Bowie's newest councilman has a passion for education
By Rachael Pacella
Feb 13, 2019 at 4:00 PM
Darian Senn-Carter is Bowie’s newest City Council member, but the title of educator is the one closest to his heart.
A professor at Anne Arundel Community College and doctor of education, Senn-Carter has mentored college and high school students and started three scholarships — just a few of the achievements he listed when being interviewed by the City Council for the vacant District 3 position this month.
“Education, it transforms lives. Its impact transcends lifetimes and is felt from generation to generation. Education provides keys to resources and opportunities, it builds bridges and foundations and it provides pathways even when roads seem to lead to dead ends,” he said.
Bowie was ranked by USA Today as the top city in which to live in Maryland, Senn-Carter said, and the educational attainment of its citizens was one of the factors.
As he joins the council, the 32-year-old said he wants to talk with city committees about their work and hear from the public about ways the city can continue to move toward its motto: “Growth, unity, progress.”
“It is my belief to dedicate myself and my life to enhance the lives of others,” he said.
Student engagement is important to his work at the college’s Homeland Security and Criminal Justice Institute. There, he turned a conversation with former students into a mentorship program.
Public engagement will be important for Senn-Carter on the council, he said; after all, the residents are at the top of the city’s organizational chart.
Courtney Glass stepped down from the District 3 seat last year and, with less than 15 months before November’s city election, the council was mandated by law to select a replacement. With her departure and Senn-Carter’s selection, the City Council is now all-male.
The council interviewed 24 candidates in three closed meetings over three days, citing an exemption in Maryland’s Open Meetings Act that allows for private discussion of personnel or appointees. The interviews were published online after they were all completed. The last meeting and interview was Feb. 6 and, at the conclusion, the council went into open session.
Five council members voted to appoint Senn-Carter, and one abstained. The council didn’t deliberate or discuss the merits of the candidates in open session, but thanked city staff and the applicants.
Senn-Carter said he plans to run for the District 3 seat.
Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said with 27 candidates — 24 ultimately interviewed — the decision process was like distilling. Senn-Carter’s name came out on top, Robinson said.
He said Senn-Carter will bring a strong set of skills to the council with his background as a professor. Before working at Anne Arundel Community College, Senn-Carter worked as an emergency planner for Baltimore city, another valuable skill, Robinson said.
As for development, Senn-Carter said he wants strategic planning and community involvement through every stage of the process. His district includes Bowie Town Center, where the owners of the now-shuttered Sears property are seeking to redevelop the site for mixed residential, office, hotel and retail use.
Bowie remaining a city of prominence means it will need to grow in some capacity, Senn-Carter said.
“District 3 is the economic district of the city, it is almost the heart of the city, and for some development like this it is probably the most suitable location for this type of development,” he said.
Senn-Carter lives with his husband in the Enfield Chase neighborhood of Bowie. He is a graduate of Dunbar High School in Baltimore, has an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree from Towson University and a doctorate in education from Edgewood College in Wisconsin. He is also a musician who plays the trombone, a tennis player and a runner.
He will be sworn in at the next council meeting Tuesday.