Busy Week for Mayor Catherine Pugh

Ursula V. Battle | 12/16/2016, 6 a.m.
Community Leaders Optimistic About Leadership
Catherine Pugh was sworn in as Baltimore City’s 50th mayor on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at the War Memorial Building on Gay Street in Baltimore. Gar Roberts

— The past few days have been a whirlwind of a week for Catherine Pugh.

Baltimore City’s 50th mayor was sworn in on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at the War Memorial Building on Gay Street in Baltimore. Later that day, Mayor Pugh attended several inaugural events, which concluded with a celebratory party at the Hilton Baltimore.

The days that followed included several meetings and events, and on Saturday, December 10, 2016, the Democratic mayor gave Republican President-elect Donald Trump a letter describing the city's need for federal money at the Army-Navy game held at M and T Bank Stadium. These were among the many activities that were all in a week’s work for the city’s newest mayor.

“We must work together because what happens in Baltimore happens to the rest of the state,” said Mayor Pugh in her inaugural speech. “To the 7,221 folks who emailed me that I didn’t get to answer your emails, to the 4,188 people who texted me, who I didn’t get to respond to your texts, and to all the Facebook people I want to say, that I am your mayor too. I will be mayor for all of Baltimore. I recognize we do have some shortcomings, but we do have some great things going on in this city.”

The former state senator won the mayoral election with 57 percent of the vote. She defeated the Republican and Green Party nominees and former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who ran a write-in campaign.

Mayor Pugh also took the opportunity to highlight her predecessor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

“I have always said that the glass is half-full as opposed to half empty,” said Mayor Pugh. “Every mayor who follows that mayor should want that mayor to be even greater than they were.

I commit to you Stephanie Rawlings Blake, that the work you have done will not be forgotten— that when we talk about the 40,000 boarded up houses that were here when you got here, that is down to 15,000 that the city owns, that your progress has been made.”

Pugh’s plans include addressing crime, homelessness, and blight in Baltimore City.

“I know the mayors before me faced even greater challenges, but we are so prepared,” said Pugh. “I am so grateful for the team I have begun to assemble.”

Pugh named Tisha Edwards as her Chief of Staff, and Delelegate Peter Hammen as Chief of Operations. Former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith will serve as her Chief of Strategic Alliances. Pugh named Anthony McCarthy as her Director of Communications, while Karen Stokes will serve as her Director of Government Relations.

“Mayor Pugh is really poised to realize her vision,” said Smith. “She has a strong, healthy, vibrant vision for all Baltimoreans in all communities. She cares about these communities and she is going to make a difference in these communities. That’s very exciting.”

Sixth District Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton is also optimistically looking forward to Mayor Pugh’s leadership.

“It’s all about moving Baltimore forward,” said Councilwoman Middleton. “Mayor Pugh has already started bringing hope back to Baltimore City. “She is talking about all the right things such as focusing on jobs, and on communities other than downtown Baltimore. Everyone knows the importance of downtown, but now our outside neighborhoods need to be addressed.”