Emily Sullivan | WYPR

Emily Sullivan

Reporter, City Hall

Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics.  She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves.  There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team.  Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.

Sullivan has also reported on health and education for WAMU in Washington, D.C..  She got her start in public radio as an intern at WNYC.  Sullivan also interned at The Village Voice, where she produced a music festival.  She holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and women's, gender, and sexuality studies from Fordham University.

In her spare time, she enjoys biking, watching Jeopardy and defending the honor of New Jersey, her home state. She lives in Baltimore's Remington neighborhood.


Wednesday morning marked the final city spending board meeting for Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and longtime Comptroller Joan Pratt, who will leave office next week.

“I just want to thank the citizens of Baltimore,” Young said in a brief comment before the Board of Estimates. “I enjoyed working with everybody and I wish everybody the best.” 


Baltimore County Public Schools administrators have closed schools through at least Tuesday, after a ransomware attack discovered last week locked 115,000 students and their teachers out of their online learning platforms.

“Our focus today and for Monday and Tuesday is identifying and addressing student and staff device needs so that instruction can continue,” the school system said in a Sunday Twitter update.

Baltimore County Public Schools

Baltimore County Public Schools have been hit by a ransomware attack, county officials announced Wednesday morning. The attack, which shut down the system’s network information systems, forced school administrators to cancel classes for 115,000 students the day before Thanksgiving break.

Officials said it’s unclear when classes may resume. School officials are working with investigators from the county, the state and the FBI.

AP/Patrick Semansky

Baltimore healthcare providers urged city council members to support overdose prevention sites, places where people can use previously purchased drugs under the supervision of healthcare professionals, during a hearing Tuesday.

They said the sites confront the reality that people use drugs and allows them to do so safely.

Phil Roeder/Flickr

Baltimore City Public School officials announced Thursday a plan to pause in-person learning and meal site operations during the week after Thanksgiving, anticipating potential COVID-19 spread from in-person holiday gatherings.

The announcement came the same morning that the Maryland Department of Health reported the state’s largest-ever number of daily new cases of the disease —  2,910 total — since the pandemic first hit. Hospitalizations throughout Maryland are at their highest level since May.

Council President Brandon M. Scott/Facebook

The Baltimore City Council held another virtual meeting last night ---- the penultimate meeting before the next iteration of the council is sworn in. WYPR’s Matt Tacka and Emily Sullivan walk us through what laws they passed and what laws Mayor Jack Young vetoed.


About 1,200 Baltimore City students are set to re-enter the classrooms of 27 schools Monday morning for the first time last spring when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The partial re-opening prioritizes the district’s most vulnerable students, including students experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities, English language learners and those who have been offline for at least 20% of remote classes. 

Alan Light/Flickr

Baltimore’s top health official urged residents to wear masks and practice social distancing Thursday during a COVID-19 update, as the city sees upticks in asymptomatic and community transmission of the disease.

“We go to a family gathering or something at a friend’s house, and a lot of us are more likely to let our guard down," Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said during a Facebook livestream. "You know, we’ve worn the mask all day at work,” but that’s exactly when transmission can happen, she said. 

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Baltimore will re-enter Phase 1 level restrictions at 5 p.m. Thursday, as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths and positivity rates continue to climb throughout the city and state.

Mayor Jack Young’s executive order reduces capacity to 25% at religious facilities, retail establishments, gyms, theaters and other businesses, and also caps indoor and outdoor private gatherings at 10 people.   


Baltimore City Public Schools will scale back a planned partial reopening from 44 to 27 schools and open on-site testing at schools as local COVID-19 cases spike, CEO Sonja Santelises announced Tuesday evening. 

“I had epidemiologists telling me back in April, beware of the fall/winter surge. And it is happening,” Santelises said. “It's also why we've started with small groups, because we wanted to make sure that we could move through this.”


Screenshot via CharmTV

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young announced tightened pandemic restrictions in a news conference Friday afternoon, citing alarming COVID-19 trends that have crept upward throughout the city.

Effective at 5:00 p.m. next Thursday, indoor and outdoor restaurants, theaters, malls, and religious facilities, must cap capacity at 25%. Gatherings at homes, both indoor and outdoors, are limited to 10 people.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Election workers throughout Maryland resumed the counting of mail-in ballots Thursday, after completing Election Day returns.

Unlike workers in some critical swing states who did not begin counting mail-in ballots until this week, Maryland election workers began sorting and counting early ballots in October. More than 1.3 million mail-in ballots were returned to the state before Election Day.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Baltimore protestors rallied on Wednesday afternoon to condemn President Trump’s false claims that he won the contentious presidential election and that Democrats are “stealing” the election, as officials continue to count votes throughout the country.

“What matters is that what the people need and want is what we get,” said Sharon Black, an organizer with the Peoples Power Assembly, said. “We cannot tolerate, in this country, a fascist who basically steals the election by not counting every vote.”  


Melissa Gerr

In Charm City, almost none of the nail-biting turmoil of the national races: Democrats running to take or hold offices in City Hall made a clean sweep. Fairly early in the evening, Brandon Scott declared victory in the race for mayor, and voters gave Councilman Nick Mosby the nod to step into the job Scott will vacate, president of the City Council. We’ll ask WYPR reporter Emily Sullivan … and Lisa Snowden-McCray of Real News Network what’s next and what will be the impact of other choices the voters made.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

  Election Day proved to be a big one for Baltimore City Democrats, who declared in victory their citywide races.

Come December, Brandon Scott, the City Council President will head to the mayor’s office, while Del. Nick Mosby will take over Scott’s current job and Councilman Bill Henry will become comptroller. Their victories represent the replacement of older faces with younger ones in all three citywide offices. 

“Your next mayor will wake up every day, focus on making this city safer, on getting you the help you need, on throwing everything that I have in my grasp and power at the problem,” said Scott during a small Tuesday night event at the Inner Harbor’s Sound Stage. “I believe in the great people of this city and what we are capable of achieving when we stand united.”

Melissa Gerr

It's finally Election Day! Get voting information, resources, and reports from the polls from the WYPR News Team, On the Record, and Midday

Baltimore Votes Instagram

 WYPR reporter Emily Sullivan joins us with the latest on the candidates making their final push before polls close tomorrow night

John Willis, former Maryland Secretary of State discusses early voting numbers in a historical perspective and talk about a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign by the gambling industry to push for sports betting.  

Plus, Sam Novey of Baltimore Votes and Ashiah Parker of the No Boundaries Coalition join Tom with an update on their organization’s efforts to get out those last-minute voters.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Baltimore Democratic nominees gathered outside of Edmondson-Westside High School on Monday morning to encourage all eligible voters throughout the city to cast a ballot before the polls close for good on Tuesday night.

“We cannot afford to have anyone sitting this election out,” said City Council President Brandon Scott, the Democratic nominee for mayor. “You have the future of your city, your state, of your country and the world at hand.”

Baltimore City Health Department handout

  New coronavirus cases in Baltimore are up 120% from just four weeks ago and are approaching the case numbers the city experienced during a sharp spike in July.

“What this means is that Halloween is not the time for anyone to pretend we are not in an active pandemic,” City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said during a news conference Friday. She warned that the city will see another wave of COVID-19 “unless everyone continues to follow practical harm reduction guidance.” 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Two city councilmen are calling on Mayor Jack Young to resume Baltimore’s curbside recycling service and raise the pay of the Department of Public Works’ sanitation employees, some of whom earn $11 an hour.

“The way we pay people communicates how we value them,” Councilman Zeke Cohen, a Democrat, said during a Wednesday news conference at the Sisson Street Sanitation Yard in Northwest Baltimore. “Right now we are sending a clear message that we do not value these employees.”

Flickr / Maria Eklind

  Yesterday, more than 161,000 Marylanders braved long lines and gloomy weather to cast their ballots on Day One of in-person early voting. 

WYPR reporter Emily Sullivan has an update. 

Plus, Midday on Ethics.  President Trump declared himself cured of the coronavirus after receiving an experimental antibody treatment under the FDA compassionate use program. 

But the president's treatment is vastly different than what most COVID patients receive.  

As the rate of new infections continues to rise worldwide, who will be in line for the Trump treatment and for a preventative vaccine?

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bio-Ethics joins Tom to discuss the ethics of compassionate use in the fight against the pandemic.  


Rachel Baye/WYPR

More than 161,000 Marylanders turned out for the state's first day of early voting Monday, setting a record for the most ballots cast in a single day of early voting in state history, according to the state Board of Elections. About 1.1 million Marylanders have voted so far. 

NAACP - Baltimore City Branch Facebook page

Democrat Brandon Scott faced criticism about his Baltimore City Hall insider status from other mayoral candidates in a debate hosted Thursday night by the NAACP and the Afro-American newspaper. 

From the get-go, Independent Bob Wallace slammed Scott for failing to change the status quo in his current and past positions in city government, saying a new coach needs to step in.

“I'm listening to you talk about what bills you passed and what revelations you had and all that. But where's the beef?” Wallace said. “Nothing has improved.”


Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The Baltimore City Council held a virtual meeting Monday night, where they passed a major tax sale bill and introduced a measure to tax electronic smoking devices. WYPR’s Nathan Sterner and Emily Sullivan walk us through the bills.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Twenty hungry goats spent five days on a hill in North Baltimore’s Wyman Park Dell, transforming it from a dense woodland overgrown with invasive plants to a slope so bare it could be the dead of winter. 

The goats were guests of the Friends of Wyman Park Dell, a nonprofit that raised more than $3,000 to bring the animals to clear the slope, adjacent to the Baltimore Museum of Art, as an environmentally friendly alternative to machines and herbicides. They were contracted through Wednesday, but finished their job ahead of schedule on Monday afternoon.

Baltimore City Public Schools' Facebook page

 Baltimore City schools administrators released Wednesday a plan to bring back a group of students that includes the district’s most vulnerable to 25 schools starting in November. In a town hall Thursday night, parents and teachers raised many questions and concerns to those  administrators.

“Why do families have a choice [to return to the classroom] but teachers and staff don't?” asked one commenter on a Facebook livestream. “If my child decides to continue to do virtual learning, will they have the same teacher?” asked another.


  Baltimore City schools will bring some of its most vulnerable students back into the classroom next month, the district announced Wednesday.

Students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, special education, English learners and those experiencing homelessness, as well as those who have missed at least 20% of online classes, will be able to receive in-person schooling in the district’s second quarter, which starts Nov. 12.

Lowell Larson via Flickr

The Baltimore City school board stared down a $21 million shortfall Tuesday night brought on by pandemic spending, as its CEO decides how to handle the rest of the fall term.

Like school systems throughout the nation, the city schools racked up costs to keep online instruction afloat and support students and families as classes went online in the spring and stayed there this fall. All in all, the district spent $131 million on initial pandemic-related expenses.


On what is still officially Columbus Day in Baltimore, members of the city’s indiginous community rallied in the rain Monday afternoon calling for the renaming of the holiday.

The event was also a celebration of indigenous peoples’ culture, full of music, dancing and prayer. 

Led by Indigenous Strong, the rally came a week after the City Council passed a bill that would rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. But Mayor Jack Young has not signed the bill into law. 

Screenshot via Brandon For Baltimore

 Brandon Scott, Baltimore’s Democratic nominee for mayor, has nearly two-thirds of likely voters’ support, according to a poll commissioned by Scott and obtained by WYPR. The poll asked voters both where they stand in November’s general election race and what priorities they want the next mayor to tackle.

The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, found Scott with 65% of the vote, Independent Bob Wallace with 14% and Republican Shannon Wright with 6%. The Democratic firm surveyed 400 likely November 2020 General Election voters in Baltimore from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6. The voters were both Republicans, Democrats, Independents and reflect Baltimore’s November electorate. The margin of error is ±4.9%. Polls commissioned by campaigns tend to paint rosier pictures of their candidates than polls commissioned by neutral parties.