Four candidates running in the Fairmount Heights May 7 election stress a commitment to keeping relationships with law enforcement, preserving the town’s historical significance and finding ways to keep children occupied.
There are four people running for three seats, including incumbents Nancy Dixon Saxon and Jacqueline Wood-Dodson. The challengers include Andina Keith, a former member of the town’s board of elections and former town councilwoman Patricia Waiters. Current Councilwoman Kiristan Leftwich is not seeking a second term but could not be immediately reached by press time.
The polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Fairmount Heights Municipal Center at 6100 Jost St. and a candidate forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 24 at the municipal center, said JoAnn Tucker, town clerk.
Waiters, who served on the Town Council from 2009 to 2011, ran for mayor against current mayor Lillie Thompson-Martin, Saxon, Wood-Dodson and former Fairmount Heights code enforcement officer Ukkundo'Oohwaka
Waiters said one of her biggest platforms is programs town youth. While on the council, Waiters reached out to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission to bring in sports such as soccer and tennis to the town’s parks and stayed on top of Park and Planning about updating playground equipment in 2011 such as the one at the corner of Addison Road and Sheriff Road.
“I decided to run to continue those very specific things I’d like to get done for the citizens,” Waiters said. “I stayed involved with the [Fairmount Heights] Civic Association in one way or another but I feel my best position to serve the citizens is on the council.”
One of Keith’s platforms is public safety. Keith organized “Citizens Against Prostitution” in March 2010 to unite law enforcement from both Prince George’s County and Metropolitan Police in Washington, D.C. with residents who were upset with the prostitution on the Eastern Avenue corridor that sometimes spilled into the municipal borders.
Keith praised Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw for her commitment to helping the town reduce the prostitution activity on the town’s borders.
“This prostitution thing is not going away because of our proximity to the District so I will continue to fight that cause along with the council,” Keith said.
Wood-Dodson, who has been on the council since 2005, said she would like to see the town form committees residents can join on topics such as public safety, youth and public works to engage them beyond the public comment portion of monthly town meetings. She said one of her goals is to have more programming for seniors and children, such as before and after care and a computer lab, with the help of combined town money and grant money. Wood-Dodson didn’t know the specific source for where she would seek grant funds and how much a lab would cost.
“We’re looking to have at least four for people who don’t have one in the home and as a resource for kids who need them to do homework,” Wood-Dodson said.
Saxon, who is running for a third consecutive term since 2008, said one of her goals if re-elected is trying to annex approximately 20 businesses on Marblewood Avenue across from the town’s limits in an unincorporated area to boost the town’s business tax revenue. Saxon said she did not have an estimate available for how much more money it could bring into the town if the businesses were annexed.
After the town was named to the National Register of Historic Places in November 2011, Saxon said she is seeking state grant funds for buildings such as the William Sidney Pittman house on Eastern Avenue. Pittman was an architect who designed town buildings such as Fairmount Heights Elementary School built in 1912 and the school later served as the Mount Zion Apostolic Faith Church in 1934, according to Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning documents. The register, run through the U.S. Department of the Interior, is a list of historic buildings and district across the United States.