Prince George’s County Democrats chose a replacement for the recently-removed delegate — a respected local businessman who had his own run-ins with the law as a younger man.
Pending the governor’s approval, Gregory A. Hall, a former aide to County Councilman Will Campos (D-Dist. 2) of Hyattsville, will take over the seat vacated by Del. Tiffany Alston (D-Dist. 24) of Mitchellville. Alston was automatically removed from office last month when she pleaded no contest to a charge that she misused campaign funds.
The county’s Democratic Central Committee chose Hall instead of Terry Speigner, the current committee chair, in a 12 to 10 vote at a public hearing Friday in Glenarden.
“I’m not doing this, right now, for a title,” Hall told the committee. “I’m a delegate already. I serve my community each and every day.”
Hall previously ran for a District 24 delegate seat in 2010, coming in just behind Alston.
Five other residents asked to be considered for the vacancy, but none of them received any votes.
An unsigned email sent to several media outlets Thursday referred to Hall, 42, as a “hardened criminal” because he’d faced criminal charges in the 1990s.
Both Hall and several supporters who spoke on his behalf discussed his criminal record as part of a broader story of redemption and recovery.
Hall faced two drug possession charges and two handgun possession charges between 1991 and 1995, and said he spent 40 days in jail in 1992.
“I got into trouble,” Hall said. “Finally, I said to myself, this is not the way I want to go.”
Hall said two subsequent misdemeanor theft charges arose from occasions when he purchased cars at auction and was later stopped because the license plates hadn’t yet been properly transferred; prosecutors did not pursue either charge.
Now married and raising five children, Hall owns three businesses in the county, including two Boost Mobile stores in Seat Pleasant. His wife, Jacqueline, is principal of Glenn Dale Elementary School.
Campos and state Sen. Joanne C. Benson (D-Dist. 24) of Landover offered testimonials on Hall’s behalf, with Campos calling him an activist “who has his ear to the ground, who knows what’s happening,” and had been an effective liaison between the government and the community.
Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant offered a particularly impassioned endorsement.
“Greg Hall is an individual, just like David, who can go down there and slay Goliath,” Grant said.
Speigner, who served as committee chair from 2006 to 2010 and was elected again in October, was supported by Dels. Carolyn J.B. Howard (D-Dist. 24) of Mitchellville and Michael L. Vaughn (D-Dist. 24) of Bowie.
Speigner recused himself at the beginning of the meeting, which was run by another committee member throughout the election process.