Danielle McCray was sworn in as the 2nd district city council member by Mayor Jack Young in a ceremony Tuesday afternoon, capping the end of a series of office transitions that began after former mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation.
McCray served as an aide to City Council President Brandon Scott when he represented the Northeast Baltimore district. She spent five years handling constituent and policy issues.
McCray was tapped for the vacancy by a committee chaired by 13th district councilmember Shannon Sneed. Zeke Cohen, of the 1st district, also served on the committee. Both districts border on the second. Neighborhood association and community leaders, who knew “Dani” through her work with Scott, also served on the committee.
In a brief speech she thanked the vacancy committee for nominating her and the city council for confirming the nomination.
"I look forward to working with the members of the Baltimore City Council and Mayor Young to support the residents of the 2nd District," she said.
The new councilwoman is an Edmondson Village native and Waltherson resident. She is also the younger sister of Democratic state Sen. Cory McCray, who represents Baltimore in Annapolis.
Her path to the council opened when former City Council President Young automatically became mayor after Pugh’s resignation, and the council elected Scott its new president, leaving the second district seat vacant.
McCray was chosen from a pool of 14 hopefuls who publicly interviewed before the committee at the end of May. Her opponents included other city aides, organizers, teachers, and artists.
During her interview, McCray said her top two priorities for the district are public safety and restoring faith in local government. Her vision, she said, includes bolstering the district’s schools and local economy.
“We want jobs and amenities where we live with a strong local economy that allows us to reinvest in our community,” McCray said at the hearing.
McCray also said she wants more community-oriented policing, which includes more foot patrol officers. She said many residents believe the department is not hearing their voices and that she would aim to improve their relationships with local officers. The new councilmember is also opposed to mandatory minimums sentences.
“They don't do anything to deter crime or to reduce crime, and that’s been shown in multiple studies,” she said.
McCray won nine out of 11 votes cast immediately after the hearing. Tuesday was the soonest she could be scheduled to be confirmed by the council.