Polangin among four who have filed to run for Bowie council seat

John McNamara
Contact Reporterjmcnamara@capgaznews.com

Diane Polangin, who was removed from her District 2 seat on the Bowie City Council in a December recall election, has filed to run for the seat she recently vacated.

Polangin filed to run in the March 12 special election on Friday. According to the city charter, a candidate who is recalled is eligible to run in the subsequent special election. Polangin has served on the council since 2007.

“Since the recall vote, I have heard from many constituents telling me to keep on fighting on behalf of victims of domestic violence, our veterans, our young people, and our community. That is why I filed (Friday) to run for the District 2 seat - to finish my term on the Bowie City Council,” she said in statement.

With Polangin’s entry, there are four candidates for the District 2 vacancy: Polangin, former at-large council member Dufour Woolfley, longtime Bowie volunteer firefighter Pete Mellits and Bowie educator Monica Roebuck, a newcomer on the political scene.

“I probably would have just let (the recall result) ride, but I’ve gotten hundreds of emails saying ‘Run again’ or ‘We’ll miss you,” Polangin said. “People were really wanting me to continue to finish my term.”

In the Dec. 12 recall election, 69.23 percent of the 1,615 District 2 voters who cast ballots voted in favor of Polangin’s removal.

Polangin cast one of the “yes” votes on the controversial Marketplace apartment complex, although she negotiated so the original plan was reduced in size.

The recall election was scheduled after a petition signed by more than 25 percent of the approximately 10,000 registered voters in District 2 was presented to the City in November and certified. A group calling itself the Bowie Citizens for Accountable Government organized the petition drive and collected the signatures.

The same group tried in the spring to collect enough signatures to initiate a recall, but came up a few hundred names short.

Representatives from the citizens’ group have said they will endorse a candidate in the District 2 race once the Feb. 9 filing deadline has passed.

Among those Polangin will be running against in the special election is Woolfley, who was appointed to the at-large seat that came open in January of 2015 after Todd Turner won election to the Prince George’s County Council. Woolfley also has served on the Bowie financial advisory committee, the city’s strategic planning initiative committee, and the city’s elections task force.

Mellits, meanwhile, has 30 years of experience in local fire service/public safety, having served as chief officer with the city’s volunteer fire department. He has served as the department’s liaison to the city’s public safety committee. The Bowie native also has three decades of land use experience as a civil engineer. He has been a candidate for open seats on the council previously.

Roebuck, also a Bowie native, has spent the last dozen years teaching social studies at Benjamin Tasker Middle School. Prior to that, she taught at Samuel Ogle Middle School for four years. She also serves on Bowie State University’s School of Education advisory board and previously worked on the city’s civic affairs committee.

For the special election, two polling places will be set up in District 2 – the same spots used in the recall election and the regular city elections.

Voters in District 2A will cast their ballots at Community Christian Presbyterian Church on Belair Drive. Voters in 2B will vote at the Kenhill Center.

Neighborhoods in District 2 include: Belair Town, Bowie Forest, Fairview, Glenridge, Grady’s Walk, Highbridge Park, Meadowbrook (only the streets south and west of Millstream Drive), Somerset, Stewart’s Landing, and Tulip Grove. District 2B neighborhoods include Buckingham, Derbyshire, Forest Hills, Foxhill, Longridge, and Kenilworth.

Only residents of District 2 are eligible to vote in the March 12 election.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to city officials.

The winner of the election will be the candidate with the most votes.

Any resident interested in filing to run for the District 2 seat should contact City Clerk Awilda Hernandez at 301-809-3029 or ahernandez@cityofbowie.org. Candidate information can be found at www.cityofbowie.org/election.

A candidate for the seat must live in District 2, be a registered voter, and have lived in the city for at least one year.

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