|49th Mayor of Baltimore|
February 4, 2010
|Preceded by||Sheila Dixon|
|49th President of the Baltimore City Council|
January 17, 2007 – February 4, 2010
|Preceded by||Sheila Dixon|
|Succeeded by||Bernard C. Young|
|Member of the Baltimore City Council|
December 1995 – January 2007
March 17, 1970 |
|Spouse(s)||Kent V. Blake|
|Relations||Howard "Pete" Rawlings, former (D), Maryland State Delegate, District 40|
Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake (born March 17, 1970) is an American politician and the 49th and current Mayor of Baltimore. She is the second woman to hold the office. As president of the Baltimore City Council, Rawlings-Blake ascended to the mayorship following the 2010 resignation of Sheila Dixon, and was elected in her own right in 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, she was appointed Secretary of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and elected Second Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2013.
Rawlings-Blake graduated from Western High School in 1988. She graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1992 with a B.A. in Political Science. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland Law School in 1995. She was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1996 and to the Federal Bar in 1997. She is also an alumna of the Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound Center.
In 1995, Rawlings-Blake became the youngest person ever elected to the Baltimore City Council. She became President of the Council on January 17, 2007, when then-City Council President Sheila Dixon became mayor (after then-Mayor Martin O'Malley became Governor of Maryland). Under the Baltimore City Charter, the City Council President becomes mayor if the mayor dies, resigns or is removed from office. Rawlings-Blake was an attorney with the Baltimore Office of the Public Defender from 1998 to 2006.
Rawlings-Blake served on the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee from 1990 to 1998. In 1993, Rawlings-Blake served as the Annapolis lobbyist for the Young Democrats of Maryland. She currently serves on the board of directors for Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association, the Greater Northwest Community Coalition, the Living Classrooms Foundation, the Maryland Science Center, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Park Heights Health Association, and the Parks and People Foundation. From 1998 to 2006, Rawlings-Blake was an attorney with the Baltimore Office of the Public Defender. She is a member of the Federal Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association. Rawlings-Blake is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Epsilon Omega chapter and a former at-large member of the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys.
On June 14, 2007, Rawlings-Blake announced that she would seek a full four-year term as Council president. Her platform included improving education and reducing crime in the city.
In a poll of likely Democratic voters released by the Baltimore Sun on July 17, 2007, Rawlings-Blake was in a virtual tie with Michael Sarbanes, son of former Senator Paul Sarbanes. The poll had Sarbanes getting 27% of the respondents and Rawlings-Blake 26% with Councilman Kenneth N. Harris, Sr. a distant third with 8%. The poll's margin of error was (+ or -)4%. She won the Democratic primary—the real contest in heavily Democratic Baltimore—with 49% of the vote compared to 38 percent for Sarbanes. In the general election, Rawlings-Blake defeated her only opponent, Green candidate Maria Allwine, with 82 percent of the vote.
Mayor of Baltimore
On February 4, 2010, Dixon was convicted for embezzlement. The Maryland Constitution does not allow convicted felons to hold office, so Dixon was forced to resign as mayor hours after her conviction. Rawlings-Blake, as council president, automatically succeeded Dixon as mayor.
City Budget and Fiscal Policies
Since taking office Mayor Rawlings-Blake has faced massive multi-million dollar budget deficits, resulting in tough cuts to the city's budget. The administration balanced the budget through cuts to numerous agencies such as Parks and Recreation while increasing funding for the Police Department and maintaining the City's token financial commitment to the Baltimore City Public School System. In particular, the mayor's cuts to Parks and Recreation resulted in the August 4, 2012 closing of 4 public recreation and Police Athletic League centers with as many as 10 centers facing closing if a private operator could not be found. As a result of recent cuts, in 2012 Baltimore closed 24 public recreation centers shedding from 55 in 2011 to 31 by 2013. The mayor favors support of centralizing and expanding just 16 centers and privatizing as many as 6 centers to be run by "private companies".
Rawlings-Blake credits her reforms to the city pension for saving $64 million yearly, saving the city from an even worse fiscal crisis. The mayor has made extensive cuts to city social welfare programs, with cuts to funding for prisoner reentry programs and the elimination of the city's offices of Community Development and Community Relations. In 2012, to close the budget deficit, the mayor closed 3 fire stations. Two of them, serving Harlem Park/Sandtown-Winchester and Berea/Clifton, are among Baltimore's poorest communities.
In 2013, Rawlings-Blake commissioned an independent study showing that the city of Baltimore could go bankrupt within the next decade. The study showed that the city's total shortfall would reach $2 billion over 10 years.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake is hawkish in her support for new development efforts centered around Downtown and the Inner Harbor. The mayor has continued the economic policies of her two predecessors offering lucrative tax incentives to Baltimore Development Corporation approved developers. TIF and PILOT have benefited a small number of developers and have been widely concentrated in the Inner Harbor East and Harbor Point developments. The mayor has maintained her support for the controversial Westside Superblock development, offering the New York and Atlanta based development team $22.1 million worth of tax breaks with only $250,000 required in payments to the city.
2011 mayoral campaign
In the summer of 2011, Rawlings-Blake sought a full term as mayor. Several Democratic candidates filed to run against Blake in the Democratic primary (see list below). The Democratic primary was held on September 13, 2011 and Blake won with 52% of the vote, representing a mere 11% of registered voters in Baltimore City. Nonetheless, this all but assured her of winning a full term in November. In the general election, she handily defeated Republican challenger Alfred Griffin, taking 84 percent of the vote.
Primary election results
These are the unofficial results for the 2011 Democratic primary, as reported on the city of Baltimore's election board Web site.
|Catherine E. Pugh||18,271||25%|
|Lloyd "Wilton" Wilson||233||0.3%|
- John Fritze (January 21, 2013). "Rawlings-Blake to take leadership post at DNC". Articles.baltimoresun.com. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- "Rawlings-Blake Elected VP of U.S. Conference of Mayors". mdcounties.org. June 25, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "Feature: City Paper's Guide to the Primary Race, 2003 | July 23, 2003". Citypaper.com. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "Howard P. Rawlings, Maryland State Delegate". msa.maryland.gov. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "Stephanie Rawlings Blake, City Council, Baltimore, Maryland". Msa.md.gov. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- [dead link]
- "City of Baltimore, Maryland". Baltimorecity.gov. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- Vozzella, Laura (December 2, 2009). "Laura Vozzella: The prolific Juror No. 11 finally gets to speak out". Los Angeles Times.
- Reutter, Mark (May 5, 2012). "Rawlings-Blake: 'City to close 4 rec centers in August, 10 others may shut". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Taylor, Alexis (March 28, 2012). "Mayor Releases 2013 FY Budget, 7 Recreation Centers to Face Closure". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Kleine, Andrew (December 7, 2010). "'Results from Baltimore's Budget'". baltimorebrew.com. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Reutter, Mark (July 2, 2012). "Rawlings-Blake: 'Finding money for fire companies isn’t hard, but the politics are'". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- "Report: Baltimore Could Soon Go Bankrupt". baltimorenewsjournal.com. February 6, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- Scharper, Julie (September 14, 2011). "Rawlings-Blake: 'We have a unique opportunity'". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- 2011 mayoral results
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