Democratic Senate Candidate Alsobrooks: ‘People Who Are Closest To The Pain Are Closest To Solutions’

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks hopes to bring a new perspective to the U.S. Senate. Maryland voters will decide on May 14 if she’s prepared to make the leap.

“The people who are closest to the pain are also closest to the solutions,” Alsobrooks said in an April 4 Zoom interview with Capital News Service.

The candidate, who has served as a county state’s attorney and currently as county executive, believes that her experience being close to her constituents could bring something new to the Senate, highlighting the importance of understanding how policies impact people.

Alsobrooks is running against Rep. David Trone and eight of less-prominent Democrats in the Maryland Democratic Senate primary. Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is the Republican frontrunner.

Alsobrooks was born in 1971 in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to a working-class family. What she remembers about her childhood is how her community stressed the importance of taking care of others.

“We had an obligation to care about the success of others,” Alsobrooks said. “That has stuck with me to really not only work hard to make sure that we’re improving the world.”

She attended Duke University for her B.A. in public policy and the University of Maryland School of Law.

Alsobrooks started as an assistant state’s attorney for Prince George’s County in 1997, eventually becoming the county’s first full-time domestic violence prosecutor.

During her time in the latter post, Alsobrooks said there was a moment when she realized that her daughter was growing up in a place less safe than the one Alsobrooks grew up in.

Alsobrooks said she decided that there was more she could do to address systemic issues in the county.

“There were so many in our courtrooms and courthouses who were seeking second chances, and I realized that many of them had never had the first chance of success,” Alsobrooks said.

She was elected in 2010 as the Prince George’s County state’s attorney, the top law enforcement officer. Under her tenure, violent crime dropped by over 50% between 2011 and 2018, according to FBI crime data, when Alsobrooks was a part of a group of county leaders focused on crime reduction.

Alsobrooks then won her election for county executive in 2018. 

She takes credit for helping to build 10 new schools in the county, creating jobs and leading the county through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve done policy, but I’ve also been on the implementation side,” Alsobrooks said. “We need people right now in Washington who know how to get things done, not just talk.”

Alsobrooks accepted 46 out of 50 police reform recommendations in 2021 that came out of the county’s police reform work group. The tough-on-crime state’s attorney said that good leadership and reforms can help solve problems in the criminal justice system.

“I believe that our families deserve to live in places where they have both justice and freedom,” Alsobrooks said.

Only three senators in U.S. history have been Black women. There are no women in Maryland’s 10-member congressional delegation.

This lack of diversity is one reason why Rep. Steny Hoyer said he endorsed Alsobrooks, someone he’s known for about 15 years.

“I think that she will make a real contribution to the multiplicity of perspectives and opinions that we’ve brought to the Senate, so I’m a very strong supporter of hers,” Hoyer said in an interview.

Hoyer said that the experiences that Trone has had are well-represented in the Senate, unlike those of Alsobrooks’s life. Alsobrooks has shown excellence and a passion for helping people at every stage of her career, Hoyer said.

One criticism Alsobrooks receives from opponents is her lack of federal political experience.

Maryland has only elected three senators without experience in the House, according to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. However, most current senators have not served in the House, according to the Senate’s website.

Alsobrooks stresses that she has experience working with her constituents and the federal delegation to get projects and federal funding for the county.

In the Senate, Alsobrooks said, she wants to be an advocate for abortion rights, economic growth for Maryland and reduced healthcare costs.

Alsobrooks has spent nearly $4 million dollars on her Senate campaign, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission reports. Her major donors include ActBlue and Emily’s List. She has publicly criticized the wealthy Trone of attempting to buy the election by spending $41 million of his own money on his campaign.

“I do not believe that the people of Maryland are going to allow anyone to buy an election,” Alsobrooks said. “I think when they hear my record and vision, they’ll support me.”

Trone has criticized Alsobrooks for her support while she was state’s attorney for the death penalty in a murder case. Trone is opposed to the death penalty because he believes it is racist. Alsobrooks has since stated that she would not support a federal death penalty.

Prince George’s County Councilmember Krystal Oriadha, who endorsed Trone, claimed in a Zoom interview that Alsobrooks as county executive has not supported policies or funded initiatives Senate candidate Alsobrooks claims to support on healthcare and LGBTQ+ pride.

“I have to judge people off of their record,” Oriadha said.

The reason why Alsobrooks believes she has gained the endorsements from many top Maryland Democratic politicians – including Gov. Wes Moore, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and five House members – is that she is a good listener.

Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Maryland, met Alsobrooks in the 1990s on Capitol Hill. Throughout the years, Mfume said in an interview, he has been able to understand her work ethic and her values as she moved through county politics.

“I’ve supported her and everything she’s ever run for,” Mfume said. “I know her soul, her mind and I certainly know her history.”

Alsobrooks believes that she would bring something new to the Senate, both diversity and a different resumé than her competitors. Without the perspectives of mothers, women and all races, Alsobrooks said the delegation is incomplete.

“It is really important to have varied experiences there,” Alsobrooks said about the Senate. “Until that happens, I think our policies are incomplete.”