Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

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Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Secretary of the Democratic National Committee
Assumed office
January 22, 2013
Preceded by Alice Germond
49th Mayor of Baltimore
Assumed office
February 4, 2010
Preceded by Sheila Dixon
49th President of the Baltimore City Council
In office
January 17, 2007 – February 4, 2010
Preceded by Sheila Dixon
Member of the Baltimore City Council
In office
December 1995 – January 17, 2007
Personal details
Born Stephanie C. Rawlings
(1970-03-17) March 17, 1970 (age 46)
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kent V. Blake
Relations Nina Rawlings, M.D. (mother)
Pete Rawlings, (father)
Children Sophia Blake
Alma mater University of Maryland (J.D.)
Oberlin College (B.A.)
Profession Attorney

Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake (born March 17, 1970) is an American politician and the 49th and current mayor of Baltimore, Maryland. She is the second woman to hold the office. A member of the Democratic Party, she currently serves as secretary of the Democratic National Committee (DNC)[1] and the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.[2]

Early life and family[edit]

Rawlings-Blake was born in Baltimore and grew up in the city's Ashburton neighborhood.[3] She is the daughter of Dr. Nina Rawlings, M.D., and Howard "Pete" Rawlings, former member of the Maryland House of Delegates.[4][5]


Rawlings-Blake attended Western High School, the oldest public all-girls high school in the United States. In 1984, she was elected vice president of her class. She graduated in 1988.[6]

Rawlings-Blake attended Oberlin College in Ohio, graduating in 1992 with a B.A. in political science. She later returned to Baltimore to attend the University of Maryland School of Law, where she earned her Juris Doctor degree in 1995. She was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1996 and to the federal bar in 1997.[7]

Rawlings-Blake is an alumna of the Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound Center[citation needed] and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Epsilon Omega chapter.[7] She is a former at-large member of the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys.[8]

Political career[edit]

Early career[edit]

From 1990 to 1998, Rawlings-Blake served on the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee,[7][9] and in 1993 she served as the Annapolis lobbyist for the Young Democrats of Maryland.[citation needed]

In 1997 Rawlings-Blake began serving as an administrative law attorney with the Baltimore City office of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, which offers free civil legal services to Maryland's low-income residents. She went on to serve as a staff attorney with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender in its Southern District (District 1, Baltimore City) from 1998 to 2006.[7]

Baltimore City Council[edit]

In 1995, Rawlings-Blake became the youngest person ever elected to the Baltimore City Council.[10] She represented the council's District 5 from 1995 to 2004 and District 6 from 2004 to 2007 (following a redistricting of the council).[citation needed]

From 1999 to 2007, Rawlings-Blake served as vice president of the Baltimore City Council.[7]

City council president[edit]

Rawlings-Blake became President of the Council on January 17, 2007, when then-City Council President Sheila Dixon became mayor. The Charter of Baltimore City states that, "If it becomes necessary for the president of the City Council to fill the unexpired term of the mayor…the City Council, by a majority vote of its members, shall elect a new president for the unexpired term."[11]

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.[citation needed] Rawlings-Blake won the Democratic primary with 49 percent of the vote. In the general election, Rawlings-Blake defeated her only opponent with 82 percent of the vote.[12]

Mayor of Baltimore[edit]

On January 6, 2010, then-Mayor Sheila Dixon announced, following her conviction for embezzlement, that she would resign from office, effective February 4, 2010.[13] Under the Baltimore City charter, whenever the mayor's office becomes vacant, the sitting city council president automatically ascends to the mayor's post for the balance of the term.[11] Consequently, following Dixon's resignation on February 4, 2010, Rawlings-Blake became mayor of Baltimore City.[14]

Rawlings-Blake went on to seek a full term as mayor in November 2011. In the September 13 Democratic primary, she won 52 percent of the vote. She then won a full term in the November general election, receiving 84 percent of the vote.

Rawlings-Blake has stated that her goal as mayor is to grow Baltimore by 10,000 families.[15]

On September 11, 2015, Rawlings-Blake announced that she would not seek re-election as Mayor of Baltimore. The mayor stated, "It was a very difficult decision, but I knew I needed to spend time focused on the city's future, not my own."[16]

2015 Baltimore protests[edit]

In a press conference addressing the riots that took place during the 2015 Baltimore protests, Rawlings-Blake stated, "It’s a very delicate balancing act. Because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.”[17] The phrase "we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well" was interpreted by some conservative-leaning news sources[18][19][20] as an indication that the mayor was giving permission to protesters to destroy property, while some others, including Breitbart News Network, pointed out that "when you look at the full context, it’s clear the Mayor meant something different (though it’s also true she didn’t say it very clearly)."[21]

On April 27, 2015, the mayor's Director of Strategic Planning and Policy, Howard Libit, released a statement clarifying the mayor's remarks:

What she is saying within this statement was that there was an effort to give the peaceful demonstrators room to conduct their peaceful protests on Saturday. Unfortunately, as a result of providing the peaceful demonstrators with the space to share their message, that also meant that those seeking to incite violence also had the space to operate. The police sought to balance the rights of the peaceful demonstrators against the need to step in against those who were seeking to create violence.

The mayor is not saying that she asked police to give space to people who sought to create violence. Any suggestion otherwise would be a misinterpretation of her statement.[22]

Political positions and policies[edit]

City budget[edit]

On February 6, 2013, Baltimore City released a 10-year fiscal forecast, which the City had commissioned from independent financial consulting firm Public Financial Management, Inc. (PFM) at Rawlings-Blake's direction.[23] The report outlined a number of fiscal obstacles facing the City in subsequent years.[24][25]

To address the challenges outlined in the fiscal forecast, Rawlings-Blake presented Change to Grow: A Ten-Year Financial Plan for Baltimore,[26] the City’s first long-range financial plan. Among other major reforms, the plan outlined proposed changes to Baltimore City’s employee pensions and benefits system, City tax structure, and overall municipal operations.[27] By implementing elements of this plan, Baltimore City has been able to extinguish $300 million from a cumulative budgetary shortfall forecasted at approximately $750 million.[citation needed]

Urban blight[edit]

At the time Rawlings-Blake took office, Baltimore City had approximately 16,000 vacant buildings, resulting from a half-century of population decline. In November 2010, in an effort to reduce urban blight caused by vacant structures, Rawlings-Blake introduced the Vacants to Value (V2V) initiative.[28] The initiative's strategies include streamlining code enforcement and disposition of City-owned vacant properties, offering incentives targeted at home buyers who purchase previously vacant homes, supporting large-scale redevelopment in deeply distressed areas, and targeting demolition to improve long-term property values.[29]

In 2013, Baltimore Housing won the Urban Land Institute's Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Public Policy Awards[30] for the V2V initiative. V2V has also been recognized by the Obama Administration, the Clinton Global Initiative, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, ABCD Network, and the Financial Times.[31]

Other activities[edit]

In 2015, Rawlings-Blake became the first mayor to appear in the musical Chicago, saying "I am honored to be the first mayor to appear in Chicago—one of the most historic shows in Broadway history—and I want to reassure the cast and crew that I am already hard at work rehearsing my lines. I always love to show off the 'razzle dazzle' of Baltimore's flourishing cultural scene, from expanding our Arts & Entertainment Districts, to growing Baltimore's downtown theater corridor and all that jazz. I cannot wait to make my big debut in an amazing show like Chicago." She appeared in a one night performance on March 4, 2015, as an ensemble performer throughout the night.[32]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2007[33] and 2011,[34] Rawlings-Blake was honored by the Daily Record as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women.

Rawlings-Blake was named as a Shirley Chisholm Memorial Award Trailblazer by the National Congress of Black Women, Washington, DC Chapter (2009)[citation needed] and as an Innovator of the Year by the Maryland Daily Record (2010).[35] In 2013, she was included in The Baltimore Sun's list of 50 Women to Watch.[36]

She is a recipient of the Fullwood Foundation Award of Excellence (2010),[citation needed] the National Forum for Black Public Administrators' Distinguished Leadership Award (2012),[37] the Maryland State Senate's First Citizen Award (2013),[38] and the Baltimore Black Pride ICONS We Love Award (2013).[39]

In 2014, Vanity Fair included Rawlings-Blake in its list of the Top 10 Best-Dressed Mayors.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Rawlings-Blake currently lives in Baltimore’s Coldspring neighborhood with her husband, Kent Blake, and their daughter, Sophia. She is a member of Douglas Memorial Community Church, a historic Methodist Episcopal church in downtown Baltimore.[41]

On May 9, 2013, Rawlings-Blake’s 20-year-old cousin, Joseph Haskins, was shot and killed during a home invasion robbery.[42]

Electoral history[edit]


2003 Baltimore City Council, District 6, Democratic Party primary election[43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Stephanie Rawlings-Blake 3,679 49%
Democratic Charese Williams 2,765 37%
Democratic Seth A. Rosenberg 487 6%
Democratic Vincent "Rick" Fullard 251 3%
Democratic Kelley C. Brohawn 243 3%
Democratic Kevin L. Williams 132 2%
2003 Baltimore City Council, District 6, Democratic Party general election[44]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Stephanie Rawlings-Blake 11,325 91%
Republican Melvin A. Bilal 1,151 9%


2007 Baltimore City Council, President, Democratic Party primary election[45]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Stephanie Rawlings-Blake 42,078 49%
Democratic Michael Sarbanes 32,988 39%
Democratic Kenneth Harris Sr. 9,927 12%
Democratic Charles U. Smith 369 0%
2007 Baltimore City Council, President, general election[46]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Stephanie Rawlings-Blake 34,626 82%
Green Maria Allwine 7,174 17%
  Write-in 365 1%


2011 Mayor, Baltimore, Democratic Party primary election[47]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Stephanie Rawlings-Blake 38,829 52%
Democratic Catherine Pugh 18,797 25%
Democratic Otis Rolley III 9,415 13%
Democratic Joseph T. Landers 5,089 7%
Democratic Frank M. Conaway 2,095 3%
Democratic Wilton Lloyd Wilson 235 0%
2011 Mayor, Baltimore, Democratic Party general election[48]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Stephanie Rawlings-Blake 40,125 84%
Republican Alfred V. Griffin 6,108 13%
  write-in 1,270 3%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Fritze (January 21, 2013). "Rawlings-Blake to take leadership post at DNC". Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "About The U.S. Conference of Mayors". September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Undiscovered Baltimore 154 Things To Do In The 10 Neighborhoods You Need To Know About". Baltimore Magazine. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Howard P. Rawlings, Maryland State Delegate". Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Dr. Nina Rawlings". Baltimore Sun. September 30, 2011. Retrieved March 26, 2016. 
  6. ^ "An Education In Politics". Julie Scharper. February 4, 2010. Retrieved December 10, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Mayor, Baltimore, Maryland". Maryland State Archives, Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  8. ^ Nick Alexopulos (January 23, 2012). "Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to deliver Black History Month speech Feb. 7". Loyola University Maryland. 
  9. ^ "Baltimore Central Committee". Baltimore Sun. September 16, 1990.
  10. ^ Battle, Ursula V.; McCarthy, Anthony. "The City Council changes as some depart, some arrive". Afro-American Red Star (Washington, D.C.). December 9, 1995. p. B1.
  11. ^ a b "Charter of Baltimore City" (PDF). City of Baltimore, Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  12. ^ "City of Baltimore, Maryland". Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  13. ^ Holmes, Melanie R. "Dixon Resigns". Afro-American Star (Baltimore edition). January 9, 2010. p. A1, A5.
  14. ^ "Rawlings-blake Sworn In As Mayor". The Baltimore Sun. February 5, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Text: Rawlings-Blake State of the City address". Baltimore Business Journal. February 13, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  16. ^ Associated Press (September 11, 2015). "Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake says she won't seek re-election". Fox News Channel. 
  17. ^ "Baltimore Mayor: 'Gave Those Who Wished to Destroy Space to Do That'". April 25, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Baltimore Mayor: Space Was Provided To Those Who 'Wished To Destroy'". April 26, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Baltimore Mayor Gave Protesters 'Permission to Riot'". April 28, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Baltimore mayor's 'balancing act' gave protestors permission to turn violent". April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: I Did Not Intentionally Give Space to Those Wanting to 'Destroy'". April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  22. ^ Kevin Harris (April 27, 2015). "Rawlings-Blake Administration Issues Statement Regarding Mayor's Comments on the Rights of Protesters". Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  23. ^ "City of Baltimore Releases First Ten-Year Fiscal Forecast" (Press release). City of Baltimore. February 6, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  24. ^ City of Baltimore, Maryland Ten-Year Fiscal Forecast FY2013 – FY2022 (PDF), Public Financial Management, Inc., February 6, 2013, retrieved August 12, 2014 
  25. ^ "City of Baltimore is on a path to financial ruin, report says". Associated Press. February 6, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Change to Grow: A Ten-Year Financial Plan for Baltimore" (PDF). City of Baltimore, Maryland. February 20, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Mayor Rawlings-Blake Issues First-of-Its-Kind Ten-Year Financial Plan" (Press release). City of Baltimore. February 20, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Rawlings-Blake unveils plan for vacant housing". The Baltimore Sun. November 3, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Vacants to Value - About". Baltimore Housing. Retrieved December 15, 2014. 
  30. ^ "ULI Announces Winners of the 2013 Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Models of Excellence Awards and 2013 Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Public Policy Awards" (Press release). Urban Land Institute. November 6, 2013. Retrieved December 15, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Vacants to Value - About". Baltimore Housing. Retrieved December 15, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Baltimore Mayor Is Chicago Star Tonight". Playbill. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  33. ^ "2007 Winners Marylands Top 100 Women". The Daily Record. Retrieved December 15, 2014. 
  34. ^ "2011 Winners Marylands Top 100 Women". The Daily Record. Retrieved December 15, 2014. 
  35. ^ "2010 Winners Innovator of the Year". The Daily Record. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  36. ^ "50 Women to Watch Stephanie Rawlings-Blake". The Baltimore Sun. July 16, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  37. ^ "2013 Leadership Awards Dinner". National Forum for Black Public Administrators. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  38. ^ "The First Citizen Award". Maryland State Archives. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Rawlings-Blake 'extremely honored' to receive Black Pride ICON award". The Baltimore Sun. October 14, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Photos: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore – The Top 10 Best-Dressed Mayors". Vanity Fair. June 13, 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Office of the Mayor - Biography". Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  42. ^ "Baltimore mayor's cousin one of two people shot and killed Wednesday". The Baltimore Sun. May 9, 2013. Retrieved December 15, 2014. 
  43. ^ City Primary Results". The Baltimore Sun. September 10, 2003.
  44. ^ Baltimore City General Election Results". The Baltimore Sun. December 8, 2004.
  45. ^ City of Baltimore - Board of Elections - Official Election Results". City of Baltimore, Maryland. September 24, 2007. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007.
  46. ^ City of Baltimore - Board of Elections - Official Election Results". City of Baltimore, Maryland. 2007.
  47. ^ Baltimore City Primary Held September 13, 2011". Baltimore City Board of Elections. September 28, 2011.
  48. ^ Baltimore City General Election Held November 8, 2011". Baltimore City Board of Elections. November 22, 2011.

External links[edit]