I have been active as a volunteer for almost thirty years, which I consider to be the biggest part of preparing myself for service on the City Council. I am a former board president at both Citizens Planning and Housing Association and Strong City Baltimore (back when it was the Greater Homewood Community Corporation), and have served on the boards of the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Johns Hopkins Society of Black Alumni, the Radnor-Winston Improvement Association, and the Mobtown Players theater company. A longtime advocate for strengthening the York-Greenmount corridor, I co-chaired the Greenmount Avenue Revitalization Task Force while at Greater Homewood and have been a member of the leadership committee for the York Road Partnership. Currently, I am serving on the boards of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and Local Progress, a national organization of progressive municipal officials.
I have lived in Baltimore my whole life. I graduated from Loyola University, where I completed a Master’s of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance, and my undergraduate degree is from the Johns Hopkins University, where I majored in social & behavioral sciences, with concentrations in urban studies and public policy. A proud alumnus of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s LEADERship program, I also graduated from Loyola-Blakefield High School’s honors program and St. Mary’s parish school in Govans; as far as I know, I’m the only councilperson to have graduated from two of the schools in their district, although St. Mary’s parish school is now closed. My wife Ruth and I have lived in the Radnor-Winston neighborhood for almost twenty-five years and were married at St. Mary’s; the former parish school building is now used as Tunbridge Public Charter School, which our daughters – Claudia and Amelia – have attended.
Before being elected to represent North and Northeast Baltimore’s 4th District in 2007, I worked in community development at the Patterson Park Community Development Corporation. Prior to that, I spent about seven years as staff in City Hall, first interning in the Mayor’s office under Kurt Schmoke and then in the City Council President’s office, working my way up from legislative aide under Mary Pat Clarke to chief of staff under Lawrence Bell. I also served as a congressional aide to Ben Cardin between “tours of duty” in City Hall, later working in the private sector as a consultant, concentrating in organizational development and community relations. Since I’ve been on the Council, while I’ve treated it as my full-time job, I’ve also spent a couple of semesters as an adjunct professor at University of Baltimore, teaching a class or two of urban policy and legislative process.
As a member of the City Council, I’ve represented the Council on the Baltimore City Commission for Historical & Architectural Preservation and the board of Community Media of Baltimore City, which oversees our public access cable channels, along with having been the Council’s first African-American representative to the City’s Planning Commission. Previously the chair of the Housing & Community Development committee, vice-chair of the Taxation, Finance & Economic Development and Education & Youth committees and a member of the Judiciary & Legislative Investigation, Executive Appointment and Land Use & Transportation committees, I currently serve as a member of the Biennial Audits Oversight Commission and sit on the City Council’s Budget & Appropriations, Housing & Urban Affairs, and Labor committees.
Throughout my schooling, my career, and my civic engagement, my goal has always been to figure out how Baltimore could be better and then make it happen; I have spent most of my adult life working with individuals and organizations similarly committed to that goal. Whether that effort was focused on the neighborhoods of Greater Homewood, the York-Greenmount Corridor, Patterson Park, or the City as a whole, all of the various takeaways from those endeavors – and my work on the Council to date – have contributed to making me the best candidate to be the next Baltimore City Comptroller.