|Catherine E. Pugh|
|50th Mayor of Baltimore|
December 6, 2016
|Majority Leader of the Maryland Senate|
January 14, 2015 - December 6, 2016
|Douglas J. J. Peters|
March 10, 1950
|Education||Morgan State University (BS, MBA)|
Catherine E. Pugh (born March 10, 1950), an American Democratic politician, is the 50th and current mayor of Baltimore City, Maryland. Pugh has been involved in Maryland politics since 1999 when she served on the Baltimore City Council. She has also held office in the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate, serving as the Majority Leader from 2015 to 2016. She first ran for Baltimore City mayor in 2011 and lost the primary to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Pugh ran again in 2016 and won the primary against former Mayor Sheila Dixon. Pugh then won the mayoral election on November 8, 2016 with 57% of the popular vote, and took office on December 6, 2016. She is Baltimore's third consecutive female mayor.
Born Catherine Crump on March 10, 1950, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Catherine Pugh was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her seven siblings. In 1967, she graduated from Overbrook High School in Philadelphia. After high school, Pugh moved to Baltimore City, Maryland to attend Morgan State University, where she earned a B.S. and M.B.A. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, a public service sorority.
In 1988, Pugh founded a public relations firm, Pugh and Company. From the mid 1980s to the early 1990s, she was an independent editor for The Baltimore Sun and dean and director of Strayer Business College in Baltimore. In 1994, she returned to Philadelphia and became vice president of Brunson Communications and co-owner of a local Delaware Valley TV station, WGTW-TV, where she was the host of "Another View", a weekly public affairs program that focused on policy issues within the black community and featured interviews with community leaders and public officials.
In 2005, the Governor Bob Ehrlich appointed Pugh to an open seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, where she served from June 21, 2005 to January 10, 2007. She then won a seat in the State Senate from January 10, 2007 to December 6, 2016. She sat on the Finance Committee and served as the State Senate Majority Leader. As Majority Leader, Pugh led the state on cyber security and telemedicine expansion legislation. Pugh is also responsible for diversifying the state's $40 billion pension portfolio, having led the passage of Senate Bill 606, which increased black and other minority managed dollars from $300 million to $4.2 billion. Pugh is currently president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators and she's the past chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and the Women's Caucus of Legislators in Maryland.
In 2015, Pugh entered the Democratic race for Mayor of Baltimore and launched her campaign headquarters in the city. She was an underdog comparably to former Mayor Sheila Dixon until the beginning of 2016. The endorsement from Congressman Elijah Cummings in April 2016 boosted her campaigning efforts. The primary election results indicated that Pugh won with 37% of the vote, defeating the former mayor, Sheila Dixon, who received 34%. Pugh won the mayoral election on November 8, 2016, with 57% of the popular vote, and took office on December 6, 2016.
Pugh succeeded Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as Baltimore's 50th mayor on December 6, 2016. As mayor, she inherited numerous issues developed under the Rawlings-Blake administration. First and foremost, Pugh prioritized the United States Department of Justice investigation into the Baltimore Police Department following the death of Freddie Gray, before the inauguration of Donald Trump. In April 2017, Judge James K. Bredar approved the consent decree signed by Pugh and former acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, rejecting an objection by new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Additional issues the Pugh administration will face include Baltimore's crime levels, vacant housing and revitalization development, and the cancellation of the Baltimore Red Line and launch of Governor Larry Hogan's BaltimoreLink bus system overhaul. Despite supporting it during her campaign, Mayor Pugh vetoed a bill to increase Baltimore's minimum wage to $15 per hour over five years, citing concerns about businesses moving out of the city and adverse effects on nonprofits and small businesses. Ricarra Jones, chairwoman of the Fight for $15 Baltimore Coalition, responded to the mayor's veto in a statement "As a state senator, Mayor Pugh was a strong supporter of a livable minimum wage and explicitly promised to sign the Baltimore wage bill as mayor. Today, she has made clear that promises are made to be broken."
In July 2017, Pugh along with other city leaders announced a mandatory one-year sentence for illegal possession of a gun in many parts of Baltimore. The move was seen as an attempt to address the city's soaring violence rate. The Baltimore city council voted to water down the legislation.
A runner and fitness enthusiast, Pugh has written a series of children's health books called Mind Garden: Where Thoughts Grow and Healthy Holly, which advocate exercise and healthy eating. She is also the founder of community programs, such as the Baltimore Marathon; the Fish Out of Water Project, a program that promotes tourism in Baltimore City to raise money for arts programs for local youth; and the Need to Read Campaign, a program designed to help Baltimore residents improve their reading skills.