Democrats in Prince George’s County select appointee to vacant state house seat

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The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee selected Denise Roberts on Thursday to fill a vacant seat in the House of Delegates.

The central committee will forward Roberts’ name to Gov. Wes Moore (D), who has up to 15 days to confirm the appointment.

Roberts, who worked as communications director for county State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy (D), received 19 of the 26 votes from her fellow county Democrats.

Five other Democratic challengers sought the vacant seat, including former Del. Angela Angel, who turned 44 years old on Tuesday but didn’t receive a vote.

Antoine Thompson, who the governor appointed to the 31-member Maryland Commission on Transportation Revenue and Infrastructure Needs, garnered four votes. Thompson is the executive director of the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition.

Rhonda Porter, assistant secretary on the central committee, received three votes. Porter is president of Local 1170 Prince George’s County Health Department Supervisors and an adjunct professor at Bowie State University.

The other candidate to appear during the committee’s online public hearing was Jonathan Rosero, a veterinarian who ran unsuccessfully in last year’s Democratic primary trying to unseat former Sen. Melony Griffith.

Karlton Genwright experienced technical difficulties and wasn’t able to speak.

As for Roberts, she highlighted her advocacy for small businesses, experience as vice president of a PTSO (parent teacher student organization) and leadership of a local coffee club with the county police department.

She did seek an elected office in last year’s Democratic primary, for the County Council’s District 6 seat, but came in second place.

“I just want to thank you all for taking the time to talk to me about this process. I do not take this new responsibility lightly,” Roberts said after the vote. “I will represent District 25 and Prince George’s County well, and I look forward to working with all of you.”

If the appointment becomes official, Roberts will replace Nick Charles, who was sworn in this month to the state Senate to replace Griffith. Griffith resigned to become president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association.

Charles appeared Thursday to speak on behalf of Roberts, whom he praised as an entrepreneur and community activist.

“In addition to all of those things, she’s a team player. She shows up consistently,” he said. “That’s one of the key things about getting behind her. Everybody in the District 25 team has come together to support Denise.”

Del. Karen Toles (D-Prince George’s), whom the committee appointed in January 2022 to replace Dereck E. Davis, a former delegate now the state’s treasurer, also spoke Thursday.

“You have her resume. It’s three pages long,” said Toles, who she said has known Roberts for more than a decade. “She’s a hard worker. She does not come around just when elections happen. We are looking forward to having Denise to come out [and] come to Annapolis in a few short weeks and join us.”

The first day of the 90-day legislative session is Jan. 10. The other District 25 delegate is Kent Roberson, who previously served as chair of the central committee before his appointment as a delegate this year.

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