Conversations With The Candidates: 2020 | WYPR

Conversations With The Candidates: 2020

Midday host Tom Hall interviews candidates who will be on the ballot in the special February 4 primary election for Maryland's vacant 7th District Congressional seat; in the 7th District general election on April 28th, which is also primary day for all other races in MD, including the Presidential Primary; and in the November 3, 2020 General Election in Maryland.

Video of the interviews available at facebook.com/WYPR881FM/

Follow us on Twitter: @MiddayWYPR and @tomhallwypr.

WallpaperFlare.com

It’s another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates. Today, a live debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates for Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes parts of Baltimore City as well as Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard Counties...

Photo Courtesy / Brandonforbaltimore.com

Brandon Scott was elected President of the City Council by his fellow council members last year when then Council President Jack Young became Mayor after Catherine Pugh’s fall from grace.  

He was first elected to the Council in 2011 to represent the 2nd District. Before that, he worked in the office of then Council President Stephanie Rawlings Blake as her representative in Northeast Baltimore.  

In 2018, Jim Shea picked Mr. Scott as his running mate in their unsuccessful campaign in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. 

In last June's primary election, Council President Scott fended off a crowded field of challengers, including former mayor Shelia Dixon, to win his party’s mayoral nomination.

Brandon Scott is 36 years old.  He grew up in Park Heights, where his parents and family still live.  He lives in the Frankford neighborhood in North East Baltimore.

Nick Mosby/Photo by Carde

Today, another in our series of Conversation with the Candidates.  Tom's guest is Maryland Delegate Nick Mosby, the Democratic nominee for Baltimore City Council President.

Delegate Mosby has represented Baltimore’s 40th District in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2017. Previously, he served for five years as a member of the Baltimore City Council. 

In June, Delegate Mosby beat a crowded field of challengers in a primary that included City Council members Shannon Sneed and Leon Pinkett III.  His opponent in the general election next month is Republican Jovani Patterson.

Nick Mosby is 41 years old.  He and his wife, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, live in Reservoir Hill with their two young daughters.   Delegate Nick Mosby joins Tom on the line from his home. 

Photo Courtesy / Shannon Wright

Pastor Shannon Wright is a non-profit executive and host of the radio program and podcast called "Wright Way with Shannon & Mike in the Morning." 

Pastor Wright was born in New York. She’s a second-generation American of West Indian descent. She is a former Vice President of the Yonkers NAACP; she also served on the New Jersey NAACP state board of directors. 

In 2016 she was the Republican nominee in the race for City Council President. She lost in the general election to now incumbent Mayor "Jack" Young.   

Pastor Wright is 53 years old.  She lives in Parkville.  

Rep. John Sarbanes

Today on Midday, it’s another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  Tom's guest is Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes, who is seeking election to an eighth term representing Maryland's 3rd Congressional district, which includes parts of Baltimore City, as well as portions of Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties. 

Congressman Sarbanes currently serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee  as well as the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Since 2017, he’s chaired the Democracy Reform Task Force, a group of House lawmakers focused on minimizing the influence of special interests and ensuring fair elections.

Congressman Sarbanes is 58 years old.  He and his wife live in Towson. 

Photo Courtesy / Jovani Patterson

My guest is the Republican candidate for Baltimore City Council President, Jovani Patterson. He is a cybersecurity engineer and first-time candidate for elected office.  

 Mr. Patterson was born in the Park Heights neighborhood of Baltimore and raised in South Carolina. He later returned to Maryland and attended Capitol College in Laurel.  

Jovani Patterson has worked in IT and Cybersecurity for more than 20 years. He is also a musician who spent two years playing the drums with the Morgan State University Choir.  

 He is 34 years old. He and his wife live with their two children in Mt. Holly. 

 

 

Mfume for Congress

Today, it’s another installment in our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  

Tom's guest is Congressman Kweisi Mfume, who represents Maryland’s 7th District .  Mfume won a special election in April to fill the vacancy left by the death of his long-time friend, Congressman Elijah Cummings.  He bested a large field of Democrats in a June’s primary and now, as he did last spring, Congressman Mfume is running against Republican nominee Kimberly Klacik.  He won their last race decisively. 

Congressman Mfume previously represented the 7th district  from 1987 to 1996, before leaving Congress to head up the NAACP.  The seat he vacated in 1996 was filled by Elijah Cummings. 

Rep. Mfume will turn 72 years old next month.  He is married to Dr. Tiffany McMillan, an Assistant Vice President at Morgan State University. They live in Southwest Baltimore.

Congressman Kweisi Mfume joins us on Zoom.

Listeners are welcome to join the conversation.  

Wallace for Mayor Campaign

There are 49 days to go until the November 3rd elections. Among the many contests voters will be deciding will be the race for Baltimore mayor.  In addition to Brandon Scott, the Democratic nominee, and Shannon Wright, the Republican, voters will also have a Working Class Party candidate, David Harding, and a former Republican who is running as an independent, Baltimore businessman Bob Wallace.  The 63-year old Cherry Hill native, who founded and runs three local companies, says he wants to become Baltimore's "mayor-preneur," and to give Baltimoreans a real choice in leadership after a half-century of Democrat control of City Hall.

Today, Bob Wallace joins Tom for the hour on Zoom to discuss his independent mayoral campaign, in another of our continuing series of Conversations with the Candidates.  We also welcome calls, emails and tweets from listeners with comments and questions for Mr. Wallace.

ThiruForBaltimore

Today, the final installment in our pre-primary series of Conversations with the Candidates.  Tom's guest is Thiru Vignarajah, a veteran city and federal prosecutor and one of a crowded field of Democratic contenders in the June 2nd primary election for Baltimore mayor.

A WYPR/Baltimore Sun/University of Baltimore poll released yesterday places Mr. Vignarajah just outside the group of three leading candidates in the race, but the poll also indicated that crime reduction is the top priority for a majority of likely voters.  Will Baltimore choose a prosecutor to lead the City in the fight against violence and a global pandemic?

Mfume for Congress

Today, our series of Conversations with the Candidates continues with the newest member of the Maryland congressional delegation, 7th District Congressman Kweisi Mfume. Rep. Mfume, who previously served five terms representing the 7th District from 1987-1996, before stepping down to head the NAACP until 2004, recently won back his old House seat in the April 28 special election held to fill the remaining term of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Now, Rep. Mfume hopes to keep the seat for the next full term, and is campaigning for the Democratic primary election June 2 against a strong field.  He joins Tom on the line from his home in Baltimore to discuss the campaign, and some of the urgent issues now before the House. 

T.J. Smith, Democrat For Baltimore Mayor

May 19, 2020
TJSmithforbaltimore.com

Former Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith is one of six Democrats who are considered leaders in the race for Baltimore mayor.

This is Mr. Smith’s first run for political office.  He is a former Anne Arundel County police lieutenant who joined the Baltimore Police Department in 2015, with the arrival of Commissioner Kevin Davis. Smith served as the BPD chief of communications until 2018. He then served as press secretary and communications adviser to Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr.

Note about a mayoral debate tonight: Baltimore mayoral candidates will share their perspectives on fair development, housing, transportation and zero waste in a free online forum tonight, Tues., May 19, from 6-8 pm, moderated by Baltimore Sun reporter Jean Marbella.

Confirmed participants include T.J. Smith, Sheila Dixon, Mary Miller, Brandon Scott and Thiru Vignarajah.  Watch this free event at:  Bit.ly/fairdevelopmentforum or by phone at 415-655-0001. The event access code is 472 484 895 and the password is 2020.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is a public policy consultant who holds a doctorate in political science.  She’s the former head of the Maryland Democratic Party and she worked for several years on Capitol Hill.  For a brief period, she was a candidate in the 2018 Maryland gubernatorial race.  She left that race when her husband encountered some serious health problems.  

Dr. Cummings placed 2nd behind Mr. Mfume in February, losing that primary by more than 25 points.  The field of candidates in that race numbered two dozen.  In this primary, that field has been whittled only slightly, to 19 candidates, all of whom also ran the last time.   

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is 49 years old.  She lives in Baltimore’s Madison Park neighborhood, on the west side.

The primary in two weeks will decide who the Democratic nominee is in the November election, for the term that begins in January, 2021. 

Sen. Jill P. Carter, Candidate For Congress

May 18, 2020
Courtesy of jillcarterforcongress.com

Maryland Senator Jill P. Carter is Tom’s guest. She is running for the 7th District Congressional seat that until last fall was held by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. It’s now held by Kweisi Mfume, who won the Special Election last month to finish Mr. Cummings’ term.

Sen. Carter is one of the 19 Democrats running in the upcoming primary for a full term as a member of Congress from MD-7. After 14 years in Maryland’s House of Delegates, Sen. Carter has represented the 41st District in the Senate for the last two years. Sen. Carter is the daughter of the late Baltimore civil rights activist, Walter P. Carter. A lawyer, she’s 55 and lives in Hunting Ridge, in Southwest Baltimore. 

A reminder that Maryland’s primary election is being conducted mostly by mail. Ballots were mailed later than originally promised, but we are told to expect them in our mailboxes this week. If you are a registered voter and do not receive your ballot this week, please contact the Board of Elections to make sure they have your correct address. And if you’re not registered, there’s still time. The deadline for registering to vote is May 27.

Courtesy of Miller for Mayor

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  Tom's guest is Mary Miller, one six Democrats considered leaders in the race for mayor. 

This is Ms. Miller’s first run for political office. After a long career at T Rowe Price, she was appointed by President Obama to top jobs at the Treasury Department. She was the first woman to serve as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance.   For the last few years, she has been a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University 21st Century Cities Initiative. 

A reminder that the primary is being conducted primarily by mail. If you are a registered voter, you should be receiving your ballot soon. Remember that the ballot has to be signed and postmarked by June 2. If you are not yet registered to vote, there’s still time. The deadline to register is May 27. For more information about how to register to vote, click here.

Brandon Scott for Mayor

  Brandon Scott was elected President of the City Council by his fellow members about a year ago, when then Council President Jack Young became Mayor after Catherine Pugh’s fall from grace. 

Mr. Scott was first elected to the Council in 2011 to represent the 2nd District.  Prior to that, he worked in the office of then Council President Stephanie Rawlings Blake as her representative in Northeast Baltimore. 

In 2018, Jim Shea picked Mr. Scott as his running mate in their unsuccessful bid in the Democratic Gubernatorial primary. 

Brandon Scott is 36 years old, which is, BTW, about the same age that Martin O’Malley was when he was elected Mayor, Johnny Olszewski, Jr., the Baltimore County Executive, and Pete Buttigieg, the former Mayor of South Bend Indiana, who ran for President.  

This year's primary election will be conducted almost entirely by mail. Voters should receive a ballot soon. The ballot is marked April 28th, but you’ll find instructions that remind you that the April primary has been moved to June. You must mail your ballot back to the Board of Elections, postmarked no later than June 2.

Courtesy of Sheila Dixon

Tom's guest is former Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon, who is in a crowded field of Democrats running for the office she held from 2007 to 2010.

Ms. Dixon represented the 4th District on the City Council for 12 years in the late '80s and '90s. She served as president of the City Council from 1999 until January 2007, when she became mayor after Martin O’Malley became governor.  Ms. Dixon was elected to her own term later that year.  In 2010, she resigned following a conviction for embezzlement and an Alford plea in a separate case in which she was charged with perjury.  She ran for mayor again in 2016.  She narrowly lost the Democratic primary to Catherine Pugh, and she garnered more than 51,000 votes in the general election as a write-in candidate.

This year's primary election will be conducted almost entirely by mail. Voters should receive a ballot soon. The ballot is marked April 28th, but you’ll find instructions that remind you that the April primary has been moved to June. You must mail your ballot back to the Board of Elections, postmarked no later than June 2.

Office of the Mayor

It's another edition of our series of Conversations with the Candidates, and Tom's guest today is the Mayor of Baltimore, Bernard C. "Jack" Young, a veteran city lawmaker and former City Council President who stepped into the mayor’s job about a year ago when Catherine Pugh resigned.

Mayor Young has spent years in city government, and the year he has spent as Baltimore's mayor has been eventful, to say the least.  It began with a crippling ransomware attack on the city’s computer system and now, of course, the city is dealing with an unprecedented global pandemic.  More than 2,800 city residents have been infected with the coronavirus.  Nearly 150 Baltimoreans have died from COVID-19.  And, the longstanding problem of violence on city streets remains.  More than 92 people have been victims of homicide so far this year.

Alcantar214/Flickr Creative Commons

Here's an important update about the April 28 election to choose a successor to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District:

The State Board of Elections has decided there will be three in-person polling centers for people who are not able to vote by mail. 

DanSparaco.com

Now, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates. Tom's guest is Dan Sparaco, an attorney in private practice and a candidate who's running in the June 2 primary election for Baltimore City Council President.

He is one of eight candidates -- seven Democrats and one Republican -- in the race.  He is running on a platform of political reform and a fundamental restructuring of the City Council.

Mr. Sparaco is a native New Yorker who earned his law degree at the University of Pennsylvania and worked for several years as an attorney with The Legal Aid Society in New York.  He moved to Baltimore in 2010 to work in Baltimore’s Legal Department.  In 2013, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Mayor for Operations under Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Dan Sparaco is 44 years old. He lives in Greenmount West, and he joins Tom on the line from his home office.

Listeners with questions or comments are invited to call, email or tweet during the live broadcast. 

carlstokesforbaltimore.com

Our series of Conversations with the Candidates continues today with Carl Stokes, one of seven Democratic candidates vying to be the next Baltimore City Council President.  The current Council President, Brandon Scott, is running for Mayor, so there is no incumbent in the race.  Carl Stokes is a familiar figure to folks who have been around a while.  He served on the Baltimore City Council in the mid 1980s, and again from 2010-2016.

This is not Mr. Stokes’ first try at city-wide office.  In 1999, he ran for mayor, losing that primary to Martin O’Malley.  He ran for mayor again in 2016.  He has had professional experience in the retail clothing business, the health care industry, and as an education administrator.  He is a founder of two public charter schools in Baltimore: the Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy, and the Banneker-Blake Academy for Arts and Science.  The Banneker-Blake School was closed by the Baltimore City School Board last year.

Carl Stokes is a graduate of Loyola High School.  He attended Loyola University for two years.  He is 69 years old, and the father of two grown children.  He joins Tom on the line from his home in Greater Greenmount.

Listener comments and questions were welcomed.

Courtesy of nickjmosby.com

Coronavirus has altered the election calendar for many states, including Maryland. The Primary Election for president and local offices has been postponed from April 28th to June 2nd. 

There still is an election on April 28th, to choose a successor to Elijah Cummings in the 7th Congressional District.  That election will be mail-in only.  The State Board of Elections will be mailing ballots to 7th District voters soon.  Be sure to check the Board of Elections website to make sure your address is correct. 

Today, Del. Nick Mosby is Tom's guest, as we continue with our Conversations with the Candidates series.  Mosby is a Democrat.  He has represented Baltimore in Maryland’s House of Delegates since 2017.  Before that, Mosby was a member of the Baltimore City Council for five years, representing Central West Baltimore.  Now, he’s running in the June primary against several other candidates for president of the Baltimore City Council.  

Before he entered politics, Mosby was a manager at Verizon Communications and Baltimore Gas and Electric.  He’s a Baltimore native and a Poly grad.  He holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Tuskegee University and a master’s degrees in telecommunications management from Stevens Institute of Technology.  He is 41 years old. He and his wife, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, live with their two children in Reservoir Hill.  He joins us on the phone from his home.   

Today, we continue our Conversations with the Candidates series with the two candidates who are running for Baltimore City comptroller, which is one of only three positions elected citywide. 

Joan M. Pratt has served as Baltimore City’s comptroller since 1995. Ms. Pratt is a Certified Public Accountant.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Hampton Institute in Virginia, and a Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Baltimore.  Comptroller Pratt began her career at the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. She also served as Comptroller of the Baltimore Legal Aid Bureau. She is 68 years old and she lives in Homeland.

Bill Henry has represented District 4, in North Baltimore, on the Baltimore City Council since 2007.  Mr. Henry serves on the Council’s Biennial Audits Oversight Commission and the Budget & Appropriations Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Public Policy from Johns Hopkins, and an MBA from Loyola University Maryland. He is 51 years old. He and his wife and their two daughters live in Radnor-Winston.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch the video. 

Courtesy of Mary Washington for Mayor 2020

State Senator Mary Washington joins Tom to discuss her campaign for Mayor of Baltimore.  After two terms in the House of Delegates, Dr. Washington was elected to the Senate in 2018, besting her former district colleague and longtime incumbent, Joan Carter Conway, by 492 votes. 

She is one of the most progressive legislators in the General Assembly.  One of her signature legislative victories came last spring when the House and Senate unanimously passed the Water Taxpayer Protection Act, prohibiting tax sales of homes or churches whose water bills are in arears. 

Sen. Washington holds an undergraduate degree from Antioch University, and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins University. 

She was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2010. She repreented the 43rd district in Baltimore City for two terms, before her election to the Senate. 

Photo by Ayyub Hanif / FourSight Studios

Today, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates running in the 2020 elections for offices to lead Baltimore, the region and the nation.

This week, we've turned our attention to the race for Baltimore City's second-most-powerful post, after the mayor --  the office of City Council President. It's a job being sought by eight contenders — seven Democrats and one Republican.  One of those Democrats is Councilman Leon Pinkett, who was elected in 2016 to represent Baltimore’s 7th Councilmanic District in West Baltimore.

Leon F. Pinkett III was born and raised in Baltimore. He earned a degree in economics from Guilford College in North Carolina.  He was the senior economic development officer at the Baltimore Development Corporation, or BDC,  for nine years. He later joined Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s administration as Assistant Deputy Mayor in the Office of Economic and Neighborhood Development.

On the City Council, Pinkett serves as the vice chair of both the Budget & Appropriations Committee, and the Transportation Committee. 

Councilman Pinkett is 52 years old. He and his wife, Marika, have two teenaged children and they are long-time residents of the Reservoir Hill community. 

We welcome audience comments and questions for the candidate.

This conversation is being live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook page.  You can watch the video here.

We apologize for the brief microphone problem at the beginning of today's interview.

Courtesy of Shannon Sneed

Councilwoman Shannon Sneed was elected in 2016 to represent Baltimore’s 13th Councilmanic District, where she’s lived since 2008. She is a Democrat and one of 8 candidates running for Baltimore City Council President.

Ms. Sneed holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a Master’s Degree in Communications Management from Morgan State University. 

Before she became involved in local government, Sneed worked in local journalism as a producer and editor for Fox45 and WJZ Channel 13.

This conversation was live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook page.  You can watch the video here.

Mary Miller: Democratic Candidate For Baltimore Mayor

Jan 28, 2020
Courtesy of Mary Miller for Mayor Campaign

Mary Miller is Tom’s guest today, as our Conversations With The Candidates series continues. She is one of 24 Democratic candidates running for Baltimore mayor.

This is Ms. Miller’s first run for political office, but she is not new to government. In 2009, as the country plunged into recession, Ms. Miller was appointed by President Obama to top jobs at the Treasury Department. After holding several senior leadership positions, she left the Treasury in 2014 as the first woman to serve as the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance.

Before that, she had a long career at T. Rowe Price, here in Baltimore, where she ran the bond division.

For the last few years, she has been a Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University where she has worked with the Hopkins 21st Century Cities Initiative.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch the video. 

Photo Courtesy/ Catalina Byrd for Mayor of Baltimore

  Catalina Byrd was born and raised in Sandtown-Winchester on Baltimore’s West Side.  

Ms. Byrd is a political strategist, community activist, and media personality.  In 2017 she was appointed by former mayor Catherine Pugh to serve on the Community Oversight Task Force.  She currently serves as the Chair of the Domestic Violence Committee of the Women’s Commission of Baltimore City

Ms. Byrd mounted unsuccessful campaigns for Judge of the Orphan’s Court and Mayor in 2010 and 2011.  As an unaffiliated candidate, she was unable to procure enough signatures to get on the ballot in both races. 

There are 92 days until the primary elections for Mayor on April 28th.  If you aren’t registered to vote,  you can register on the Baltimore City Board of Elections website.  The deadline to register is April 7th.  

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page.  Click here to watch.

Photo Courtesy/ Wright 4 Mayor

Pastor Shannon Wright was born in New York.  She is a former Vice President of the Yonkers NAACP; and also served on the New Jersey NAACP state board of directors. 

Ms. Wright relocated to Baltimore in 2013.  In 2016 she was the Republican nominee in the race for City Council President.  She lost in the general election to now incumbent Mayor “Jack” Young.   

There are 92 days until the primary elections for Mayor on April 28th. If you aren't registered to vote, you can register on the Baltimore City Board of Elections website.  The deadline to register is April 7th.  

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page.  Click here to watch. 

T.J. Smith: Democratic Candidate For Baltimore Mayor

Jan 24, 2020
Courtesy of T.J. Smith for Mayor Campaign

T.J. Smith, the former Baltimore Police Department spokesman, is Tom’s guest today -- part of our Conversations With the Candidates series.  He is one of 19 announced Democratic candidates running for Baltimore mayor.

Mr. Smith joined the police department with the arrival of Commissioner Kevin Davis and served as the chief of communications from 2015 until 2018. After leaving the Police Department, Mr. Smith served as Press Secretary and Communications Advisor to Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr.

Mr. Smith lives in Northwest Baltimore. He grew up in the Dolfield neighborhood, and attended Poly High School before graduating from Woodlawn.

He holds two master’s degrees — one in Strategic Communication from Washington State University and another in Management and Leadership from Johns Hopkins University, where he also earned his undergraduate degree.

He is 42 years old and the father of a young son. If elected Mayor, Mr. Smith says that he will change what he calls the culture of gun violence in our city — with a crime plan that he says will make a difference on Day One.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch.  

Courtesy of the Spikes for Congress Campaign

Harry Spikes was an aide to Rep. Elijah Cummings for 15 years, serving most recently as district director.  He is also the vice president of the board of directors of the Community Assistance Network, a non-profit organization in Baltimore County that helps individuals and families who are homeless.

In 2014, Mr. Spikes ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. He is 37 years old. He lives in Oliver, on the east side of Baltimore. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Morgan State University and a Masters of Public Administration in Public Policy from the University of Baltimore.

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page. Click here to watch.

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