BLADENSBURG, Md. (7News) — On Sunday, months after Maryland Senator Ben Cardin announced his retirement, several Democrats took the stage during a candidate forum in Bladensburg competing for his seat.
The seat is now a competitive battleground as Cardin leaves behind a decades-long political career.
Sunday’s event was held at Elizabeth Seton High School, put on by the Latino Democrats of Prince George’s County and included candidates who’ve fundraised more than $200,000 for their campaigns.
The three candidates who spoke onstage included history-making Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, Maryland 6th District Congressmember and self-made businessman behind Total Wine & More David Trone and business executive and Gulf War Veteran Juan Dominguez.
7News asked each of these candidates why they should win the Latino vote.
“I feel it’s a great opportunity for not only for Latinos to come together, but all people of color and working-class Marylanders to once and for all have representation for them first, and special interest way down the road,” Dominguez said.
In exclusive one-on-one interviews, 7News also asked the candidates how they would prioritize fighting the growing crime crisis in the region and beyond.
“I think the first thing we have to do is help close the income inequality gap because crime usually stems from people who don’t have a lot of opportunity,” Dominguez said.
To close that gap, Dominguez is proposing a wealth tax “to help appropriate dollars.”
“We need to make sure our police departments are resourced, our prosecutors have the tools they need, to put away violent criminals,” Dominguez said.
7News also asked how the candidates would work to decrease crime involving juvenile offenders.
“What we need to do is recreate and re-envision hope in areas like Prince George’s County and throughout the state, so young people see a path toward a brighter future,” Dominguez said.
Candidates also shared their ideas to grapple with both the opioid and mental health crises.
“It’s amazing how so much ties to income inequality or income opportunity,” Dominguez said. “We need to create a healthcare-for-all system, where things such as mental health and opioid addiction and things of that nature can be addressed for all Americans.”