Dernoga to run for state's attorney in 2010
Term limits prevent county councilman from returning to office after term expires in 2010
Prince George's County Councilman Thomas E. Dernoga (D-Dist. 1) of Laurel plans to run for the county state's attorney seat after his term on the council expires in 2010, he told The Gazette today.
"I've been talking to people about it, and there seems to be a fair amount of support," he said. "My policy is to bring a lot of hard work and focused attention and bring results. It's a very tough job and critical for the county."
Dernoga, 50, has represented District 1, which includes Laurel, Adelphi, College Park, Beltsville and Calverton, since 2002. He is serving his second term on the County Council and cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
The current county state's attorney, Glenn F. Ivey, is widely believed to be planning a run for the county executive seat. County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) is also prevented from returning to the seat in 2010 because of term limits.
Ivey was elected to the state's attorney's office in 2002 but is not bound to term limits.
Dernoga is the first county official to announce plans to run for state's attorney, a position responsible for the prosecution of those charged with committing crimes in the county.
A member of the Prince George's County Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar, Dernoga has degrees from the University of Maryland School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center.
State Sen. James C. Rosapepe (D-Dist. 21) of College Park said he thinks Dernoga would be a "terrific" state's attorney.
"The state's attorney office is critical in improving the quality of life in the community by controlling crime, and he's worked on those issues as councilman," Rosapepe said. "He's familiar with the police, the criminal justice system and the kinds of public safety concerns that residents have."
Laurel City Councilman Mike Leszcz (At-large) said he wishes Dernoga luck.
"I guess Tom feels he's qualified, he's an attorney and he's been a County Councilman," he said. "I think it's important for whoever [is] in those jobs that they are inclusive and include everybody because they are representing everybody. Not just one group."
Dernoga said he plans to continue efforts for the Muirkirk Road and Old Gunpowder Road improvements over the next year, hopefully adding bike lanes, trails, greater pedestrian access and safety.
"This part of the county is really a very nice part of the county, with lots of positive things going on," he said.
E-mail Timmy Gelles at firstname.lastname@example.org.