Peña-Melnyk seeking second term
Dist. 21 delegate said she wants to continue fighting for the community's needs
Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk of College Park (D) has filed for re-election in the state's 21st district. Peña-Melnyk, who ran an independent grass-roots campaign in 2006, said she wants to continue fighting for the needs of the people who elected her four years ago.
"I really love the work," she said. "I feel like I have represented the community from my heart really well. I have given this job more than 100 percent."
Peña-Melnyk was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the Bronx in a single-parent household. Her 2006 campaign focused on how her status as a political outsider helped her relate to and serve the needs of the constituents in the district. Four years later, Peña-Melnyk said that focus remains constant, even though she will seek re-election on a slate that includes fellow district 21 incumbents Sen. James C. Rosapepe (D) and delegates Benjamin Barnes (D) and Barbara Frush (D).
"I have always been an independent voice," she said. "Even if I'm on the slate, I'm still me."
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.
Peña-Melnyk pointed to several laws that she introduced on behalf of her constituents as evidence of her qualification for the position, including an enacted bill that requires insurance companies to pay for annual breast cancer exams in women 40 years old and older. She was also a co-sponsor on a bill that outlawed panhandling on Route 198 in Anne Arundel County a law residents requested because of safety concerns, Peña-Melnyk said.
"I think that when people are deciding who to vote for, and they look at my record, they will see that I have fought on their behalf," she said.
If re-elected, Peña-Melnyk said one of her top priorities would be to secure funding to relieve congestion on Route 1.
Adelphi resident Pat Myers, president of the Hillendale Gardens Civic Association, said Peña-Melnyk has taken up several of her community's concerns, including the U.S. Army's plans to install a larger generator at its research laboratory in Adelphi. Myers said the delegate helped the community by drafting a letter against the proposal and working on a bill that would require more public notice of such plans in the future.
"She's just on everything," Myers said. "She's very much on task and very interested and very personable."
Position sought: state delegate, District 21
Party affiliation: Democrat
Place of residence: College Park
Years in Prince George's County: 17
Place of birth: Dominican Republic
Current occupation: delegate, attorney
Education: Buffalo State College, B.S.; State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law and Jurisprudence, J.D.
Community associations, involvement: College Park Rotary Club, former member (two terms) College Park City Council, member of the North College Park Civic Association, member of the West College Park Civic Association
Professional associations: Women in Government, Regional Director Eastern U.S., eight committees and subcommittees in the Maryland General Assembly
Family: married with three children (son and twin daughters) ages 11 and 9
Campaign office address and telephone: 4920 Niagara Road, Ste. 314, College Park, MD 20740