A Bowie resident and active volunteer for 28 years, District 3 council candidate Babatunde Alegbeleye is ready to take a more active role in city government.
“District 3 is the most diverse multi racial, ethnic-wise in the whole city. I know the neighborhood very, very well,” Alegbeleye said.
The 2013 elections mark the third time Alegbeleye has thrown his hat in for a council seat. He challenged incumbent District 3 representative Henri Gardner in 2011, and also put his name in to replace Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith (D, 23A), when she left her council seat to represent Bowie in the Maryland State Legislature. Gardner was chosen over Alegbeleye then as well, but that has not dampened his drive to serve the city.
“I’m ready to roll my sleeves up and get the job done,” Alegbeleye said.
In particular, this father of seven said he would advocate for Bowie’s children if he’s elected to represent District 3 on Nov. 5.
“I am dedicated. I volunteer in the community and I advocate for our children’s needs,” Alegbeleye said.
Alegbeleye has served as an elementary school substitute teacher; he has coached soccer and has mentored teens from Bowie High. He also works with veterans and other seniors as part of his job as a health care provider, providing life saving and CPR trainings to various groups.
It is this volunteerism that Alegbeleye said makes him a good candidate for council.
“The community in District 3 needs someone who understands the community very, very well. I’m always ready to volunteer to get in the trenches to do what needs to be done in our community,” Alegbeleye said.
The citizens, Alegbeleye said, want to be more involved.
“Based on my door knocking, our community lacks feedback,” he said.
This community feedback would be vital if the city were to purchase the Bowie Racetrack and stables, Alegbeleye said. He does support the purchase of both pieces of property, but said if the acquisition happens, the council needs to go to the residents and find out what they’d like to see happen to the land.
“We want the citizens who live around that place to feel like we didn’t just smack them with some sort of development,” Alegbeleye said.
Alegbeleye would also like to see the council be more proactive in its quest to gain more zoning authority over land in the city. He acknowledges that the council has been working on this issue, but thinks they can do more.
“We need to be proactive, not reactive. We need to continue to [the county] know how our city really needs to have control over land use,” Alegbeleye said.
He’d also like to see the city pull in another large employer, like Inovalon, to bring more jobs into Bowie, and more tax revenue.
Alegbeleye says if he is elected, he will work hard to make sure there is more community involvement in District 3, something he thinks has been lacking.
“If you don’t go to the city hall, the city hall should come to you and that’s not happening in my district,” he said.
Alegbeleye'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.