Michael Theis is the editor and publisher of Route 1 Reporter. He grew up in Hyattsville and College Park. He has more than 10 years experience as a professional journalist, working for such news outlets as the Frederick News-Post, The Shepherdstown Chronicle, Patch.com and the Austin Business Journal.
Mount Rainier City Council is considering joining a growing list of local governments to endorse a congressional plan to expand Medicare. The measure to support a partisan congressional proposal – the Medicare for All Act is a proposal from Democratic legislators – is notable in Prince George’s normally non-partisan city governments.
The measure was introduced by Mount Rainier Mayor Celina Benitez at the city’s June 15, 2021 City Council meeting, who noted the partisan, all Democratic Prince George’s County Council had issued a similar resolution. In introducing the measure, Benitez said the pandemic underscores the need for a healthcare reform.
“It’s not just the fact that Covid has been a problem,” said Benitez. “It has highlighted a lot of the areas that need help in the healthcare system.”
The measure seems to have support from most of the rest of City Council, who each offered brief remarks indicating at least conceptual support of Benitez’s resolution.
Only Councilor Luke Chesek had reservations, saying “I’m just not necessarily there yet on this.”. In a three-minute discourse in which Chesek noted he once wrote a paper on health law policy in law school and also reads long-form journalism on the topic, he contrasted Medicare with insurance options available under the existing Affordable Care Act.
Editor’s note: Route 1 Reporter is a subscriber-supported local news website. In the interest of the public discourse, articles about government policy are available for free. If you like the reporting, please support Route 1 Reporter on Patreon. Hyattsville City Council unanimously approved an ambitious “Housing Action Plan” whose policies, if fully fleshed out, they hope will preserve and produce affordably-priced housing in the growing suburb. The vote came during the city’s May 17, 2021, Council meeting without much comment, perhaps because City Council has been deliberating over the document for more than a year.
Debates over proposed self-storage facilities in the Route 1 corridor – and elsewhere – have been contentious in the past. But a new self-storage facility planned for the existing retail loading docks beneath the Mall at Prince George’s didn’t seem to raise much in the way of critical objections from Hyattsville City Council members, with one exception.
Hyattsville voters chose incumbent interim Mayor and Ward 1 City Councilor Kevin Ward as their next mayor, along with five other City Council members, concluding the spring 2021 municipal election season along the Route 1 corridor, with elections in Mount Rainier, Brentwood, Riverdale Park and University Park taking place the week before.
The elections brought some firsts, as well. In Hyattsville Ward becomes the first African American man elected to the Mayor’s office. Ward is also the first African American man to serve as Mayor, though he earned that distinction in January when he succeeded former Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, who resigned her seat early to focus on other political ambitions.
Ward handily beat campaign rivals in Ward Five City Councilor Joseph Solomon and political newcomer Austin Martinez. Ward received 1,606 votes to Solomon’s 823 and Martinez’s 247. With only 500 same-day votes uncounted, Ward’s 783-vote lead over Solomon is more than enough to secure the win.