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Protests And Pandemic: College Park Mayor Reflects On Her First Six Months In Office

Mayor Bianca Motley Broom joins "Closer Look" on Friday's edition of the program to reflect upon her first six months in office.
Mayor Bianca Motley Broom joins "Closer Look" on Friday's edition of the program to reflect upon her first six months in office.
Credit Lily Oppenheimer / WABE

A pandemic, protests and the usual politics that come with being an elected official — these are just a few of the issues College Park Mayor Bianca Motley Broom has encountered during her first six months in office.

“The situation is so fluid,” Mayor Motley Broom told “Closer Look” host Rose Scott on Friday’s edition of the program. “We are making determinations about how we run this city on the fly at points.”

Back in December, Broom defeated former six-term Mayor Jack Longino in a runoff election.

The former magistrate judge became the first female and first African American mayor to lead this city in its 130-year history.

Now, Mayor Motley Broom says one of her priorities is leading her city through COVID-19 — as well as the as well financial crisis the pandemic has brought on.

“For our frontline workers we did add hazard pay for them…and we think it was an important step to make sure that we were appreciative of their sacrifices during this pandemic,” Motley Broom said. “However, we have to look at that moving forward into the next fiscal year because at this point — as a city — we haven’t received CARES Act funding.”

Mayor Motley Broom said she is waiting to see if and when state officials will distribute direct funding to her city, as well as other small municipalities.

When asked how much the city is losing in revenue due to the pandemic, Motley Broom said, “That’s an even deeper question.”

“Our city, unlike a lot of others, is highly depending upon tourism and hospitality…” Motley Broom said. “When we looked at our April hotel tax revenues we had about $122,000, and — just by comparison — in April of 2019 and 2018 we got a little over a million dollars each month.”

At the same time, Mayor Motley Broom said she is also focused on the protests calling for racial justice happening across the nation, as well as in her own community.

“If you’re not outraged by some of the things that have been going on in the last few weeks then, I don’t know,” said Motley Broom. ” But it’s a moment for the entire country, and I hope in College Park it will move us closer to that community that we deserve.”

Guest:

To listen to the full conversation, click on the audio player above.