Sen. Douglas Peters estimates he’s knocked on more than 40,000 doors in his career.
Since he’s served in the state Senate, he’d go door-to-door to talk to constituents after every General Assembly session closed. But this will be the first year he doesn’t as he’s decided to resign from his District 23 seat.
“I am going to miss reaching out to the constituents and visiting them. It is all about helping them,” he said. “The 23rd senate seat is the constituents’ and they decided who should serve there and I was honored to do that.”
He doesn’t know if he is retiring yet. His first family vacation since he has been in office will be to the Bahamas this summer.
“I am enjoying the moment and this is the first time I can be home and go on vacation in 23 years. My wife is pretty happy I am home during the summer,” Peters said. “The family isn’t used to me being home.”
After his last election in 2018, Peters, D-Prince George’s, said in his mind that he wasn’t going to run again. He has been reelected for three terms and each term is four years. He has served in the senate since 2007. Peters was a Member of Bowie City Council from 1998-2002 and Prince George’s County Council representing Councilmanic District 4 from 2002-06.
Peters said this COVID year was the best year he ever had as chair of the capital budget committee and receiving large amounts of federal money. He has been chair of capital for three years and vice-chair for eight. Most of the projects were job creators or to fund food pantries.
“I was able to really help every senator and delegate with local projects, I called it the Super Bowl of capital,” Peters said. “I have never seen this amount of money available for projects. It was great for all the communities and everybody got something in their districts to be proud of.”
Senate President Bill Ferguson said Peters’ leadership in key areas on the Budget & Taxation Committee and within the Democratic Caucus will be missed.
“Last year, with a global pandemic and stimulus funds coming to the state at a rapid pace, Doug’s leadership as Chair of the Capital Budget committee was essential to making certain that every jurisdiction in Maryland received funds for shovel-ready projects that will help build Maryland back better,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Doug embodies the best of public service, and the Senate of Maryland is a better place because of his contributions to the institution.”
Serving during COVID-19 did have some difficulties for Peters when he was trying to debate bills with a mask and plexiglass between senators.
“For more than two decades Sen. Peters has been a strong leader, a workhorse and the go-to person to get things done in the greater Bowie area and the county. In his low-key yet persuasive manner, he has had a quiet hand in and achieved outstanding results for the areas he has represented during his public service in the city, the county and the State of Maryland,” said Todd Turner, the Prince George’s County Council member from District 4.
Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith said she has worked with Peters for more than a decade and was a mentor.
“Most importantly, Sen. Peters put his constituents first. Because of Sen. Peters’ hard work and commitment, the people of District 23 benefited. From better schools, more recreational opportunities and healthier environment,” Valentino-Smith said. “Because of the actions of Sen. Peters District 23 continues to be a great place to raise a family. The legacy of Doug Peters will live on in District 23.”
Peters is happy to see that other people are interested in the seat, which will be a competitive race, he said.
Cheryl Landis, the chairperson of Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee, said when she receives Peters’ letter of resignation, the committee will have 30 days to hold a public hearing and get candidates to fill his position. The candidate that gets the most votes during the hearing will be the committee’s nominations to Gov. Larry Hogan. The position will be appointed to complete Peters’ term.
“Peters was phenomenal and will leave behind a legacy of excellence in terms of serving the residents of district 23 and he gave of himself selfishly,” Landis said.
Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee will send out a release asking people who are interested in the senate seat to send in resumes, letters of intent and a copy of their voter registration card.
Peters’ advice to the person that replaces him is, “touch as many constituents as possible.”
“Don’t forget who put you in office, whatever you can do for them is most important,” Peters added.