A longtime community organizer who is the county’s business liaison officer said Friday that he is running for a County Council district seat.
Daniel Koroma, a White Oak resident, said he has filed to run and is expecting he will be in the new East County district.
This month, the county’s redistricting commission chose a proposed map that includes seven districts instead of five, based on a ballot question that voters approved in November 2020. It will be up to the County Council to decide on a final version of the map.
The ballot question proposed increasing the number of council districts from five to seven, and the overall membership from nine to 11 seats. Outside of the districts, four at-large seats represent the entire county.
Koroma’s district, as currently proposed, would span from White Oak to Burtonsville and Spencerville, and west to Colesville and parts of Leisure World.
Currently, under the existing map, he is in District 5, which covers Silver Spring, Takoma Park and spans northeast through White Oak to Burtonsville.
Fatmata Barrie and William “Chip” Montier, who have announced they are running for a district seat, would also currently be running in District 5. But district lines in the area are not yet finalized.
Koroma said that since White Oak will likely be the “anchor” of a new district, he looks forward to running in an East County district, no matter what the final boundaries are.
Koroma said his experience includes establishing the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center at the East County Regional Service Center in Fairland. The center has served thousands of adults, through computer classes, job training and other related services, Koroma said.
He has been one of the leading voices in trying to get an early-voting center in White Oak.
He said that as he’s traveled around East County, he’s seen issues ranging from poor housing conditions, to a lack of connectivity in the local transportation network, to schools rapidly aging and potentially becoming unsafe.
“How do we make sure we are able to organize our community in the East County? Because we’ve been neglected for over 40 years,” Koroma said.
He said he respects anybody who runs for the seat, but added that his experience is perhaps his greatest asset. Koroma has worked for the county for more than a decade, and as its business liaison officer since April 2018.
His work ranges from interacting with businesses and nonprofits to local education and transportation issues, he said.
“I’m the most experienced. I am the one who has done these things the last 10, 12 years,” Koroma said. “What is at stake could literally shape not only our life, but the next generation’s life. … if we’re able to get East County right, we can shape the future of the county in the right way.”
The filing deadline for next year’s elections is Feb. 22. The primary election is scheduled for June 28, and the general election is set for Nov. 8.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org