Incumbent District 3 Councilman Henri Gardner wants more time, and he’s hoping the citizens of Bowie will give him two more years on the council when they vote on Nov. 5.
“The seats are only two years. I feel like I could do so much more if I have time,” Gardner said in an interview.
Gardner, who’s lived in Bowie for seven years, is running for his second term as the District 3 representative. Gardner was originally appointed by the Bowie City Council to fill the at-large seat vacated by Rep. Geraldine Valentino-Smith after she was elected to the Maryland House of Representatives. Gardner ran for the District 3 seat against current challenger Babatunde Alegbeleye, and won, in the November 2011 elections.
As District 3 representative, Gardner has helmed a few projects to serve residents, including launching the city’s job fair. Going strong for two years now, the fair attracts dozens of local employers and hundreds of residents looking for work.
“Comcast has hired many people form the career fairs. We also have ... interviewing techniques because a lot of people are returning to work,” Gardner said of the fair.
Another issue of importance to Gardner is the Bowie Racetrack property. Gardner says he does support the city’s purchase of both the stable and the racetrack property, but he does not support further development on the land, or anywhere in Bowie at this time.
“We really have to be concerned about bringing in any more residential until we have more supportive infrastructure, and that needs to happen across the city,” Gardner said, citing the aging Bowie High School, and poor road conditions on Route 197, Governor’s Bridge Road and other areas of the city.
He’s also been working closely with the residents of the Pin Oak Retirement community. Residents there reached out to Gardner with complaints of frayed carpets, dirty furniture, rodent droppings and other unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
Gardner reached out to the county housing authority on behalf of the residents, and the result was improved conditions.
“Conditions have improved, carpets have been replaced, traps placed for rodents, furniture has been cleaned,” Gardner said.
He also helped the residents form a committee so they can advocate for themselves should conditions deteriorate in the future.
Gardner is also proud of the work he has done with the
city’s environmental committee. His legislation to authorize the city to
looking for alternative power solutions passed the council, and he says it may
save not only the environment, but also money.
“We are standing out a feasibility study to look at alternative solutions such as solar and wind power, recycling our trash [gasification] and turning it in to electricity to supply,” Gardner said, enabling the city to possibly sell energy back to the grid and prevent any increases in taxes.
If residents should choose to reelect Gardner, he said he will continue to work on senior issues, development and jobs for residents. He’ll also continue to support the city’s efforts to be more sustainable, to attract more grocery retailers and continue providing services to citizens without raising taxes.
Gardner's name will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot in the city of Bowie’s elections. For more information on the elections, or to find your polling place, check the city’s website.
Patch has requested interviews with all Bowie council candidates running in contested elections. Profiles of other candidates will appear on Bowie Patch throughout the week.