COLLEGE PARK, Md. (DC News Now) — Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said she believes the future home of the FBI should be in her county.
In an exclusive interview with DC News Now, Alsobrooks said she knows winning the headquarters of the nation’s top law enforcement agency to predominantly Black Prince George’s County is a challenge. But Alsobrooks believes they have the best two sites to offer.
“The question about whether or not Prince George’s sites were suitable for the FBI to conduct its mission was resolved a long time ago,” the county executive said of the General Service Administration’s decision to include sites in Greenbelt and Landover. “That’s how we made it to the final stage of being two of the final three sites.”
Alsobrooks said that federal officials are expected to reach a decision soon.
While Alsobrooks is trying to lure the future home of the FBI into Maryland, she is also battling to keep the Washington Commanders in Prince George’s County and out of D.C. or Virginia. The Commanders are expected to have new owners as early as this summer.
Alsobrooks, who launched her Democratic primary bid for U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin’s seat in May, said she wants an “equitable and fair” process in choosing a new home for the bureau.
“We remain the strongest, and that is consistent,” she said.
Alsobrooks and other Maryland top officials contend that Fairfax County has received four times the amount of federal investment dollars than Prince George’s County. Virginia is already home to the CIA, the Pentagon and Quantico — the FBI’s training facility.
Yet the county executive also said she wants to make the distinction between equity and diversity abundantly clear.
“There are some who have insulted us by saying we can do a mere head count,” she said. “We’re not talking about diversity. We’re talking about the way that we spend federal dollars—whether or not it is fair to spend taxpayer dollars to benefit one jurisdiction over another.”
Alsobrooks added, “The FBI creates job centers. It helps us to grow income. It helps us to also grow economic opportunity for our families.”
She also said that relocating the FBI to Prince George’s County would be following President Joe Biden’s executive orders, demanding equity in the GSA’s future choice in where the FBI is slated to go.
“We want to make sure that these federal assets are used in a way that is equitable,” the county executive said. “And what we mean by that is that the numbers don’t lie. The federal government has now spent $420 billion in the Fairfax County area, compared to $120 billion in Prince George’s County.”
Alsobrooks scoffed at some who say that her county’s higher tax rates are a deterrent to the 7,500 FBI employees who may have to relocate to the new bureau.
“Nobody ever decides where to bring a federal asset based on a convenience of whether or not the people who work there find… that it might slightly inconvenience them,” she said. “That wasn’t the decision that was made when we decided to bring, for example, the Pentagon to Virginia in 1941. That was a huge decision that has changed the trajectory in Virginia.”
When asked about a recent report that FBI officials favor a location closer to the bureau’s training facilities in Quantico, Alsobrooks said she’s not worried about their supposed preferences.
“There was absolutely nothing new in that document,” the county executive said. “But it is another attempt, we think, at kind of changing the rules at the 11th hour.”
Meanwhile, Alsobrooks said she is concerned about the Commanders relocating elsewhere and are making new investments in the corridor that will benefit the team and the community.
“We believe that the current site is one that is really beneficial to the team, especially given the new investments that we’ve made around FedEx Field on that blue line corridor,” she said. Most importantly, she said the $1 billion worth of new development will benefit those who live in the stadium’s vicinity.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has consistently endorsed the idea of attracting the Commanders to return to D.C. and negotiating with the federal government to give RFK stadium, which is currently federally owned, back to the team.
Despite their different plans for where the Commanders should end up, Alsobrooks said that she and Bowser continue to regard each other as “neighbors.”
“Mayor Bowser is doing her job and doing it well,” Alsobrooks said. “We are at odds on this particular issue. We’re having a friendly disagreement about where the Commanders should be home. We think they should stay home.”
When asked if she has established any wager or banter with her D.C. counterpart, Alsobrooks smiled.
“No, we’re too busy working to attract the Commanders,” she said. “She’s putting her team in place, our team is in place.”
While Alsobrooks has not spoken with the Commanders’ potential owners, the county executive said she is confident in her ability to hold the team in Maryland — and bring the FBI to the state as well.
“I’m optimistic that we will be selected,” she said about the GSA’s upcoming decision. “And, I believe that the Commanders will give us a serious look as well.”