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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)

— “When I’ve spoken to mayors across the country, virtually all of them have the sobering sense that what happened in Baltimore could have happened in their city as well,” she said. “[We] were not as prepared as we should have been and certainly could have been for the unrest.”

“The unrest in Baltimore and the aftermath points to deeper underlying issues: lack of jobs; challenges with housing and education; and disparities in opportunity. If we are to succeed in preventing future unrest, we must attack these underlying issues. None of this was created overnight and it won’t be solved overnight.”

“We know that far too many people have been left out of the recovery since the great recession. Gridlock strangles Washington and the consequences of that gridlock – they’re passed on to cities, that’s passed on to mayors,” she said.

Rawlings-Blake recently met with other mayors in Baltimore in order to define their priorities that they will soon pass on to presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat alike.

The “Mayors Compact for a Better America, she noted, now under final editing for the “exact wording of the document,” will present critical areas that the mayors, after reaching consensus, have identified and want to see included as both part of the national campaign and the national conversation.

She added that while she’s often asked what she intends to do after her term ends, she really doesn’t have an answer yet.

“There’s hope now that something better is coming for those neighborhoods long ignored and abandoned,” she said. “It is important work to bring hope to our communities. When we do that we focus on making sure that government does what it’s supposed to do for the citizens that we serve.”