Former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous has formally announced his plans to run for governor next year.
The 44-year-old Democrat and California native made the announcement Wednesday morning at a rally outside his cousin’s West Baltimore flower shop. His 24-minute speech highlighted his ties to Baltimore and a family legacy of civil rights activism, including his mother’s efforts to desegregate Western High School as a young teen.
Jealous has never held political office. Rather, he has spent a career in activism, most recently campaigning for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential race.
His speech took aim at Washington, and at Gov. Larry Hogan for not opposing Trump Administration officials, whom Jealous called “extremists.”
“Our governor has collaborated with these extremists, both through his misguided action and also through his oh-so-cowardly silence, at the expense of our children’s futures, our public schools, our public safety, our health and even our beloved Chesapeake Bay,” he said.
Jealous is the second Democrat to announce his run for governor, but there is a long list of others who have said they are considering entering the race to unseat Hogan.