Tommie Broadwater ‘The Godfather of Prince George’s’ Dies
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Tommie Broadwater, a barrier breaking Prince Georgian, passed away on Tuesday, June 11 at age 81.
Broadwater, was the first Black State Senator to represent Prince George’s when he was elected in 1974. He became known as “The Godfather” to many for his intimate knowledge of the political process and ability to provide jobs and services to constituents when other legislators would not.
“From the halls of power as a State Senator in Annapolis to the halls of the courthouse in Upper Marlboro and Hyattsville for his bail-bondsman business, Tommie was a formidable player in the law-making and legal worlds of our county and our state,” said Congressman Glen Ivey (D-Maryland). “Even out of the limelight, he was always respected for his prowess in the trenches of elective politics. As the first African American State Senator in Prince George’s County and the only one outside of Baltimore in the 1970s, Tommie Broadwater paved a path for future leaders from suburban areas outside Washington, DC, and middle class in Prince George’s County.”
Broadwater built himself into a multi-millionaire, owning a bail bonds business, a motel, a rib shack, and the beautiful Broadwater Mansion in Upper Marlboro. Wayne Curry (D), the first Black County Executive in Prince George’s (and one of the first in the nation), sought the support and endorsement of Broadwater before his historic 1994 run.
In the past few months, the Glenarden Municipal Center and Bowie State University hosted events to commemorate his legacy in the county. Images of Broadwater with numerous elected officials, many of whom were born while he first served in the legislature, were posted all over social media. Many of the posts featured the events he attended over the past 50 years, further displaying the influence he has had on rising generations of leaders.
Maryland Delegate Nick Charles (D), chair of the Prince George’s County Delegation, posted youthful pictures of himself with Broadwater and thanked him for the many lessons he taught.
Ivey, who sought the advice of Broadwater in past elections, shared he deeply felt the loss of the county icon.
“I was saddened to hear of the passing of one of the trailblazers in Prince George’s politics. Just last month, I attended a tribute in honor of the one and only Tommie Broadwater. His unique and personal touch in retail politics can only be described as down-to-earth”, said Congressman Ivey.
Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who watched Broadwater grow in politics and was one of his early supporters, weighed in on the former senator’s leadership.
“I join people throughout Prince George’s County and Maryland in mourning former Maryland State Senator Tommie Broadwater, who sadly passed away yesterday. We became friends when he started getting involved in Maryland politics more than 50 years ago and remained friends ever since,” said Hoyer, who supported Broadwater in his earliest bids. “Tommie’s leadership in the community did not diminish when he left the State House at the end of 1983. Instead, his influence continued to grow. He remained a crucial advocate for greater equity, justice, and prosperity for Black Marylanders and our state’s working families.”
Senator Broadwater’s celebration of life will take place on Aug. 1 at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden. A viewing will begin at 9:30 a.m., and the funeral will start at 11 a.m.