The council is generally the legislative branch of the city government, as well as its policy-making body. The council also looks into the city’s goals, major projects, and infrastructure improvements, such as community growth, land use, finances, and strategic planning.
The fundamental role of a councilman is to serve the interests of their community as a whole. In the event of a conflict between the public interests and the private interests of the councilman, the overall public interests must prevail.
Ric Gordon is a councilman that represents the city of Greenbelt, MD, USA. He was born on September 19th, 1982 in Prince George’s County, Maryland, USA. He is a product of Prince George’s County Public Schools. Ric graduated from Morris College in 2004 obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and also did Pre-Law with a Minor in Psychology. Ric went on to his Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He grew up to love politics when he was 10 years old and he has been involved in serving the public for over 30 years.
Ric is a practicing political scientist who serves in various organizations throughout Greenbelt. For instance, he served as the chair of Greenbelt Voices Rising, the former Vice Chair of The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for Greenbelt, and the former Vice President of GATe TV; to name just a few. He is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc and Prince Hall Freemason. He is also a publisher, author, and speech writer. He is a community activist that has held various voter registration events and community rallies against community violence. He is an advocate for his fellow residents of Franklin Park to the extent that he clamored for their needs and concerns between the property management and the city of Greenbelt. He currently works at the United States Department of Transportation under the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the Office of Defects & Investigations (ODI).
Councilman Ric Gordon lives happily with his wife Carla J Gordon, 4 Kids and 5 Grandkids, and their dogs Nix, Maxx, and Marshall, they reside in the Franklin Park Community in Greenbelt West. One of their daughters is a twenty-two-year-old Zandra Muldrow who married to Naval Shipman Damien Muldrow and they have one child named Josiah Markel.
Councilman Ric Gordon had an exclusive interview with ADEWALE ADENRELE and shares his humanitarian experiences, love for politics and public services in assisting residents with their day-to-day concerns as well as his views on equitable development to effect change on a local level.
Below are Excerpts:
City Council requires a significant time commitment, usually 2-4 meetings a month, as well as reading prep prior to meetings. How do these activities fit in with your other commitments?
Actually, we meet 2-4 times a week. These meetings do not include other organizations’ meetings which I am part of in the community. For me, all these activities are part of what I used as my rallying cry (The People’s Work 24/7). Since I was 10 years old, my love for politics and public service has been a dream of mine, so I see it as every opportunity to live my dream. I properly calendar each commitment to balance with my life as a husband, father, and grandfather.
What do you believe is the role of the City Council in the community?
Our job is to advocate for our residents, our county, and our state. Also, my job is to make the best decisions as possible for the betterment of all the Greenbelt residents. We are here to help, guide and assist our residents, with their day-to-day concerns. We lead them in the right direction for the best solution through various community organizations. As for myself, I held various community events over my nearly two years on the council which provide over 400 Backpacks and school supplies, food boxes, and countless books, toys, and home supplies for residents.
Do you think you have any personal or professional relationship that could become a conflict of interest while serving as a Council member?
I can say NO with total confidence because I have learned early to keep my personal life separate from my political life because I work hard to make sure that all decisions that I made were in the best interest of my constituents not for myself.
What is your approach to handling controversial and complicated issues?
My approach is simple, I talk to the people and seek their thoughts and share my thoughts with them. This brings a great dialogue that leads to a common ground solution on most issues.
What have been the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of leadership for you?
The Challenging thing in most leadership roles is that every decision you help to make and pass is not going to please everyone, but the most rewarding aspect of leadership is the smile that glows on residents’ faces when you are serving them, be it through food box, toys or supplies giveaways.
What skills and experience do you have that you believe would be beneficial to you as a Council member?
My experiences through life have helped me to become a better servant because I know what it means to be unemployed, homeless, and dealing with life struggles. This helps me to understand those residents who are struggling because I have been there before and lived it too. My communication skills and is a very open person help me to relate and build a cordial relationship with the residents of my city.
Based on what you know about City government, what do you see as top priorities for the City and why?
We currently have several priorities in our city such as ARPA projects through government funding which allows us to offer Scholarship Programs, First Time Buyer Programs, Childcare Vouchers, Medical Vouchers for low-Income Families, and the upcoming City Budget and the continuing historic reparation commission.
At the most simplistic level, a councilman acts as a representative like you but what are your responsibilities? And also tell us your plans for the people you represent.
My plan continues from what I have already been doing and that is The People’s Work 24/7. My plans are to continue giving all of myself to the residents of Greenbelt, by serving with every fiber of my being and continue to give a voice for those that feel they don’t have a voice.
The council also looks to the city’s goals, major projects, and infrastructure improvements ranging from community growth to land use, finances, and strategic planning. What are your contributions in this regard?
I continue to suggest continued economic and sustainable growth for our community through the resolutions and the budget I have helped to pass to give our city the economic boost that it needed.
African Development Magazine would like to report your activities; will you give us this chance?
Yes, I would be honored.
Amazing memories are unforgettable; can you share with us the most amazing memory of yours?
My Amazing moment was meeting The First Black Governor of Maryland West Moore and attending his inauguration.
Thank you for sharing with us.