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Greenbelt Adds More Seats to City Council

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Nine candidates are vying for seven city council seats in Greenbelt.
Cathy Duchamp
Nine candidates are vying for seven city council seats in Greenbelt.

Voters in the D.C. suburb of Greenbelt Maryland will decide tomorrow, Tuesday November 3, whether to elect the first African American city council member in the community's 70-year history.

Greenbelt was a suburb built from scratch to provide affordable housing to federal workers. All the first residents were white.

Nowadays, "you might find every nationality you can think of in this melting pot," says Niecie Gary-Lowndes.

She runs community programs for a huge apartment complex in West Greenbelt. Gary-Lowndes likes her town. But she says she would like it more if representation was drawn from across the entire town.

"If you have ties to a specific part of the community you can relate more to that part of the community and bring forth more the particular needs of that community. I feel that's a necessary thing," says Gary-Lowndes.

The City Council agreed to expand the number of council seats on tomorrow's ballot from five to seven. But Greenbelt still elects officials at-large. The NAACP and ACLU say minority voters will have to turn out in force to give two African American candidates shots at city council seats.

Cathy Duchamp reports...

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