Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
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Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake headshot
Secretary of the Democratic National Committee

January 22, 2013 - February 25, 2017
Alice Germond
Jason Rae
73rd President of the United States Conference of Mayors

2015-2016
Kevin Johnson
Mick Cornett
49th Mayor of Baltimore

February 4, 2010 - December 6, 2016
Sheila Dixon
Catherine Pugh
President of the Baltimore City Council

January 17, 2007 - February 4, 2010
Sheila Dixon
Bernard Young
Personal details
Born (1970-03-17) March 17, 1970 (age 47)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kent Blake[1]
Relations Pete Rawlings (Father)
Children 1
Education Oberlin College (BA)
University of Maryland, Baltimore (JD)

Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake (born March 17, 1970) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 49th Mayor of Baltimore from 2010 to 2016, the second woman to hold that office. She has also served as secretary of the Democratic National Committee and president of the United States Conference of Mayors.

Early life and family

Born Stephanie Rawlings on March 17, 1970, in Baltimore City, Maryland to Nina and Pete Rawlings, Rawlings-Blake grew up in the city's Ashburton neighborhood.[2] Her mother is a retired pediatrician[3] and her father is a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, where he represented the 40th district, Baltimore City.[4]

Rawlings-Blake currently lives in Baltimore with her husband, Kent Blake, and their daughter.[1]

Education

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.[5]

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.[6]

Rawlings-Blake is an alumna of the Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound Center[] and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Epsilon Omega chapter.[6] She is a former at-large member of the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys.[7]

Political career

Early career

From 1990 to 1998, Rawlings-Blake served on the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee,[6][8] and in 1993 she served as the Annapolis lobbyist for the Young Democrats of Maryland.[][9]

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.[6]

Baltimore City Council

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).[11]

From 1999 to 2007, Rawlings-Blake served as vice president of the Baltimore City Council.[6]

City council president

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."[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

Mayor of Baltimore

Rawlings-Blake at a Baltimore Orioles baseball game in 2012.

On January 6, 2010, then-Mayor Sheila Dixon announced, following her conviction for embezzlement, that she would resign from office, effective February 4, 2010.[15] 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.[12] Consequently, following Dixon's resignation on February 4, 2010, Rawlings-Blake became mayor of Baltimore City.[16]

Rawlings-Blake went on to seek a full term as mayor in the 2011 mayoral election. In the 2011 Democratic primary, she won 52% of the vote. She then won the general election in November 2011, receiving 84% of the vote. In her February 2012 State of the City address, she stated that her goal as mayor is to grow Baltimore by 10,000 families.[17]

In September 2015, Rawlings-Blake announced that she would not seek re-election in the 2016 mayoral election, stating, "It was a very difficult decision, but I knew I needed to spend time focused on the city's future, not my own".[18]

2015 Baltimore protests

Rawlings-Blake received criticism due to her handling of the 2015 Baltimore protests that were prompted by the death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015. Several days of peaceful protests escalated into violence in the late afternoon of April 25, 2015.[19] After about three hours of violence, looting, and destruction of property throughout the city, Rawlings-Blake requested the Maryland National Guard.[20] Two days later, on April 27, as unrest continued, she requested that the governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, declare a state of emergency, and on April 28, she asked for further assistance from the National Guard.[19] Rawlings-Blake was criticized for waiting too long before asking the state for help.[19] Hogan claimed that she did not return his repeated phone calls for two hours after the riots started on April 25 and that he could not enact a state of emergency or deploy the National Guard without a formal request from the mayor.[21] On April 28, Hogan said he didn't want to "second-guess the mayor's decision" and that he knew "she was doing the best that she could".[19]

In a press conference addressing the riots, 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".[22] The phrase "we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well" was interpreted by some conservative-leaning news sources[23][24][25] as an indication that the mayor was giving permission to protestors to destroy property. Some conservative outlets disagreed with that interpretation, however, such as Breitbart News contributor John Sexton, who wrote, "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)".[26]

Rawlings-Blake clarified her remarks in a Facebook post, writing, "I did not instruct police to give space to protesters who were seeking to create violence or destruction of property. Taken in context, I explained that, in giving peaceful demonstrators room to share their message, unfortunately, those who were seeking to incite violence also had space to operate".[27]

During a subsequent press conference, Rawlings-Blake said, "Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs who, in a very senseless way, are trying to tear down what so many have fought for",[19] which led to even more criticism from people who felt her use of the term "thugs" was racially charged, such as Baltimore City Council member Carl Stokes, who compared her use of the word "thug" to the "n-word". Rawlings-Blake apologized two days later on Twitter.[27]

Secretary of the Democratic National Committee

Rawlings-Blake was appointed secretary of the Democratic National Committee in January 2013, serving under Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.[28] Rawlings-Blake gaveled in the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where she served as one of 23 superdelegates from Maryland; Rawlings-Blake did not endorse any candidate at the convention.[29][30]

Political positions and policies

Rawlings-Blake at the White House speaking with Vice President Biden.

City budget

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.[31] The report outlined a number of fiscal obstacles facing the City in subsequent years.[32][33]

To address the challenges outlined in the fiscal forecast, Rawlings-Blake presented Change to Grow: A Ten-Year Financial Plan for Baltimore,[34] 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.[35] 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.[]

Urban blight

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.[36] 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.[37]

In 2013, Baltimore Housing won the Urban Land Institute's Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Public Policy Awards[38] 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.[39]

Other activities

Rawlings-Blake at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

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.[40]

Awards and honors

In 2007[41] and 2011,[42] 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)[] and as an Innovator of the Year by the Maryland Daily Record (2010).[43] In 2013, she was included in The Baltimore Sun's list of 50 Women to Watch.[44]

She is a recipient of the Fullwood Foundation Award of Excellence (2010),[] the National Forum for Black Public Administrators' Distinguished Leadership Award (2012),[45] the Maryland State Senate's First Citizen Award (2013),[46] and the Baltimore Black Pride ICONS We Love Award (2013).[47]

In 2014, Vanity Fair included Rawlings-Blake in its list of the Top 10 Best-Dressed Mayors.[48]

Electoral history

2003

2003 Baltimore City Council, District 6, Democratic Party primary election[49]
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, general election[50]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Stephanie Rawlings-Blake 11,325 91%
Republican Melvin A. Bilal 1,151 9%

2007

2007 Baltimore City Council, President, Democratic Party primary election[51]
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[52]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Stephanie Rawlings-Blake 34,626 82%
Green Maria Allwine 7,174 17%
  Write-in 365 1%

2011

2011 Mayor, Baltimore, Democratic Party primary election[53]
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, general election[54]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Stephanie Rawlings-Blake 40,125 84%
Republican Alfred V. Griffin 6,108 13%
  write-in 1,270 3%

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Office of the Mayor - Biography". baltimorecity.gov. Retrieved 2015. 
  2. ^ Blumberg, Jess; Mulvihill, Amy. "Undiscovered Baltimore 154 Things To Do In The 10 Neighborhoods You Need To Know About". Baltimore Magazine. Retrieved 2014. 
  3. ^ Morton, Will (April 27, 2008). "Rising Star". Baltimore Magazine. Retrieved 2017. 
  4. ^ "Howard P. Rawlings, Maryland State Delegate". Maryland Manual On-Line. Maryland State Archives. September 29, 2015. Retrieved 2017. 
  5. ^ "An Education In Politics". Julie Scharper. February 4, 2010. Retrieved 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Mayor, Baltimore, Maryland". Maryland State Archives, msa.md.gov. Retrieved 2014. 
  7. ^ Nick Alexopulos (January 23, 2012). "Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to deliver Black History Month speech Feb. 7". Loyola University Maryland. 
  8. ^ "Baltimore Central Committee". Baltimore Sun. September 16, 1990.
  9. ^ "About The U.S. Conference of Mayors". September 8, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  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. ^ "Maryland Manual Online". maryland.gov. Retrieved 2017. 
  12. ^ a b "Charter of Baltimore City" (PDF). City of Baltimore, baltimorecity.gov. Retrieved 2014. 
  13. ^ "Stephanie Rawlings-Blake". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  14. ^ "City of Baltimore, Maryland". Baltimorecity.gov. Retrieved 2011. 
  15. ^ Bykowicz, Julie (January 7, 2010). "Dixon Resigns". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. 
  16. ^ Scharper, Julie (February 5, 2010). "Rawlings-blake Sworn In As Mayor". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on December 31, 2014. 
  17. ^ Griner, Nicholas (February 13, 2012). "Text: Rawlings-Blake State of the City Address". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved 2014. 
  18. ^ "Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake Says She Won't Seek Re-Election". Fox News. Associated Press. September 11, 2015. Retrieved 2017. 
  19. ^ a b c d e Chuck, Elizabeth (April 28, 2015). "Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Under Fire For 'Space' to Destroy Comment". NBC News. Retrieved 2017. 
  20. ^ Reutter, Mark; Shen, Fern (April 27, 2015). "State of Emergency Declared for Baltimore". Baltimore Brew. Retrieved 2017. 
  21. ^ Broadwater, Luke; Cox, Erin; Fenton, Justin (April 28, 2015). "Critics Question Delay in Calling Out the Guard". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Baltimore Mayor: 'Gave Those Who Wished to Destroy Space to Do That'". CBS Baltimore. April 25, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  23. ^ Ross, Chuck (April 26, 2015). "Baltimore Mayor: Space Was Provided To Those Who 'Wished To Destroy'". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 2015. 
  24. ^ Clyne, Melissa (April 28, 2015). "Baltimore Mayor Gave Protesters 'Permission to Riot'". Newsmax. Retrieved 2015. 
  25. ^ Manning, Richard (April 27, 2015). "Baltimore mayor's 'balancing act' gave protestors permission to turn violent". Fox News. Retrieved 2015. 
  26. ^ Sexton, John (April 27, 2015). "Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: I Did Not Intentionally Give Space to Those Wanting to 'Destroy'". Breitbart News. Retrieved 2015. 
  27. ^ a b Fang, Marina (April 29, 2015). "Baltimore Mayor Apologizes For Calling Protesters 'Thugs'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017. 
  28. ^ "Rawlings-Blake becomes DNC secretary, takes office Tuesday". Baltimore Business Journal. January 22, 2013. Retrieved 2017. 
  29. ^ "Unpledged Delegates By State" (PDF). vox.com. Retrieved 2016. 
  30. ^ "In face of uproar, Fattah resigns effective immediately". philly.com. June 24, 2016. 
  31. ^ "City of Baltimore Releases First Ten-Year Fiscal Forecast" (Press release). City of Baltimore. February 6, 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  32. ^ City of Baltimore, Maryland Ten-Year Fiscal Forecast FY2013 - FY2022 (PDF), Public Financial Management, Inc., February 6, 2013, retrieved 2014 
  33. ^ "City of Baltimore is on a path to financial ruin, report says". Associated Press. February 6, 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  34. ^ "Change to Grow: A Ten-Year Financial Plan for Baltimore" (PDF). City of Baltimore, Maryland. February 20, 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  35. ^ "Mayor Rawlings-Blake Issues First-of-Its-Kind Ten-Year Financial Plan" (Press release). City of Baltimore. February 20, 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  36. ^ "Rawlings-Blake unveils plan for vacant housing". The Baltimore Sun. November 3, 2010. Retrieved 2014. 
  37. ^ "Vacants to Value - About". Baltimore Housing. Retrieved 2014. 
  38. ^ "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 2014. 
  39. ^ "Vacants to Value - About". Baltimore Housing. Retrieved 2014. 
  40. ^ "Baltimore Mayor Is Chicago Star Tonight". Playbill. Retrieved 2015. 
  41. ^ "2007 Winners Marylands Top 100 Women". The Daily Record. Retrieved 2014. 
  42. ^ "2011 Winners Marylands Top 100 Women". The Daily Record. Retrieved 2014. 
  43. ^ "2010 Winners Innovator of the Year". The Daily Record. Retrieved 2014. 
  44. ^ "50 Women to Watch Stephanie Rawlings-Blake". The Baltimore Sun. July 16, 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  45. ^ "2013 Leadership Awards Dinner". National Forum for Black Public Administrators. Retrieved 2014. 
  46. ^ "The First Citizen Award". Maryland State Archives. Retrieved 2014. 
  47. ^ "Rawlings-Blake 'extremely honored' to receive Black Pride ICON award". The Baltimore Sun. October 14, 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  48. ^ "Photos: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore - The Top 10 Best-Dressed Mayors". Vanity Fair. June 13, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  49. ^ City Primary Results". The Baltimore Sun. September 10, 2003.
  50. ^ Baltimore City General Election Results". The Baltimore Sun. December 8, 2004.
  51. ^ City of Baltimore - Board of Elections - Official Election Results". City of Baltimore, Maryland. September 24, 2007. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007.
  52. ^ City of Baltimore - Board of Elections - Official Election Results". City of Baltimore, Maryland. 2007.
  53. ^ Baltimore City Primary Held September 13, 2011". Baltimore City Board of Elections. September 28, 2011.
  54. ^ Baltimore City General Election Held November 8, 2011". Baltimore City Board of Elections. November 22, 2011.

External links


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