In my pursuit to find the best District 1 council candidate, I approached Sam Epps, a Laurel resident of 10 years, and best known for his involvement as a community organizer. Despite his busy schedule, Sam found time to answer a few questions I sent to him earlier. (Thanks Sam).

Sam Epps is the 3rd of the 5 candidates I’ve interviewed so far. Please see the interviews with other 2 candidates, Mary Lehman and Crystal Thompson here and here.

As always, if you have additional questions or comments, please post them at the end of the article.

(1) There are five council candidates running in this year’s council election for District 1. Why do you think you are the best candidate in this crowded race?

My years of experience working for nonprofits, government, and labor, where I have fought for social and economic justice on behalf of working men and women makes me the best candidate in this race.

I am running because our comunities can’t afford politics as usual in Prince George’s County. I am a honest leader who will fight for a government that is more transparent and responsive. I will represent all the neighborhoods in District 1, not just certain ones.
(2) Two of your opponent candidates Mary Lehman and Fred Smalls enjoy strong endorsements from well known political figures. Do you feel that your campaign is weakened by these endorsements? What do you say to those who’re skeptical about your experience to hold a public office?

I don’t feel my campaign is weaken by not having endorsements from political figures. What that should tell voters is that I am not “the establishment” candidate. My candidacy is about working families, and I am proud to have received strong endorsements from working men and women that are teachers, janitors, security officers, health care workers, transit workers, and laborers.

Endorsed by:
Prince George’s County Educational Association
1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers
Amalgamated Transit Workers Local 689
MD/DC State Council of SEIU
Metropolitian Washington Council, AFL-CIO

(3) The City of College Park residents pay nearly 1 million dollars to hire 6 contract police officers (3 P/T, 3 F/T) from the county, because the police service from the county’s regular police PGFD is not enough. If elected, what will you do to help offset such extra cost of law enforcement from local municipalities?

I will work with the next county executive and the fraternal order of police to:

1) Retain retiring officers that has reached their 20 years of service.

2) Increase the number of classes at the police academy.

3) Provide incentives to individuals to become police officers.

I believe these steps would be a starting point to helping to offet the extra cost of law enforcement on municipalities.
(4) The current councilman has been criticized by some for his strong stance against redevelopment in North College Park. The implementation of “form-based codes”  in the North College Park area, north of Greenbelt Road (Rt 193) has recently been blocked as part of Rt 1 sector plan. If elected, will you also support such position?

I believe developers should be held to these type of zoning codes for redevelopment. In addition to the “form based codes”, any development that I support must have a Community Benefits Agreement. The agreement with the community shall include 1) environmental standards 2) labor standards 3) adequate facilities standards.