Donna Edwards Vows to End ‘Unethical’ Campaign Contributions to School Board

Donna Edwards Vows to End ‘Unethical’ Campaign Contributions to School Board

Donna Edwards already has her sights set on cleaning up the Prince George’s County school board in her bid for county executive.

If elected later this year, the former U.S. congresswoman said she would ban the school system CEO and top-ranking school officials from donating campaign contributions to board members.

“Our education leaders are bold enough to put up political contributions that can influence their hiring and contracting decisions,” Edwards said Thursday at a press conference outside the school administration building in Upper Marlboro. “It may not be illegal, but it is unethical.”

Edwards’ comments were triggered by revelations that two school board members, Carolyn Boston and Sonya Williams, received such donations for their election campaigns.

According to finance reports, schools system CEO Kevin Maxwell donated $500 to Boston, the school board vice president who served on a committee to evaluate Maxwell’s performance.

Boston, who couldn’t be reached for comment, eventually returned the money.

Williams received $3,000 from Delegate Dereck Davis (D-District 25) of Mitchellville, according to campaign documents. The money from Davis, who is married to schools Deputy Superintendent Monique Whittington Davis, came from his terminated campaign from Congress two years ago, campaign records show.

“I’ve known [Davis] forever,” said Williams, a civil engineer who has served on the board since 2014. “It is not unethical or illegal for any politician to support another politician’s campaign. My goal on the school board is for us to be great by choice.”

Although the Maryland Ethics Commission monitors and approves regulations based on the legislature, state law allows school boards to manage its own ethic rules and committees.

Michael Lord, executive director of the state’s Ethics Commission, said Prince George’s received approval for its ethics regulations at least three years ago. He said any school complaints, however, are handled by the county, not the commission.

“It is all done on the local level,” Lord said.

The donations to Boston and Williams surfaced after two parents, Keisha Chase and Yolanda Rogers, wrote a letter last week to alert the state’s ethics commission.

“The culture of pay-to-play, kickbacks, you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours must end if we are ever going to provide a quality education for our children,” the letter said.

Chase and Rogers have children who attend DuVal High School in Lanham. Parents received letters from Maxwell last month informing them several staff members had been removed for violation of grading and graduation procedures.

The parents now plan to bring their concerns about the campaign contributions to the state Board of Education and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

LIUNA Mid-Atlantic Announces Endorsement of Donna Edwards

LIUNA Mid-Atlantic Announces Endorsement of Donna Edwards for Prince George’s County Executive

Landover, MD (November 30, 2017) –Today, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Mid-Atlantic announced its involvement in a multi-union endorsement of Donna Edwards for Prince George’s County Executive.

The three local unions also part of the endorsement are the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO, and UNITE HERE Local 25.

The announcement was made during a press conference held at UFCW Local 400.

“This coalition of labor unions supporting Donna Edwards is a reflection of her pursuit to create opportunities for working people in local communities,” said Dennis Martire, Vice President and Regional Manager of LIUNA Mid-Atlantic.

Current LIUNA membership in Prince George’s County is approximately 1500 members.

Edwards served as a U.S. Representative of the 4th Congressional District of Maryland from June 17, 2008 to January 3, 2017 where she advocated for hiring local workers and providing those workers jobs with good pay and benefits

She recognizes the impact of organized labor. Throughout her career, she has participated in pickets and has supported project labor agreements that honor the prevailing wage.

“Prince George’s County deserves a County Executive who wants to achieve what’s best for the people who live there,” said Dave Allison, Business Manager of the Baltimore Washington Laborers’ District Council. “That person is Donna Edwards.”

The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Mid-Atlantic Region represents more than 40,000 working men and women who work in construction and public service in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and North Carolina.

Donna Kicks-off Candidacy

In new video, Edwards declares run for county executive; desire to usher in new era of opportunity for Prince George’s County

Donna Edwards Kicks-off Candidacy for Prince George’s County Executive

Fort Washington, Md. –Donna Edwards formally announced her candidacy for Prince George’s County Executive in a new video released today. A former member of Congress, Donna has worked tirelessly for years to bring opportunities for jobs, better education, and drive innovation to Prince George’s County. Now, she wants to take that work to the next level as county executive.

Watch her announcement here:

“I’m thrilled to announce my candidacy for Prince George’s County Executive. For decades, as a member of Congress and as an executive, I’ve fought for and delivered jobs and opportunity to the county I call home. Now I want to take that work to the next level as county executive,” said Congresswoman Donna Edwards, candidate for Prince George’s County Executive. “I’m running for county executive because I believe that on the ground, and in communities, we can actually do some great things that will benefit people and make a difference.”

As a seasoned organizer, grassroots activist, nonprofit executive, and Congressional leader, Donna has delivered for Prince George’s County, bringing thousands of jobs to National Harbor, standing up to developers to ensure they do right by communities, and expanding innovation for Prince George’s as a member of Congress. Leveraging her deep policy knowledge, vision, and experience, Donna intends to mobilize communities across Prince George’s to modernize county schools, create even more jobs and opportunity for our communities, and take on special interests and big donors who have hijacked our county for their own personal gain.

In her announcement video, Donna laid out her vision for Prince George’s County:

Better Schools:
“We’ve got a lot of amazing young people, but they’re not all going to amazing schools.  If we’re asking our kids to grow up and participate in a 21st Century economy, then we cannot have them going to school in 20th century schools. We have enough money in our school system, but we need to deploy them in a very different kind of way: Making sure that we reduce class sizes, that we invest in classrooms and in educators not just in administrators. We need to make sure that education translates into creating jobs and opportunity.”

Better Healthcare:
“This is really about people’s lives. I think about some people trying to navigate a system that is very, very complex — and I think it’s important for policymakers understand that. And frankly on a local level there are a lot of things we can do that can improve the health and health prospects for citizens. Things like community health clinics and making sure we have a world-class hospital.”

A Better Economy:
“Prince George’s County has a strong, diverse small business community that needs to be supported so it can grow. With the “tech triangle” of the University of Maryland, Goddard Space Center, and NOAA, we have huge potential to create an innovation economy that can be a hub of a whole new generation of start-up small businesses in our county. As County Executive, I will call together an Innovation Summit to work hand in hand with the tech community to signal very clearly that Prince George’s welcomes you as an economic partner. In this vibrant region, we have the most affordable land for development, modern transit and transportation systems, and a diverse and rich culture for your employees. Now we need to deliver an education system that produces a workforce skilled for tomorrow’s jobs to attract new employers.”

A Better Prince George’s:
“We have the fundamentals: we need to create education, jobs and innovation to take on the challenges of the 21st century…we are going create a government in Prince George’s County that is transparent, that is open and that is accessible. And in that way, our county will be more competitive around the region. But, also, the voters, the people who live in Prince George’s County and the business that want to operate in this county will have confidence that we are going do the right thing. I know that we can do it.”

An experienced leader who has relentlessly pursued justice even when the odds were stacked against her, the announcement marks Edwards’ return to politics after a brief hiatus. Donna has pledged not to accept any money from developers in her race to be Prince George’s County Executive. Rather than taking campaign donations on launch day, Edwards is raising funds for victims of the Las Vegas shooting that occurred earlier this week. The primary election for Prince George’s County Executive will be held on June 26, 2018. The general election is November 6, 2018.