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Baltimore mayor shares words of wisdom

D. Kevin McNeir | 10/20/2015, 3:30 p.m.
When Baltimore native and Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, 45, stepped to the podium at D.C.’s historical National Press Club in ...
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. (Nancy Shia/The Washington Informer)

Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer

When Baltimore native and Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, 45, stepped to the podium at D.C.’s historical National Press Club in Northwest, she looked poised, prepared and polished.

But make no mistake. She’s a lot more than just a “pretty face.”

In her own words, she’s been attending to the needs of her community, including being the youngest person ever elected to the Baltimore City Council (in 1995), and preparing herself as an attorney admitted to both the Maryland and federal bars, for as long as she can remember. She follows in the footsteps of her father, Howard “Pete” Rawlings, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates.

The second woman to hold the office of mayor in Baltimore, Rawlings-Blake also serves as secretary of the Democratic National Committee [DNC] as well as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

She spoke to members of the press and leaders of the District on Wednesday, Oct. 7 about the challenges facing her city, our nation and the DNC as America prepares to elect its next president.

“The country’s current view of Baltimore has been shaped by a few things: the excellent writing and acting in the HBO series ‘The Wire” and the two weeks in April following the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent demonstrations and unrest,” she said. “[But] Baltimore is much more than just what was shown on the endless loops on some of our national media.”

Rawlings-Blake, who ran for and won as City Council president in 2007, found herself ascending to the mayor’s post for the balance of the former chief’s term when then-Mayor Sheila Dixon, following her conviction for embezzlement, resigned from office in February 2010.

Rawlings-Blake went on to seek and secure a full term as mayor in 2011. Now, with another election on the horizon, she has decided that she will not seek re-election.

“I wanted to stay focused on the work at hand. But we’re not on vacation. With great examples like Boehner and Obama, you can go down the history of people who have been where I am – leaders who served until the end of their term – who have been unfiltered, unchained and unrestricted,” she said.

“I have the benefit of every single thing I do not being viewed through the lens of campaigning or politics,” added Rawlings-Blake who said resolutely that she would not let politics stand in the way of progress. “There’s more than a year left on my term and every single day we will be pushing for progress for Baltimore’s families.”

The mayor addressed topics that included: police-community relations; her decision to hold public safety forums throughout the city in order to hear from the citizens of Baltimore; the invitation that she extended to the Department of Justice COPS program so that they could conduct a collaborative review of the City’s police department; and the unrest that has long plagued the city in which she was born and raised.