Bernice Mireku-North, who finished second in a four-candidate race in the Democratic primary for the county’s state’s attorney earlier this year, is now running again — this time, to fill a vacancy in the House of Delegates’ 14th District.
The seat will be vacated by Eric Luedtke next month, as he will be joining Gov.-elect Wes Moore’s administration. The county’s Democratic Central Committee is accepting applications from Democrats who live in District 14 and want to replace him in Annapolis.
District 14 covers part of Damascus, Laytonsville, Olney, Sandy Spring, Burtonsville and other eastern parts of the county.
Mireku-North said her experience both as a local prosecutor and criminal defense attorney will be valuable in Annapolis, especially on issues involving public safety — whether they be violent crime, or vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian deaths on roadways countywide.
She added that she’s also focused on areas like food insecurity and environmental issues.
It’s important that she has already run for local office — but it’s more important that candidates who want to serve in elected office put in time traveling their communities, and listening to as many potential constituents as possible, Mireku-North said.
“I think it’s not so much that one has run for office, it’s why one is running, and the timing of it all,” Mireku-North said. “We’re in pretty imperiled times in our democracy, and we’re all striving for the democracy that we deserve. … It’s putting in the sweat equity. It shows that we are investing in a better Montgomery County, and a better Maryland.”
Mireku-North said that putting better lighting along New Hampshire Avenue in Colesville, near where she lives, will help with pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle safety.
On a broader level, she said that she will work with grassroots organizations to deal with issues facing the district. That includes public safety and the community’s relationship with police, she added.
County police do a good job of fielding criticism from community members, and learning from it. But she knows, given her background, that there is still room for progress — especially as she reflects on how her child might interact with police.
“We can’t ignore it … from being not just a former prosecutor, but as a Black mom … you’re always worried about, what if they get stopped for the wrong reason, because that’s the history of our country,” Mireku-North said.
Applicants for the District 14 vacancy must submit their application no later than 5 p.m. Dec. 16.
There will also be a public forum with the candidates held on Zoom at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21.
MCDCC will then hold a special meeting on Jan. 3 to interview applicants and vote on a recommendation to the governor.