For over two hours Tuesday night the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee met to decide whose name they would send to Gov. Larry Hogan (R) for appointment to fill a Maryland House of Delegates vacancy in District 27-B. Seven candidates — five from Calvert County and two from Prince George’s — were vying for the recommendation.
The vote was unanimous. Prince George’s resident and central committee member Jacqueline Steele-McCall received all 25 votes, including her own.
The seven candidates were scheduled to make their case for recommendation yesterday to Calvert’s Democratic Central Committee.
Once Hogan has received the recommendations, he will have 15 days to appoint a successor to the seat vacated by now-Sen. Michael A. Jackson, who received unanimous support from three central committees. Jackson (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s) succeeds Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., who had resigned from the Senate 23 days before his death on Jan. 15.
“I will not fail to produce,” said Steele-McCall, who ran against Jackson for delegate in the 2014 Democratic Primary, finishing a distant third.
In addition to serving on the central committee, Steele-McCall has chaired the Prince George’s County Property Tax Assessment Board. Career-wise, Steele-McCall was part of former U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s staff and as also worked a government relations specialist and as a consultant.
Betty Deacon, one of Steele-McCall’s former coworkers in Mikulski’s office, praised her for “her work ethic and tenacity.”
In a candidate questionnaire, Steele-McCall identified “health — with an initial focus on COVID-19 relief — education and economic matters” as her priority issues once she arrives in Annapolis. In answer to a question posed by committee member Darrell Odom, Steele-McCall said “police reform” would also be a focus during the ongoing session.
When asked in Calvert’s candidates’ questionnaire whether the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights should be repealed, Steele-McCall responded, “While I do not believe that anyone is above the law, I do believe that good law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve the people. Every time they suit up and walk out the door, they are vulnerable to injury or death. ... Officers are also in a position where they have an awesome amount of power and because of this they should be held to a higher standard of accountability than the average citizen. I believe we would all benefit if officers of the law underwent background checks to specifically identify relationships with domestic terrorist groups and other groups that work in direct conflict with the laws the officers have sworn to uphold.”
Perhaps noting that the majority of the meeting’s candidates reside in the Calvert County portion of District 27-B, Steele-McCall reminded the committee that Prince George’s makes up most of the district. She pledged that she could work well with the District 27 team. “I am able to work across the aisle,” she affirmed.
Other candidates vying for the 27-B appointment are Prince George’s resident Alexis N. Branch; Calvert residents Russell P. Butler, John L. Erly and Jason T. Fowler; Rachel R. Jones, who has served as an aide for both Mikulski and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin; and Jeffrie E. Long Jr., a local pastor and an aide to Jackson. All of the Calvert candidates indicated they have strong ties to Prince George’s.
One of the more poignant moments of the meeting came when Dawn Collins, the mother of slain Army officer Richard Collins III, spoke on behalf of Jones. Dawn Collins praised Jones for being her “navigator during a most distressing time.”
Through the Maryland Congressional Delegation’s efforts, the Army posthumously promoted Richard Collins III to first lieutenant last summer.
The central committee planned to forward Steele-McCall’s name to Hogan’s office late Wednesday afternoon and agreed to send a copy of the letter to the Calvert County Democratic Central Committee.