Candace Bacchus Hollingsworth was elected mayor of Hyattsville in 2015, solidifying her place as both the youngest and first Black mayor in the city’s 135-year history.
As mayor, Candace defined herself as a champion for marginalized communities, implementing new policies to establish tax incentives for affordable housing in targeted redevelopment areas and establishing a $1 million relief fund for residents and small businesses decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To prioritize equity and shared prosperity in her demographically diverse community, she also worked to build strategic partnerships and programming to expand education, economic opportunities and civic engagement for young people, and at the same time, support the long-term sustainability of her city. Her greatest joy as an elected official was being able to identify things that needed to change and having the power to change them.
After leading Hyattsville for six future-focused years, Candace stepped down as mayor in December 2020 to grow Our Black Party, a national organization she co-founded to get folks out, wake folks up and fortify a change-making relationship between the Black community and the political system.
Candace’s proudest achievement as mayor was raising the expectations for what government can do. However, in May 2020 during a walk with her son on the birthday of Ahmaud Arbery, she asked him if he felt safe. He said “Yes, I feel safe in Hyattsville, but not everywhere else.” In that moment, Candace realized she wanted to take her passion for building a better world beyond the city limits of Hyattsville. That vision is why she helped start Our Black Party and why she is running for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland.
Candace is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and earned a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from Emory University and a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, specializing in education, family and social policy. A native Memphian, she lives happily in a better, brighter Hyattsville with her husband, Nyere, and their two children, Ellis and Zora.
Candace is a board member for the Prince George’s County African American Museum and Cultural Center, a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for OxFam America, a member of the Junior League of Washington, and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. When she’s not at work or building a better community, Candace can be found writing, enjoying great coffee or bourbon, or making friends laugh with animated stories.