Members of the Charles County Democratic Central Committee (CCDCC) unanimously elected Abena McAllister last Tuesday to succeed Gilbert Bowling as chair of the organization.
“I’m pleased and I’m honored to be chair of such an illustrious committee,” McAllister said. “I want the entire committee to rededicate ourselves to ensure Democrats are elected to public office. I also want to encourage the participation of activists and volunteers.”
McAllister joined the committee in 2014, serving as parliamentarian for the past three years. Bowling will have served a single four-year term as chair. Carmella Davis-Watkins will take over for McAllister as parliamentarian.
“I’m privileged to have led the committee these last three years and I can’t think of a finer successor than Abena,” said Bowling in a press release.
After graduating with cum laude honors from Nyack College in New York, McAllister earned her doctoral degree from the David A. Clarke School of Law. She worked in the office of councilwoman Yvette Alexander and also served as a law clerk in the Maryland Office of the Public Defender prior to joining the committee. During her time under Alexander, McAllister drafted the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillator Requirements Act of 2013, which resulted in a program across District of Columbia schools establishing procedures for medical emergencies.
“She’s such a go-getter,” said Virginia Benedict, the longest-tenured committee member. “I’m just so impressed with everything she does. Communicating with people and getting things done ... that’s the type of person you need as our leader.”
McAllister’s one-year plan is centered on renewal within the county. She is seeking to increase voter turnout as well as participation from activists and volunteers. McAllister has already made major strides in the community, most notably by starting the organization Women of Action Charles County (WOACC), which focuses on women’s rights and female empowerment. The group initiated a women’s march through La Plata in March and, in a few months, participation has grown from 44 original members to more than 400.
“I think my background has shaped me into the type of leader that is a servant first,” McAllister said. “I want to serve the people, I want to find out how I can better the party.”
Former CCDCC chair and current member of the Maryland House of Delegates Edith Patterson advised McAllister to remain focused on the mission and to be fair and impartial.
“As a former chair, I understand the critical role that the chair plays,” Patterson said. “She’s smart, her track record is solid, and I commend the committee for voting her in.”
McAllister and her husband, Willie, live in Waldorf with their 1-year-old daughter and two Shih Tzus, Charlie Brown and Manny. She gave a special shoutout to her spouse of nine years for being so supportive throughout her career.
“I just want to thank my amazing husband,” McAllister said. “He’s just an awesome, supportive guy and I’m grateful for him.”