projects, Sonnet said.
“I think her skill set will be a great asset to the town,” Sonnet said. “We are trying to renovate and update infrastructure as part of the sustainability community application.”
Ferrer said one of her goals as commissioner will be to work with residents to create a design standard for the town. Design standards would help the town preserve its character during renovations or future construction, she said.
She also mentioned attracting other businesses that aren’t bail bondsmen, a business staple in Upper Marlboro since the Prince George’s County correctional center is about two miles away.
“The future depends on the emotional condition of the residents,” Ferrer said. “We have to be happy and content.”
Ferrer received her architecture schooling in her homeland of Russia at the Moscow Architectural Institute, finishing the degree in 1986. She moved to Hawaii in 1991 before coming to Upper Marlboro in 2011 because she wanted to be closer to flights to Russia in case she needed to leave on short notice to see her family.
After arriving in Upper Marlboro, she said she started attending town meetings, eventually joining the Upper Marlboro Historical Committee, a group that collects and archives information related to the town.
Kate Germano, the committee’s chairwoman, said Ferrer’s volunteer efforts have proven a genuine interest in the town.
“She is a really good volunteer and believes in the town,” Germano said. “She is committed.”
Ferrer’s first day in office will be at the town’s next meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Town Hall, 14211 School Lane, Upper Marlboro.