Hyattsville Election ’21: Interview with Robert Croslin, Ward 2’s incumbent candidate

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Hyattsville's Ward 2 City Councilor Robert Croslin

Hyattsville’s 2021 election season is here, and with 20 candidates running for five ward seats and the mayor’s office, it may be the biggest election the city has ever seen. All week long, Route 1 Reporter will be introducing you to as many of the candidates as possible in a series of video interviews. Over the past week, Route1Reporter has interviewed 15 of the 20 candidates running. Today, we unveil the interviews for the candidates in the race for Ward Two: Incumbent City Councilor Robert Croslin and challenger Oliva Lopez.

Route 1 Reporter’s interview with Croslin is below. 

In these interviews, each candidate was asked the same six questions. The questions were not shared with the candidates beforehand. The questions are also fairly broad, providing candidates an opportunity to introduce themselves and describe their approach to local government policymaking. 

Hyattsville’s election season concludes May 11, 2021. 

Theis:
Hello. My name is Michael Theis editor and publisher of Route1Reporter.com. I’m here today with Ward Two Councilor Robert Croslin, one of 20 candidates running for five ward seats and the mayor’s office. Councilor Croslin is running for the Ward Two seat, and he is the incumbent defending that seat this year. This interview, and others, are intended to be a broad introduction to the candidates and their approach to local government policy and policymaking. Let’s begin, Councilor Croslin, how are you doing today?

Croslin:
Yes. Fine. Thank you for having me.

Theis:
My first question is should be an easy one. Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you do and how did you come to live in Hyattsville?

Croslin:
Oh, well, right now I’m a Goldsmith. Uh, I used to work as a landscape architect. I have a master’s degree in landscape architecture. I went to Towson State University and then Morgan State University for grad school. I am from Baltimore. That’s where I was born and grew up. I came to Hyattsville because my wife forced me to move down here basically. sSe took a job at DC. She’s physician. And so here I am. And she encouraged me to get involved in local activities.

Theis:
Okay. So why are you running for Hyattsville city council again?

Croslin:
Well, because it has been a wonderful experience. We have done a lot. We have helped to change Hyattsville, put it for the better. And I want to continue that work.

Theis:
Okay. Then the third question, this is designed to get insight into how you might approach a pressing policy problem or something. What is – Name a pressing issue facing Hyattsville right now, and describe what policies you would pursue to address it?

Croslin:
Well, I think a pressing issue for Hyattsville right now is affordable housing. It’s a problem because, because we don’t have control or we don’t have zoning power in Hyattsville. And so the way that we actually can work with developers when they come to town is usually they come and they would like to have a tax break. And so in order to get a tax breaks from the city, we would have to, or we would actually request that they provide affordable housing to receive that text.

Theis:
Okay. And that’s something that the city council is discussing – city council is broadly going through their affordable housing strategy right now.

Croslin:
Yeah. We’ve been doing that work for some time. Yes. And we actually hired a company to help us to do that strategy, to see if there are any other mechanisms we can use to create affordable housing.

Theis:
Okay. Fourth question. What is a unique skill or perspective you would bring to this job if your reelection campaign succeeds?

Croslin:
Well, I think I work well with other people. And I think that with the eight years that I’ve been on the council, I think that proven that. I certainly have a good relationship with my constituents and my neighbors. And I think that helps create deal.

Theis:
Okay. How many candidates are running in your award this year? It’s two of us. Okay. Then all, almost all of the city council races this year are competitive, including yours. Why should people vote for you?

Croslin:
Well, I think that – I think that people have the option actually to vote for me or my opponent, but I think I have a proven record. People know me, they’ve known what I’ve done for years and, and they know what I’m capable of.

Theis:
Okay. The last question many hot button issues in our national political discourse are at their heart local issues. I’m talking about things such as policing education, policy or debates over renaming, learn landmarks and parks. How do you identify politically international context? And I’m talking about progressive conservative, Republican, democratic, those sorts of labels. And how do you – how do those values inform the policies you would pursue here in Hyattsville?

Croslin:
Well, as you know, the race in Hyattsville is nonpolitical – it’s non – I want to say nonpolitical, but that’s not true, but it’s certainly, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or Republican to run it, to run in a, in Hyattsville. So I’m going to take that off the table right away.

Theis:
Alright then –

Croslin:
There are clearly hot button issues going on in the country right now. One of them is about police activity. But you know, that’s what’s going on in the country. What I am concerned about is what happens here. You know, you hear a lot of talk about defund the police and then the justification for that is to reallocate funds into different areas that can help people like mental health issues. And we, and we’re working on that now as a council. But you know, people get the impression that defund the police means you don’t want to pay police to do anything, or you don’t want police anymore. And I don’t think that’s true. And I don’t think that we could actually have a city that does not have a police department, I just want a police department to be able to do what they’re supposed to do equally for all people. And I believe that our police department does that and our job is to make sure that our police department does that.

Theis:
Okay. Excellent. Well, Councilor Croslin, at this point, I don’t have any further questions. Uh, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today and to my audience they’re watching at home. thank you for tuning in, through all of this and go get out there and vote. Have a good day.

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