With Final State of the County Address, Baker Frames an Economic Message

By Bruce DePuyt, Maryland Matters, published April 18, 2018 Maryland Matters

Rushern L. Baker III said massive private sector investment in Prince George’s County offered validation for the policies and vision he pursued in two terms as county executive and is a sure sign that his long-neglected county has arrived as an economic force, both regionally and throughout Maryland. But he acknowledged that gains in the county’s public schools are fragile and will require constant vigilance.
Delivering his eighth, and final, State of the County address, Baker (D), a candidate for governor, spoke with pride about how Prince George’s is awash in development. The venue for his address, the glittery, new Hotel at the University of Maryland was, if not Exhibit A, certainly a prime example of how investors have come to place their bets on the county.

Pick any spot on the map, Baker and various warm-up speakers told a mostly suit-clad audience of more than 500, and we’ll show you a project that will transform life in that community.
Among the most frequently cited projects:
• The Gaylord Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill
• The MGM National Harbor Casino, also in Oxon Hill
• Kaiser Permanente’s new regional headquarters, being built in New Carrollton
• The U.S. Immigration and Citizenship headquarters, going up at the Branch Avenue Metro
• The University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center, under construction in what county leaders call “downtown Largo”
• And the Whole Foods Market in University Park

“We are number one in job creation in the state of Maryland five quarters in a row,” Baker said. “My favorite part about that is that we don’t make the numbers up. The state has to give them to me.” The joke, not lost on the room, is that — if he survives the Democratic primary — Baker will face off in November against Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R).

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