Del. Wanika Fisher to Give Up Seat to Run for Prince George’s Council

Del. Wanika Fisher (D-Prince George's) leaves the State House after a floor session in March. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Del. Wanika B. Fisher (D-Prince George’s), part of a wave of young, progressive state lawmakers elected to the General Assembly in 2018, is opting to end her state legislative career next year and will seek a seat on the Prince George’s County Council instead.

Fisher, who turns 33 next week, plans to formally announce her candidacy later Wednesday morning from her home in Lewisdale, and then will visit a Giant supermarket in Hyattsville, the Crossroads Farmers Market on the border of Takoma Park and Langley Park, and Franklin’s, the popular restaurant and watering hole in Hyattsville. She’ll expound on her desire to change jobs during a virtual fundraiser Thursday evening.

Fisher is seeking the open 2nd District council seat, which is being vacated by Councilmember Deni L. Taveras (D), who is termed out of office. The council district covers Adelphi, Avondale, Brentwood, Carole Highlands, Chillum, Green Meadows, Hyattsville, Langley Park, Lewisdale, Mount Rainier, and North Brentwood.

In an interview, Fisher said that while she has “loved” her time in Annapolis, she is seeking to change jobs because she wants to be involved in the community every day and felt limited by the three-month General Assembly session.

“…Buying a home in the district myself a few years ago, really realizing the issues in the county and wanting to have a more hands-on every day interaction with those things to solve those problems was really the impetus of me not seeking my re-election but going for the council,” she said.

But Fisher said she would use her record in Annapolis to promote her council candidacy.

“I have a record of results, hard work, and leadership,” she said. “As Delegate, I have ensured labor traffickers will be held criminally responsible, protected immigrant families with the Trust Act, changed discriminatory police stops, chaired the subcommittee on compliance for the Prince George’s County Police Reform Workgroup, and sponsored legislation making Maryland the first state in the nation to have legal counsel for low-income residents in eviction proceedings,” she said in a campaign statement.

Fisher’s decision to run for council puts her on a collision course in the Democratic primary with former state Sen. Victor R. Ramirez, who announced his plans to run for the seat two months ago. Ironically, Fisher once was an attorney in Ramirez’s Hyattsville law firm.

Fisher and her allies are certain to make an issue of the fact that Ramirez, who served 16 years in Annapolis before losing a bid for Prince George’s County state’s attorney in 2018, does not currently live in the 2nd District, though by law he doesn’t have to move until the time of the primary, which is June 28, 2022. His Senate district overlapped with a significant portion of the council district, and he grew up and went to school there.

As of mid-January, Fisher had $42,801 in her campaign account, while Ramirez reported $8,288 on hand.

Fisher currently represents a single-member district, 47B, a majority-Latino district that was drawn to send a Latino delegate to Annapolis. But Fisher, whose mother is South African Indian and whose father is from Nigeria, ousted then-Del. Carlo Sanchez, who had been appointed to the seat, in the 2018 Democratic primary.

It isn’t clear yet whether the 47B subdistrict will remain intact following the upcoming round of legislative redistricting or whether all three delegates from District 47 will be elected together in one district. Marlin Jenkins, an aide to Fisher who ran unsuccessfully for a House seat from District 19 in Montgomery County but now lives in 47B, is seen as likely to run to replace her. Another possible candidate for the legislature in District 47, now that her council term is coming to an end: Taveras.

Hannah Gaskill contributed to this report.

[email protected]

Josh Kurtz
Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.