LEONARDTOWN, Md. – Candace Hollingsworth[D] was elected mayor of Hyattsville, Maryland, in 2015 and was the youngest and first black mayor in the city’s history. She is now the running mate alongside Doug Gansler[D] in the 2022 Maryland Gubernatorial election.
Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Hollingsworth did not initially intend on becoming a politician. She started her journey at the Children’s Hospital in Washington DC after moving to the region with her husband. She then received a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University.
In 2009, she and her husband bought a home in Hyattsville. After observing what was happening on the council at the time, and hearing other concerns from people within the city, this ultimately led to Hollingsworth wanting to run for office. She initially served as a council member in 2011 for four years. After that, in 2015, she became mayor, where she would ultimately step down in December of 2020.
“Being mayor, specifically, is the best job I never knew I wanted. To have the opportunity to see things that you think should be changed or be different and have the power to actually make that happen is, in a word, is cool,” Hollingsworth told TheBayNet.com during a trip to Southern Maryland. “I’m just incredibly blessed that the people of Hyattsville allowed me to lead for that period of time. The things that I’ve always been passionate about are education and how you build community. The thing that keeps me up at night is how you build community without pushing the people away that made it a community in the first place.”
After stepping down, Hollingsworth turned her focus toward building an organization that she helped found called “Our Black Party.” The political organization was established to help support people and policies that would improve the lives of black people nationwide.
“I view this opportunity as a chance to take that same work at the next level and to be able to focus on issues that matter to everyone and especially black Marylanders, but with a particular focus on quality of life,” Hollingsworth said. “We all have things that we experience, whether it’s down to if my trash is picked up on time or if the roads are paved well enough so I don’t have to pay for maintenance on my car because I’m knocking my tires out…
Also, if it’s being able to have a great place to live that’s safe, and to make sure that the choices that we have to make about our lives are not constrained by these things that the government really has the power to actually fix. I’m excited about being able to do that with Doug in this role in particular, and for him to also bring his skills and strengths, particularly with building safe communities with law enforcement so that we can make Maryland a great place for everyone.”
Hollingsworth also discussed how her and Gansler’s plan will support small businesses statewide.
“Our job is to make sure that we are not just focusing on what’s going to bring in the big guys and the big retailers, but that we focus on making those similar opportunities,” she said. “Whether it’s creating tax incentives or bolstering existing programs to make sure that we make the process of starting a new business significantly easier to start up, but also easier to sustain themselves. Especially like we saw in the past two years, in the face of challenges that are beyond their control.”
Hollingsworth says that their ticket will focus on ensuring every citizen in the state has a voice and is represented by their top officials.
“I think that the issues that we face right now, especially as we are recovering from COVID, it’s important that the state has a team that is actually able to lead from the very beginning,” Hollingsworth said. “Doug and I both have executive-level leadership, but we also both have our individual strengths that address the things that all of our communities are asking for. All of our communities want to be safe, but we don’t want to do that by sacrificing what is just and what is right, and I think that by both of us working together to build strong communities from the start, that we meet that vision much sooner than anyone else.”
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