2019 City Council Candidates Guide

Image courtesy of the City of Hyattsville

It’s election season in Hyattsville! Election Day is coming up Tuesday, May 7. Residents will vote for mayor and one councilmember from each of the five wards. This year, there are 13 residents in the running. Get to know a little bit more about the candidates with this guide. And be sure to tune into the Candidate Forum hosted by the Hyattsville Life & Times on Wednesday, April 24, 7-9 p.m., at the municipal building. Candidates will answer pre-selected questions about local issues from residents. The city will broadcast this forum on cable (Comcast channel 71, Verizon channel 12) and stream it online.

Do you have a question or local issue you’d like to ask the election candidates? Residents can submit questions for consideration through the Speak Up, HVL! site; by emailing the Hyattsville Life & Times at managingeditor@hyattsvillelife.com; or by dropping questions off at the city building, 4310 Gallatin Street. Questions dropped off at the City Building should be placed in an envelope addressed to the Hyattsville Life & Times.

The Hyattsville Life & Times reached out to all candidates registered to run in the city’s 2019 municipal elections. You’ll find their statements in this section, listed by ward in numeric order. Within wards, candidates are listed alphabetically by last name.

Mayor

CANDACE HOLLINGSWORTH
Age: 37
Day Job: Director of AmeriCorps Programs for Opportunity Youth

Community Involvement: Mayor, City of Hyattsville (2015-Present); chair, Prince George’s County Anti-Lynching Memorial Project Committee (2019-Present); Sisters on the Planet ambassador, OxFam America (2018-Present); chair, board of directors, ECO City Farms (2013-16); Prince George’s Social Innovation Fund Forty Under 40 (2015); councilmember, Ward 1, Hyattsville City Council (2011-15); vice-president, Hyattsville Elementary School PTA (2010-14); vice chair, PGCPS Law, Education, and Public Service Advisory Board (2011-14); member, Hyattsville Community Development Corporation (2011-12)

Statement to the Voters: In 2015, I committed to leading with an appreciation of who we are as a community and a vision for what we desire to become. I asked for your support in building a city that grows in its beauty, safety, inclusiveness and financial viability.

Over the past 4 years we have done just that. We focused on the fundamentals — doing what we do, well — so that we can take on the bigger, bolder things that you expect of us.

  • We have solid, stable leadership in every city department.
  • Our general fund balance is healthy and our audits are nearly caught up.
  • We are completing design and entering construction phases for a new public works facility and a new police and public safety headquarters.
  • We are breathing new life into each of the city’s major parks and open spaces.
  • We are expanding our support of small businesses and making targeted investments to improve the resident and visitor experience in each of our commercial corridors.
  • We are making substantial investments in programs to address the education, social supports and quality of life for youth, families and seniors.

This was not true in 2015.  

We’ve laid a solid foundation, and over the next four years, I want to work to bring our policies and intentions to life in ways that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of residents. Together, we will shape the image of a strong, resilient community. We will redouble our efforts to increase inventory of affordable housing, improve education and life outcomes for our young people, and truly be an age-friendly, inclusive and equitable community.

It has been an honor to be your mayor. We have more to do, and I hope to continue to lead us forward — pragmatically and with optimism.

Contact: 202.423.7752 | cbhollingsworth@gmail.com | faceboook.com/mayorcbh

 

ANGELA KENNY
Age: 33
Day Job: Certified Management Accountant and office clerk at J. Richard Lilly, MD, ABFP and Associates, P.C.

Community involvement: Police and public safety committee; helped start the Hyattsville teen center; formerly an employee of the City of Hyattsville re-certifications department; board member for the Sonny Frazier Toy Drive Committee; volunteer at Cops on the Rooftops; co-founder of the Hyattsville Heroes Bowl

Statement to the Voters: My name is Angela Kenny, and I have lived in Hyattsville my entire life. I am proud to say, “Hyattsville is my hometown.” I love how Hyattsville is a small, close community where you know your neighbor, and people are people and love is love. If elected mayor of Hyattsville, I would like to unite our community to make it the best it could be. As mayor, I would build the community as a whole, fine-tune the arts and historical districts and help develop the Hamilton Street corridor. For the safety of our neighbors, I’ll push for a traffic light on Queens Chapel Road and Nicholson Street. I will also find ways to retain our police officers, whom we train to stay in our city instead of getting jobs elsewhere. I will also find ways to support our fire department and EMS crews. I would like to help Hyattsville step up into the future while keeping our same old small town values. So vote for ANGELA KENNY, and I will take Hyattsville to the next level.

WE ARE HYATTSVILLE
ONE CITY – ONE TOWN

Any questions, you can contact me at akenny491@gmail.com.

 

Ward 1

LUKAS HALIM
Age: 39
Day Job: Data scientist

Community Involvement: Volunteers as a driver and child sitter for DC 127, an organization that seeks to support foster and adoptive families and to support those at risk of entering the child welfare system

Statement to voters: Lukas moved to Hyattsville with his wife and children in 2017 and found welcoming neighbors, walkable streets, active email lists and community events like the Hops Hop that make it a wonderful place to live. Lukas comes to the race eager to listen to the citizens of Hyattsville about the issues that matter to them. He has a strong desire to keep building this vibrant community that welcomes people of diverse backgrounds, where families and local businesses can thrive. He is looking forward to getting to know his neighbors in the coming weeks, and to winning their trust and their vote to represent them as their city councilmember for the next 4 years.

 

KEVIN WARD
Age: 41
Day Job: Technology strategist and business owner

Community Involvement: Hyattsville City Councilmember; council vice president; Hyattsville Elementary School PTA; Hyattsville Middle School PTO; Northwestern High School PTSA; White House Foster Care & Technology Hackathon; Forbes 30 Under 30 Mentor; three-time Rotary Paul Harris Fellow for Dedication to Youth Leadership and Service; assistant camp director RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) for over 15 years

Statement to Voters: It has been an honor to represent the residents of Ward 1 over the past four years, and I am asking for the opportunity to serve a second term. During my first term, Ward 1 received sustained attention from the city for city services, and it experienced an explosion of economic growth throughout the Route 1 Corridor. If fortunate enough to be reelected, I commit both to furthering the good work of our city government and to prioritizing the following four issues:

  1. Access to city services
    • Equalizing availability of all city services to all residents
    • Ensuring city focuses resources on vulnerable parts of our community, like our seniors
    • Supporting technology solutions for delivery of city services
  1.   Smart development
    • Advocating for responsible economic development of the Route 1 Corridor and of Magruder Park
    • Focusing on infrastructure that adds value for Ward 1 residents and existing Route 1 businesses (parking, crosswalks, etc.)
  1. Help to Hyattsville families
    • Increasing high-quality, low-cost aftercare options for working parents
    • Partnering with local schools to help Hyattsville students
    • Increasing and sustaining meaningful programming for seniors
  1. Transportation
    • Continuing to prioritize multi-modal transportation options
    • Advocating for pedestrian safety along Route 1
    • Increasing parking capacity

One of the best things about serving as your Hyattsville City Council representative has been meeting with residents and talking about what is going on in the community. Whether at Vigilante Coffee Company “office hours,” at monthly Ward 1 meetups, or simply meeting with a resident who contacted me about an issue, my passion has been listening to constituent concerns and actively working to address them.

Further information can be found on facebook.com/wardforward1. I humbly ask for your vote on May 7.

 

Ward 2

ROBERT POISSON
Age: 63
Day Job: Retired Maryland lawyer.

Community Involvement: I belong to St. Jerome parish. I was on the board of the HMB (Hyattsville/Mt. Rainier/Brentwood) Boys and Girls Club. I am a member of the Terrapin Club at the University of Maryland (UMD). I am on the board of the Prince George’s Chapter of the UMD Lifetime Alumni Association. I am a member of the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsville.

Statement to Voters: Please come to a block party at my home on 3819 Oglethorpe Street on April 28 at noon.

 

DANNY SCHAIBLE
Age: 42
Day Job: Project manager, National Park Service

Community Involvement: 2018-present: Elected to the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee, District 22 — Volunteer position to help elect Democratic candidates, advance Democratic policy objectives, and engage Democratic activists and voters; 2018-present: Save Our Sustainable Hyattsville founding member — Hyattsville group organized to oppose the Magruder Pointe redevelopment project; 2017-present: Our Revolution Prince George’s County Steering Committee — Grassroots progressive political activism at county, state, and national level; 2016-2017: Distributed ~250 trilingual “No Matter Where You Are From, We’re Glad You Are our Neighbor” signs in and around Hyattsville, lobbied to pass sanctuary city legislation in Hyattsville

Statement to Voters: I was born in Seattle as a middle child of six kids. I am the first among my family to finish high school, and I put myself through college, earning a degree in landscape architecture. Since then, I have had a meaningful career with the National Park Service, spending seven years at Yosemite before transferring to D.C. in 2012. I have two kids that attend public schools, my youngest with autism. On March 30, 2019, I married Jennifer Linn.

At Yosemite, my work focused on the preservation of cultural resources, including the park’s hotels, campgrounds, roads, trails and archeological sites. In D.C., my work has focused on managing design and construction projects, including restoring historic properties, repairing transportation infrastructure, and renovating public parks. If elected, I will use my experience to help Hyattsville navigate complicated projects as we preserve our city’s historic character, create new public spaces, and guide redevelopment projects to maximize community benefit.

As your councilmember, I’ll work to:

  • Expand curbside compost collection. Since 2015, Hyattsville has managed a pilot curbside compost collection program. It has been at capacity of 100 households for many years, and I would like to make it available to all citizens.
  • Levy a property tax surcharge on long-term vacancies in our city. Our excessive vacancies lead to blight, decrease property values, create a burden on our limited code enforcement resources and depress the vitality of our community.
  • Create an affordable, city-run aftercare program. Currently, there are no public aftercare programs within Hyattsville. Our families deserve high quality aftercare for their children that is local, affordable and inclusive.
  • Stop the proposed Magruder Pointe redevelopment project. This project, sited within a floodplain on land zoned to accommodate expansion of Magruder Park, demolishes a historic building, adds no new public amenities, and would further tax our infrastructure and neighborhood schools.

 

EMILY STRAB
Age: 34
Day Job: Music teacher and school administrator

Community Involvement: Started and administrated a new babysitting co-op in the city; launched an early childhood music program that I taught; heading Hyattsville’s longest-running neighborhood watch as captain; donated time to my children’s school to remodel classrooms and served as treasurer of the board that initiated a Montessori preschool program; writing for and serving on the board of the Hyattsville Life & Times; served as vice chair on Hyattsville’s Police and Public Safety Citizens’ Advisory Committee; coached T-ball with my husband at Magruder Park; communicated with city staff to replace the gate at King Park (tot lot)

Statement to the Voters: I am a music educator, mother of three and active member of the community. I have served on the city’s Police & Public Safety Committee and run my neighborhood watch, and I contribute as a writer to the Hyattsville Life & Times. I am passionate and dedicated to helping my neighbors, such as advocating for the replacement of the gate at King Park, and I hope to continue to help neighbors in the role of city councilmember. I believe that the role of council member is to do more than legislate, but serve as a community coordinator, a mediator between neighbors, and to represent Hyattsville’s interest to county and state organizations. Someone who represents their neighbors has a duty to reach out and listen to them, and I am committed to doing so in both English and Spanish. Our city still has a lot of work to do to encourage inclusivity in civic life, which requires members of council to put in time and effort in community building and bridging. The largest issue facing our community is the recent tax assessment increases, and I believe that the city needs to respond to the burden that this is creating for fixed-income and low-to-middle-income residents. Hyattsville’s diversity is one of its greatest strengths, but it is important to foster the ability for groups of all types to be able to afford to stay in Hyattsville. Somos todos Hyattsville.   

emilystrabforhyattsville.com; fb.me/Emily4HVL; emilystrabforhyattsville@gmail.com

 

Ward 3

MATTHEW FRATERMAN
Age: 30
Day Job:  International relations officer (Department of Labor)

Community Involvement: Peace Corps (Togo); AmeriCorps NCCC; Habitat for Humanity (NOLA); Hyattsville First United Methodist Church

Statement to the Voters: Matthew Fraterman is a lifelong public servant who has spent the majority of his career focused on building communities to their full potential. It’s because of this commitment to his community that he is running for office. Hyattsville has many challenges that we will all be facing in the coming years; it is in those challenges that Matthew sees opportunity.

As a city councilman, Matthew plans on tackling several issues, particularly affordable housing and community development. Hyattsville is seeing a huge spark in development; while he is excited to see Hyattsville continue develop and grow, Matthew is making a commitment to affordable housing and will fight for that within our community.

Through it all, Matthew has also taken steps to ensure that the campaign will be run in such a way that Hyattsville can be proud. Matthew and his staff have committed to running a positive campaign and have not taken any donations. If elected, Matthew also plans on committing to civility with all those on the council, even when there is disagreement.

Matthew Fraterman is running for city council because he knows he can make a difference. He can see the connection between the challenges Hyattsville faces and the capabilities he has refined as a result of his career in public service. He serves because he cares about his fellow citizens and because he knows his work has an impact. Casting a vote for Matthew Fraterman is casting a vote for a public servant that you know will fight for your interests every day of the week. Matthew Fraterman has been serving communities for a decade. Now he’s ready to serve Hyattsville.

 

BEN SIMASEK
Age: 32
Day Job: IT business analyst/product manager at Peace Corps

Community Involvement: Anacostia Watershed Society steward, cleanup coordinator; Hyattsville Life and Times volunteer writer; Northstar Tutoring volunteer; University Hills Civic Association block captain

Statement to the Voters: As city councilmember, my main goal will be to act as a communication liaison between local government and Ward 3 residents. This communication flows both ways. As I learn about local issues affecting my neighbors, I will do my best to share clear and timely information with them. When neighbors bring things to my attention that are of interest or concern to them, I will try to help them address these issues by raising them with the city or other local authorities and taking action whenever possible.

I believe everyone should have the opportunity to be informed and to share their input on matters important to them. I can’t promise to help solve every problem or make everyone happy. However, I am determined to listen to every Ward 3 resident, thoughtfully consider their ideas and give them the respect they deserve. I want my all neighbors to feel connected to their local government and empowered to effect change (or prevent unwanted changes, in some cases).

I especially want to help reduce language and cultural barriers to participation, so that all voices can be heard on local issues. With its task forces, committees, programs and outreach, Hyattsville is striving to be inclusive and welcoming for residents of all ages, races, cultures, beliefs, genders, orientations, abilities and socioeconomic statuses. I’d love to contribute to the city’s great efforts towards participatory government.

I have my own background, perspectives and values, which guide my vision of an ideal community. I’m happy to describe myself and my ideas to anyone who asks. However, my mission as a councilmember isn’t to work towards my personal ideal of Hyattsville; it’s to listen to my neighbors, bring together our collective ideas and create a strong community together.

 

Ward 4

JONATHAN MUELLER
Age: 38
Day Job: Senior consultant with Battle Resource Management, where I support the U.S. Department of Justice’s efforts to develop and modernize major information technology systems, comply with statutory and regulatory requirements, and make the best use of taxpayers’ dollars

Community Involvement: I’ve volunteered on the Hyattsville Planning Board for several years, reviewing development plans and making recommendations to the city council.

Statement to the Voters: I moved to the Washington area from Ohio for graduate school; I completed a Master of Public Policy at the American University in 2008. In 2010, my wife and I were fortunate enough to move to Hyattsville. We love the sense of community here in Hyattsville, and are so happy to make our home here and raise our two daughters, Gwen and Ivy.

I’ve spent my career as a federal employee and as a private consultant working to effectively manage government programs, improve efficiency, increase transparency and be the best possible steward of the tax-payers’ money. For the past several years, I have volunteered on the Hyattsville Planning Committee, helping to promote development and smart growth of Hyattsville by reviewing development plans and making recommendations for the city council.

Part of what makes our community strong and vibrant is the value we place on civic engagement. As a member of the council, I would look for opportunities to improve voter turnout, identifying and removing barriers to voting, and increase citizen participation in local government.

Our community needs economic opportunity, and Ward 4’s proximity to two Metro stations has a lot of potential. We’ll work to encourage commercial development, job growth and small business ownership.  

We also need to address safety, health and quality-of-life issues. We need to find ways to support our schools and the education of our children. We need to continue improvements made in recent years to sidewalks and lighting. We need to find solutions to reduce trash and litter. And we need to work to keep crime rates down and keep our loved ones safe.

There’s a lot to do, but I’ve become very impressed with the residents of Hyattsville and believe we can get a lot done together. I hope I will be lucky enough to represent Ward 4 on the Hyattsville City Council, so I can give back to this welcoming, wonderful community.

 

DANIEL PEABODY
Age: 40
Day Job: Middle school counselor

Community Involvement: Serve on the Hyattsville Education Advisory Committee; volunteer for Comcast Cares Day, rehabilitating local schools; and donate to and volunteer for local nonprofits working to end homelessness and improve educational opportunities. I shop local and support local artists as much as possible, send my daughter to day care in Hyattsville, attend city events, utilize city parks most days and endeavor to be a good neighbor to all.

Statement to Voters: My wife, Patience, and I moved to Hyattsville from D.C. in 2013 and to Ward 4 in 2016. We love our friendly, diverse, residential community and are proud to raise our 2-year-old daughter here. As the father of a young daughter of color, living in a diverse and inclusive place was an essential part of why we chose to make Hyattsville our home. And it is with inclusion in mind that I have decided to run for city council.

At a time of incredible growth for our great city, I am running to ensure that the council works collaboratively with residents to keep Ward 4 a thriving, safe and opportunity-filled community.

I want every member of the community — regardless of age, income, race, gender, orientation or place of birth — to have opportunities to contribute to and partake in all our hometown has to offer. As a veteran public school educator, I am driven to make sure that our city’s young people are prepared to learn and achieve and harness their creativity.

I intend to strengthen community engagement within Ward 4, tighten our connections across wards, and deepen our relationships with our extended Prince George’s County officials to ensure that county programs are funneling into Hyattsville. As councilmember, I will engage our community in meaningful and relevant ways and guarantee that the voices of Ward 4 residents are fully considered in city decisions. I will advocate for what we ourselves say we need to keep our community a wonderful place to live, learn and play.

It would be an honor and a privilege to receive your vote.  Please connect with me by phone (301.892.6281 — call or text), on Twitter (@DHPeabody, #Dan4HyCouncil) or through my website (www.Dan4HyCouncil.com). Hablo español tambien.

 

Ward 5

SOPHIE MIRIAM ORIANI
Age: 27
Day Job: Toddler Montessori teacher at St. Jerome Academy

Community Involvement: HY-Swap volunteer, Hyatt Park Community Garden co-lead

Statement to the Voters: As a councilmember, I would take seriously the responsibility to participate in governance with the good of the citizens in mind. I do not have my own agenda that I am trying to advance. Rather, if elected, I pledge to use my voice to advance your concerns. I have already heard serious concerns from voters, such as school overcrowding, taxes that many residents (especially senior citizens and young families) are struggling to afford, and areas of Hyattsville where certain residents don’t feel safe, especially alone or at night. These are areas where we as a community have room for improvement!

One of Hyattsville’s greatest strengths is its diversity, which, of course, can also come with challenges. Being biracial and having lived abroad provides me with an understanding of some of the ways that different cultures coming together can bear beautiful fruit. I would love to see more Hyattsville community events that celebrate and showcase the diverse heritage of our residents, whether that be expanding an existing event (such as PorchFest) farther into Ward 5, or coming up with some new events of our own. (I’d be up for a Ward 5 potluck in a neighborhood park!)

I am committed to Hyattsville and the residents of Ward 5. I have no plans to seek higher political office or pursue any kind of career in partisan politics. Hyattsville is an amazing place to live and work, and my sole intention in running for city councilmember is to work to make sure that remains true for everyone. With your vote, we can work together to keep Hyattsville on its upward journey!

 

JOSEPH SOLOMON
Age: 33
Day Job: Systems integration and technology consultant for state and federal clients

Community Involvement: Hyattsville City Council; Hyattsville Health Wellness and Recreation Committee liaison; Hyattsville Educational Facilities Task Force liaison; Regular attendance: Hyattsville Police and Public Safety Citizens’ Advisory Committee and Hyattsville Corridor Community Meetings

Statement to Voters: I have enjoyed serving my community as a representative for Ward 5 on the Hyattsville City Council. With so many projects and initiatives moving forward across the city and within Ward 5, I feel it is important that I return to council and continue advocating for our community. I believe residents of Ward 5 remain focused on the issues of public safety, economic development and affordable housing. To that end, I am more than willing to continue to champion these issues and work toward bringing together our community. I am also interested in continuing the community conversation on the new development of West Hyattsville and the construction of the new Hyattsville City Police Department headquarters.  So please Ward 5, send me back to the Hyattsville City Council.

I have also championed the passage of body camera reform, noncitizens voting and a ban on the use of pesticides in maintaining city-owned properties. I voted in support of the city’s sanctuary status and lowering the voting age to 16. I remain a proactive voice on the issue of affordable housing and the need to change the name of Magruder Park, as it was originally donated for the purpose of a Whites-only park in the City of Hyattsville.

In addition to serving on the city council, I am also treasurer of the Prince George’s County Young Democrats, past resident and current legislative chair for the Prince George’s County Municipal Association, and a board member of United Communities Against Poverty, Inc.

 

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