A veteran behind the scenes player in Annapolis and Prince George’s County is envisioning stepping out onto the main political stage.
Attorney and lobbyist Leonard L. Lucchi this week filed to become a candidate for mayor of Bowie, his hometown.
Lucchi is running for a seat that will be vacant for the first time since 1998: Mayor Fred Robinson told the Bowie Blade-News Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in November.
In an interview, Lucchi, 61, said that after decades of advocating for a variety of candidates and causes, “I’m ready to give back to the town I grew up in.”
Bowie, the fifth biggest city in Maryland, has seen explosive growth in recent years, with the population approaching 60,000. Lucchi, who was raised in the home where he and his family live now, said he remembers when the city’s population was no more than 1,000.
Lucchi said his top goal is home rule status for the city when it comes to planning, zoning and development decisions.
“It’s time the city have home rule development authority the way other cities in the state do,” he said.
Lucchi said he also wants to strengthen the city’s ties with Bowie State University – including letting students vote in municipal elections.
Lucchi has been part of the Maryland political scene for decades, as a political volunteer, staffer and lawyer, but other than winning elections to become a delegate at Democratic National Conventions, this will be his first run for public office.
An attorney with the powerhouse O’Malley, Miles, Nylen & Gilmore, P.A firm in Calverton, specializing in land use and government relations, Lucchi has had an array of private sector, government and nonprofit clients through the years. In the past General Assembly session, Lucchi worked on the $15-an-hour minimum wage bill, college affordability, expansion of electric vehicle tax credits, and prescription drug affordability, among other measures.
He has also held a variety of jobs with Prince George’s County government, including director of Legislative Affairs under the late county executive Wayne K. Curry (D), county attorney, and chief labor negotiator. He is a former president of the Maryland Government Relations Association and a former president of the Greater Bowie Chamber of Commerce.
But for all his political work and connections, Lucchi said he realizes that running for office is a different matter – and that he needs to “visit voters at their homes early and often.”
“I’m a behind the scenes guy – I don’t pretend to be known,” he said. “It’ll be fun. It’ll be something different.”
Lucchi said he hopes to pick up the endorsement of Robinson, the departing mayor spent eight years on the City Council before winning the top job in 1998.
“Someone a whole lot wiser than me once said there’s a time for everything. And I’ve been here 20 years now, which is longer than I ever intended to stay,” Robinson told the Blade-News.
During his 20 years in office, Robinson – a retired major in the Prince George’s County Police Department – created a city police force and held the line on property taxes for the past 10 years.
Keith Jackson, who finished a distant third in the 2015 mayoral election as a 21-year-old University of Maryland student, has already filed to try again. Other potential contenders include City Councilmember Isaac Trouth, former councilmember Dennis Brady, who ran against Robinson four years ago, and technology business owner Timothy Adams, who unsuccessfully challenged state Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters in the Democratic primary last year.
“I’m going to work harder than anybody else,” Lucchi vowed.
Disclosure: Lucchi was a member of the Maryland Matters Steering Committee, an unpaid, informal role.