Just outside the beltway is a fascinating place to live, just ask Holly Ellison Henderson. Henderson loves Prince George’s County, Maryland, but she also believes that, “It’s time for sweeping change” when it comes to the current administration and the Washington establishment, which is why she is running for the 26th district of the Maryland House of Delegates. This is Henderson’s first bid for public office, and if elected she will become the first African-American Republican woman to serve in the Maryland General Assembly.
Henderson, 35, is a wife, a mother, a Christian and a conservative. I met Holly at the University of North Florida, and we became good friends through school and church. Back then she was involved in Student Government and our Christian Bible study group. I remember her as bright, outspoken, level-headed, and always fun to be around. I caught up with her recently and asked why she chose to run for office at this time. “It was the natural next step,” she told me. “I’ve always had a passion for being civic-minded and a desire to be an advocate for others. Politics begins at home with a need and a desire to see change within your community, and I’m concerned about the community I live in. I want to see the businesses, the schools and the families of Prince George’s County succeed, but we have some challenges ahead of us.”
Henderson shared that Maryland is tenth in the nation for home foreclosures and Prince George’s County is number one in Maryland for the same. She continued, “Families are being taxed beyond reason. Property taxes account for nearly one-third of homeowners’ mortgage payments. Families need affordable housing; this means lowering taxes, cutting bureaucracy within government and within the industry. And that’s just scratching the surface of the problem.” If elected Henderson vows to go to work addressing such pressing issues as housing reform, job creation, and better educational opportunities for the people of Prince George’s County.
Although Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1 in Henderson’s District, she tells me that many of the Democrat talking points do not resonate with the residents of that area.
Most African-Americans I speak with are pro-life and generally conservative, but they are not voting that way. There appears to be a disconnect between many African-Americans in Prince George’s County and the Republican Party. It’s a real catch-22, and the problem is one of perception. The African-American community feels neglected and misunderstood by the Republican Party, and the GOP has not reached out to many of these communities because the Party has not perceived any interest. As a result the Party has not directed much of its limited resources into these areas. The only way to see this change is to get involved and listen to the needs of individuals addressing the issues they are concerned about. That’s what I intend to do.
Public service is not new to Henderson. After former Maryland Governor, Bob Ehrlich, was elected in 2002, Holly was invited to join Ehrlich’s Administration (2002-2006) with the Maryland Department of Transportation as the Deputy Director of Communications for the Maryland Aviation Administration at BWI Marshall Airport. Holly served as an official spokesperson and worked as a liaison between the airports and local residents, community organizations and businesses. This led her to pursue her Master’s of Science in Transportation Management at Morgan State University and author a Thesis entitled, “The Impact of 9/11 on Airport Security Systems: A Case Study of BWI Airport.” Before joining the Ehrlich Administration Holly worked in the private sector for Continental Airlines, Inc. gaining experience throughout the company. There she served customers as a ticket agent and a flight attendant as well as helping to load luggage and push planes out onto the tarmac.
Today Henderson finds herself once again working alongside Bob Ehrlich as he seeks to serve another term as Maryland’s Governor. “I support Governor Ehrlich’s campaign, because I trust him to work for the people of Maryland honestly and fairly. I have chosen to be a member of the Republican Party because I believe it most closely aligns itself with Biblical values.” As a student of history, Holly hopes to tread the path paved by patriots like Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – all Republicans.
Still, above all Holly Henderson is a woman of faith. She told me that her relationship with Jesus is foremost and is the basis for all she is, all she has accomplished, and all she seeks to do. The following statement sums up her position quite nicely,
I believe in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, fiscal responsibility, Pro-Life and that marriage is between one man and one woman. I believe that the creation and application of public policy apart from true Biblical and spiritual truths is impotent.
To learn more about Holly Ellison Henderson please visit her website at Holly for House.