State Senator Catherine Pugh has staved off a late effort from former Mayor Sheila Dixon to become the mayor-elect of Baltimore City. Pugh also defeated Republican Alan Walden and the Green Party’s Joshua Harris in the process.
For Pugh, becoming mayor-elect is the next step to fulfilling what she has called her dream job. She said she was excited to get to work.
“We got cabinet members to select; staff to put in place,” she said. “We got to deal with some of the homeless issues. We got a lot on out agenda and we’re going to tackle those issues as we move forward.”
She was joined on stage at the Radisson Hotel Downtown by City Council President Jack Young, Comptroller Joan Pratt and a number of newly elected members to the City Council.
During her victory speech, Pugh said there are neighborhoods that need to be focused on like Sandtown and Park Heights.
“With $120 million over the next 10 to 15 years, it is an opportunity to say to developers comping up into our communities that ‘invest in us because we will invest in you,’” she said. “We want a better Park Heights.”
Pugh also said there are 76,000 people that need jobs and 3,000 people sleeping on the streets of Baltimore. She added the homeless aren’t just a problem for city government, but for residents as well.
“Because it is a health problem,” she said. “We got to build homes for the homeless.”
Pugh also called for a more inclusive and diverse city government, community policing and for first responders to live in the city.
The general election for the mayor’s race has long been a formality in the city where Democrats outnumber Republicans. But Dixon, who lost to Pugh in the April Democratic primary, launched a write-in campaign three weeks before the general election.
Dixon arrived at her party at Oxygen Ultra Lounge downtown exhausted. She said she had been working the polls all day.
“That’s why I’m dressed like this,” she said. “I didn’t have time to go home and get dressed and fancy.”
Although the numbers didn’t look good for her, she was reluctant to concede.
“We don’t know the total outcome . . .yet,” she said. “We know there are votes that need to come. But I am not going to stop until I see every vote that’s been counted.”
She said her write-in campaign “was about the kind of change I know that we can make in this city.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who chose not to run for re-election, reiterated her promise for a smooth transition. She said she looks forward to working with Pugh over the next couple of weeks.