1. Who are you?
DENNIS WHITLEY, III
8137 Fenwick Court
Laurel, Maryland 20707
I am a life long resident of Prince George’s County. I graduated from Suitland High School in 1989, Morgan State University in 1993 and Rutgers Law School – Newark, New Jersey in 1996. I am currently an attorney in a private practice with 10 years of experience in land use and litigation at Shipley & Horne, P.A. I am also the attorney representing Ward 2 citizens in opposition to the Bozzuto apartment project. Additionally, I am a Peer Review Member on the Attorney Grievance Commission, a Pro Bono Attorney for the Law Foundation of Prince George’s County and an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mediator for the District Court of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
I currently live in the Ashford community, where I have lived since 2003. I am also a member of the Ashford Board of Directors and chair its planning and zoning committee. As a graduate of the County’s public school system, an experienced land use and zoning attorney and a community activist, I will bring a different perspective and skill to the Council’s deliberations and decisions.
2. Why do you want the job of Laurel council member at this time?
The City of Laurel has always been a wonderful place to live, but it is at a crossroad. With the proper guidance from its elected officials the City can continue to thrive as a great place to live, work and play. However, without the proper guidance the City can become a place: 1) overrun with development, 2) hampered by poor ineffective public schools and 3) protected by underpaid discontent police officers. I want the job of Laurel council member at this time to ensure that the Laurel of today and tomorrow is the same wonderful place as the Laurel of yesterday. Moreover, I want the job because I believe I have the experience, the education and the temperament to help lead the City at this crucial time in its history. My experience as an attorney has provided me the opportunity to work with other municipalities in resolving many of the same issues, and it is this experience that I believe separates me from the other candidates running in Ward 2.
3. What are the three most important things you want to accomplish if (re)elected?
Three of the cornerstones of my campaign are 1) increasing safety, 2) improving public education and 3) making land use decision that benefits the City. These are also the three most important things I would like to accomplish if elected. Specifically, I would like to make the City a safer place by retaining experienced and fairly compensated officers and providing officers with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. Additionally, I would improve public education in the City by working with elected County and State officials for increased funding and controlling residential development to ease the overcrowding problem. Lastly, I would make land use decisions that benefit the City. In particular, I would only approve development that encourages smart growth principles and require developer funded CIP projects addressing citizen’s concerns as a condition of approval.
4. What is your vision for Laurel 10 years from today?
My vision for Laurel 10 years from today is simple, a city that is a great place to live, work and play. I want Laurel to be a place where people of all income levels can live in comfort. The City should include million dollar estate homes, high quality one bedroom apartments and everything in between. My vision of Laurel for 10 years from today also has employment opportunities for the individual with the Ph.D. in biology and the teenager looking for their first job. The City has to create a pro-business environment that encourages investment by both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike. Finally, my vision of Laurel for 10 years from today has restaurants with linen tablecloths, where parents can celebrate an anniversary alone, a new Cineplex where a family can enjoy the latest Disney cartoon and a ecologically viable Laurel Lakes. It is extremely important that the City has places within its borders for its residents to eat, shop and entertain. Having vibrant entertainment options in the City not only provides a sense of community, but it also adds to the tax base and creates jobs.