Election2011 has many of the same old tired politicos wanting to maintain control of the Baltimore political landscape, for their own personal agendas. Yet it also has an array of great young, idealistic and fresh candidates, who though have yet to serve a day in elective office; and probably have no real clue on how to get a bill passed, however have the passion for their community, neighborhood and district that would lead to a much needed change in community driven politics – the likes not seen since the days of the late Bea Gaddy!
All around the City, Baltimore is crowded with sincerely optimistic, grounded challengers who are looking to pull off the political upset of the new decade. In the last Baltimore City Mayoral Elections of 2007, there were no real surprise candidates or shockers on Election Night; yet there were not as many great and surprising candidates the likes in which Baltimore residents have an opportunity to choose from like in 2011. And based on a police department currently under serious doubt by the public – with homicides rapid, drug dealers in the departments of those sworn to protect and serve – a debt ridden government that has continuously alienated the community driven programs such as pools, rec centers, schools and youth; as well as living in an era of financial uncertainty, the people of Baltimore may have had enough – and may be on the cusp of continuing that much needed ‘change’ promised three years ago by the ultra-popular President Barack Obama.
When candidates such as Ertha Harris (12th) and Michael Eugene Johnson (9th), two veterans in terms of running for local office, call other new challengers to the table to discuss the possibility of a ‘Change’ ticket being formulated, along with possible joint endorsements and advertisements; the dream of a bond being formed by those who have been taken for granted for decades becomes that much more a reality. With the advent of social media tools and outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube; along with the apparent political news being takeover by alternative media outlets such as the Examiner, Bmorenews, Baltimore Brew and others, it’s no wonder that most believe this could be the year of the upset?
The other night, the new and innovative voter education campaign known simply as ValueMyVote2011, has its finale edition of what is known as ‘Cocktails with the Candidates’. During this third and final edition of a one-on-one styled political and professional networking hour at the upscale Eden’s Lounge, the body of challengers that were present astounded most in attendance who were there simply to check out the event. “These folk certainly impressed me, while I was only coming to be supportive and see what these candidates had to say, I wound up wanting to support quiet a few of them, though I don’t live in their districts,” said Baltimore resident, Hope Black VanDross.
Being led by the citywide change candidate known simply by most as ‘Otis’, the former City planning director and Chief of Staff of former Mayor Sheila Ann Dixon led off by quoting the need for change in a city led by an administration beholden to anyone besides the residents who voted her in. “As your next Mayor, I will be committed to work with the Governor, not for him,” said the young father of three. Being chanted on by his usual crowd of followers and supporters, Mr. Rolley continued by breaking down how he would change the status quo of politics currently tearing Baltimore apart. “You cannot simply try to maintain or repair a system fundamentally broken; you have to destroy it and come up with an entirely new system that works for the people first!”
Others who came out to show off their campaign prowess and relay their vision for Baltimore to these dedicated young professionals were challengers such as 9thdistrict candidate John Bullock, 2nddistrict candidate Anthony Hamilton, 7thdistrict candidate Nick Mosby and almost the entire 12thdistrict field of challengers. The East Baltimore district currently occupied by former councilman and perennial citywide candidate Carl Stokes, who replaced Bernard ‘Jack’ Young when he became Council President, saw each of its top candidates vying for the open seat in attendance. You had the possible first Latino to ever be elected to the Baltimore City Council, Odette Ramos; the possible youngest ever elected councilman if he’s elected on September 13th, Devon Brown who is 21-years old; the longtime candidate and resident Ertha Harris and the young and vibrant candidacy of Jermaine Jones.
Each showed off their talents, knowledge and passion for the district and the crowd greeted them each with an added sense of urgent thanks! “It was a power-packed night for local politics, filled with great candidates, great people and great ideas and visions for Baltimore,” said 12thdistrict resident and community organizer and coordinator at the Charles Village Benefits District, Diana Mitchell. The cousin of the great Delegate Keiffer Mitchell, who ran for Mayor in 2007 and is a part of the historical Mitchell family, Diana said they each peeked her interest, except for one; and she was willing to hear more from them all, as the community certainly needs great leadership and representation for the next four years. “I’m glad I came out tonight and certainly happy to see groups such as ValueMyVote2011 educating and motivating the electorate in Baltimore,” said Mitchell.
Well let’s just hope that these candidates, and groups like this, can inspire more than a 20% turnout in Baltimore’s African American electorate this September? For more information on the candidates running for office, news related to Election2011, polls regarding the upcoming election and each council district, along with any and all election news and events regarding these upcoming City elections be sure to go to: http://www.valuemyvote2011.com; find them on Facebook or on Twitter; or contact their offices at 443.473.6401 or email them here!
Also of note, young leaders emerging throughout Baltimore were present as well, such as Young Republicans leader Trae Lewis and the young journalist made famous as the backbone to Baltimore’s Afro-American newspaper these days, Shernay Williams – who is an honoree at the August 27th Freedom Fund Breakfast! Other city leaders were DMD Experience co-founder Derreck Compton and Park Heights leader Will Hanna! Also of note, only 3-incumbents came out throughout the 3-week showcase, Councilpersons Robert ‘Bobby’ Curran, Mary Pat Clarke & Sharon Green-Middleton!
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