Barnes pursues second term
Addressing the needs of working families among incumbent's priorities
Del. Benjamin Barnes, 35, said he decided to run for office in 2006 because he wanted to help working families struggling to make ends meet. The same desire has prompted him to run for re-election as a delegate to the 21st district, he said.
"In my mind, there's unfinished business," said the College Park resident. "We haven't done enough. We need to go back and we need to continue to fight."
Barnes (D) will seek re-election on a slate that includes fellow District 21 incumbents Sen. James C. Rosapepe (D) and delegates Barbara Frush (D) and Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D). As of Tuesday, Barnes, Peña-Melnyk and Beltsville attorney Brian McDaniel have filed for the three delegate seats.
District 21 includes Laurel, Beltsville, College Park, Berwyn Heights and a portion of Anne Arundel County. The primary election will take place Sept. 14 and the general election will follow on Nov. 2.
Barnes pointed to legislation he co-sponsored to protect families facing foreclosure as evidence of his dedication to the needs of his constituents. Barnes said he has also pushed for laws that protect victims of domestic violence, including an enacted bill that requires perpetrators to wear a GPS monitoring unit that alerts their victims and local law enforcement agencies when they are within a certain distance of their victims.
"I think I've been a progressive advocate," he said. "I haven't been afraid to speak out and take on the tough issues."
Barnes was raised in Prince George's County, graduated from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and received his law degree from the University of Baltimore. He has worked as an associate in the law office of Laurel City Councilwoman Donna Crary (Ward 2) since 2005.
Crary said the city has enjoyed a good working relationship with Barnes and the other delegates over the past four years, and she said he would serve the district well if re-elected. The fact that Barnes is younger than the other delegates in the 21st district is one of his biggest assets, she said.
"It gives a different perspective," she said. "I think all of the same kind of anything doesn't give you a balanced feel."
West Laurel resident Clair Ferguson said Barnes has been effective as a delegate and retained a friendly and approachable relationship with his constituents.
"When you see him around the neighborhood, he always stops and says hello," Ferguson said.
If re-elected, Barnes said he would like to focus more on implementing federal stimulus dollars at the local level while remaining dedicated to the individual needs of residents in the 21st district.
"I'm going to continue to fight just as hard these next four years," he said.
E-mail Caitlin Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Residence: College Park
-Years in Prince George's County: 32
-Place of birth: Peoria, Ill.
-Current occupation: Delegate, attorney
-Education: B.S. in economics and political science from the University of North Carolina - Greensboro, J.D. from the University of Baltimore
-Community associations, involvement: North College Park Citizens Association
-Professional associations: Maryland Bar Association, Prince George's County Bar Association
-Campaign address: P.O. Box 1685, College Park, MD 20741