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Bowie Mayor Tim Adams announces run for state comptroller

Bowie Mayor Tim Adams announced Tuesday that he’s entering the race for Maryland comptroller in 2022.

The first-term Democratic mayor weighed the idea for three months with an exploratory committee.

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He’s the second Democrat in the race, alongside Del. Brooke Lierman of Baltimore. No Republican candidates have entered the race so far.

The position of comptroller is expected to be open in 2022, as Democrat Peter Franchot, first elected to the job in 2006, is running for governor.

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Adams was elected mayor in 2019 after failing to win a state Senate race in 2018.

He kicked off his campaign with a dramatic biographical video, starting with his childhood in New Orleans. The piece shows images of a police officer menacing a Black child with a rifle. The child then is shown running through the woods.

“You don’t forget the sound of a shotgun or the shouting of a mob when you’re running for your life,” Adams says in the video. “But hate knows no color, and I was lucky.”

In an interview, Adams said those scenes are a compilation of a few events from when he was a teenager. He and others fled during a melee between Black and white students over integration that left one white teenager dead. Later on, Adams said a police officer grabbed him in a school hallway and pointed a gun at him, thinking he was bent on trouble. In fact, Adams said, his mother was picking him up early from school to keep him away from rumored violence.

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“I grew up seeing way too much death and violence,” Adams said.

Bowie Mayor Tim Adams speaks at a community meeting at the Kenhill Center.
Bowie Mayor Tim Adams speaks at a community meeting at the Kenhill Center. (Paul W. Gillespie)

The video goes on to chart Adams attending college, building a defense contracting business and moving to Maryland.

Adams is founder and CEO of Systems Applications & Technologies Inc., an engineering, technology and logistics company. He’s racked up business awards and served on the boards of several charities and nonprofit organizations.

Adams has noted that, if elected, he would be the first Black comptroller and the first person in statewide office with paraplegia. The video notes Adams was paralyzed in an accident and uses a wheelchair. The accident is not described in the video, but Adams said he slipped and fell outside a Virginia museum.

“I might not be able to walk,” Adams says in the video, “but that’s never stopped me from running.”

The comptroller serves as the state’s chief tax collector, and the office has a hand in regulating businesses. Also, the comptroller sits on the three-member Maryland Board of Public Works, which has final say on state contracts and spending.

Adams says in the video that as comptroller, he’d strengthen the state employee pension system, “hold big corporations accountable,” improve the state’s contracting processes and ensure quality public schools.

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