David Harrington, former elected official and business leader, dies at age 68
A former mayor, county official and state senator who later became a business community advocate, died Monday at the age of 68.
David Harrington had served as Bladensburg’s mayor (1995 to 2002), a member of the Prince George’s County Council (2002 to 2008) and a state senator (2008 to 2011).
He had begun a new job in April as senior director of community relations and stakeholder development at Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic Region.
One of his neighbors in Cheverly, former County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, had known Harrington since they met at Howard University in 1978.
“He was the liberal arts student council president my freshman year in college,” Baker said Tuesday. “He spoke to our class and I went to talk to him about student government. He said, ‘You should run for sophomore class president,’ and I did. I later became the liberal arts student council president.”
Harrington’s death touches Baker on several levels because his wife, Christa Beverly Baker, died a year ago on Sept. 18, 2021.
Baker said Harrington’s death led to several phones calls from peers.
“I got several calls from people in our generation in doing health checkups,” he said. “We have to make sure we call each other, especially African American men, on our health.”
In terms of health advocacy, Harrington worked for about a year as a senior policy advisor for CommonHealth ACTION in Washington, D.C.
In addition to his public service work in the county, he’s most known for his more than 10 years as president and CEO for the county’s chamber of commerce.
Harrington revived the chamber and increased its membership to 600 large, medium and small businesses. He used his political experience to advocate for state and local pro-business policies.
“David was loved, respected, and admired throughout the region,” according to a statement from the chamber. “The Chamber shares the sorrow of his family, the community, and businesses of Prince George’s County, as well as the entire public at his passing. We are heartbroken but will continue, as an organization, to honor his mission of excellence, service, advocacy, policy advisory, mentorship, and leadership.”
David Iannucci, president and CEO of the Prince George’s Economic Development Corp., called Harrington a “tireless advocate” for economic development in the county.
“This loss is coming as a great shock to the business community,” Iannucci said. “He had a huge presence that is going to be greatly missed.”
Iannucci used many words to describe Harrington, but he said one stands out: “mentor.”
Among his mentees is state Sen. Malcolm Augustine (D-Prince George’s), who also resides in Cheverly.
“David was a good friend and mentor who served our community with distinction in a number of capacities,” Augustine said. “I am grateful for our friendship and his tremendous service. Sen. David C. Harrington will be missed, but never forgotten.”
At a fundraiser for Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) on Tuesday evening, U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown (D) asked the crowd to observe a moment of silence in Harrington’s honor.
Brown praised Harrington’s dedication to his family and his political skills and said he “helped lift [the Prince George’s chamber] up out of the ashes.”
Founding Editor Josh Kurtz contributed to this story.