From day one she came into the contest with an exhilarating entrance, surrounded by excited supporters of all demographics. She encapsulates the resilience of a battered boxer in search of the 11th round knockout, the grace of a diva the likes Baltimore hasn’t seen since the days of Billie Holliday and the MVP stature of a Le’Bron James or Ray Lewis. No, I speak not of America’s First Lady Michelle Obama, though she certainly fits the bill of grace and eloquence; however the woman I speak of is none other than 40th district state senator Catherine Pugh.
The West Baltimore representative, who decided to enter the 2011 Mayoral fray based on what she says was a ‘lack of strong leadership that plagues our city’ that continued with the ‘status quo’ which was certainly not working; continues to make her rounds throughout Baltimore, from the hottest night spot in Baltimore known as Eden’s Lounge to the hottest dope corner in Park Heights. Wherever she makes her presence felt, she makes the intimate and personal pitch of needed change in this City, while ensuring everyone from the partygoer to the dope dealer knows that things must change – or Baltimore will be in for a rude awakening over the next four years.
“Baltimore is losing an entire generation of young people due to crime, drugs and gang violence; and while the current administration chooses to turn their heads as if it doesn’t exist, continuing the same zero-tolerance policies that got us into this mess, our communities are becoming vacant as half our communities have incarcerated children, jobless parents and broken down streets that serve no one’s interest except those concerned more about downtown’s success, than uptown’s future,” said Pugh, a former councilwoman, delegate and now state senator in Baltimore.
Becoming fed up with the status quo and unfiltered processes of endorsements, with no real process of selection in place, Senator Pugh found her boiling point earlier this month when the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance made their selection for Mayor – without so much a meeting, call or questionnaire submitted to the multiple mayoral candidates. “We made our selection of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake last year in July,” said the IMA Chair Reverend Alvin Gwynn – which confessed to choosing a candidate without so much a credible process. Storming the endorsement hearing upon its conclusion, Pugh made her sentiments known to the ministers present – and apparently all those who watched on in humor – as she made known what most were thinking. “Who the hell do these ministers think they are, making a purely political choice based on obvious political favor, expecting their parishioners to follow when we don’t even see the fruits of our church labor and financial donations half the time,” said Eric Canter who laughed at the question whether or not his minister’s endorsement swayed him in anyway.
“Senator Pugh got my vote based on her standing up to these church crony sinners, as they’d much rather see their names in the papers rather than care about what is truly best for their spiritual followers,” continued the East Baltimore parishioner. However, the current administration has been laying out endorsement after endorsement, day after day, week after week; trying to galvanize enough support to bury all her competitors before Election Day. “The only thing Stephanie is doing with these endorsements is showing how scared these competitors obviously have her,” said political analyst Doni Glover. “I don’t remember any incumbent laying out this many endorsements, especially by some who mean absolutely nothing to Baltimore voters such as Montgomery, Howard and Prince George’s County Executives backing her; when they are obviously only satisfied with her leadership because they continue to gain more residents who flee Baltimore under this current lack of leadership and failed services,” stated the Bmorenews creator, who like this Examiner has been one of the only media outlets reporting on these elections since early this year.
Yet whether or not the crowded field of contenders such as Jody Landers, Otis Rolley, Frank Conaway Sr. and Catherine Pugh can take down the giant Mayor is a question for the ages. “I believe that they all split up the anti-incumbency vote while the loyalist Democratic voters who vote for whoever the Party tells them too, will be enough to get Rawlings-Blake back in,” said Independent Mayoral Candidate Catalina Byrd. “Yet, then she will have to come see me in the General Election!”
Having experienced staff members such as campaign spokesman Anthony McCarthy, along with a giant war-chest of campaign donations, Catherine Pugh may make a bigger bang than many are expecting. Her sorority’s solidarity, along with the backing of some of Maryland’s biggest political leaders, may place Pugh head-to-head with Rawlings-Blake down the stretch. Even as she comes to places like the popular ‘Cocktails with the Candidates’ series at Eden’s Lounge, speaking with everyone from the patrons, to the bartenders and even the homeless man out front; Senator Pugh has certainly learned well the process of campaigning and making everyone feel like the most important person in the room. Her only challenge is trying to get that electorate out to the polls on Election Day; for as they say, “If you don’t Vote, you don’t Count!”
**Tomorrow’s Examiner article will examine Mayoral candidate Joseph ‘Jody’ Landers III.
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