© 2024 WYPR
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Sneed vows to champion transparency on Baltimore City Council

Early voting continues this week for Maryland’s May 14th primary election. Former Councilwoman Shannon Sneed, is once again vying for the second highest elected position in City Hall. Competing against Councilman Zeke Cohen and incumbent Nick Mosby, Sneed is in a tightly contested Democratic primary for Baltimore City Council President.

Her previous run for the same position garnered 29.4% of the vote, while Mosby won with 40% of the vote. With renewed vigor and determination, Sneed is once again throwing her hat into the ring. At a meet-and-greet in a stately colonial home in West Baltimore, neighbors gathered to hear her plans. Sneed laid out her vision for the city, where campaign signs dotted the front lawn.

“For me, it’s all about disrupting the city’s pay-to-play culture,” Sneed stated, referring to her advocacy for a $15 minimum wage and her commitment to campaign finance reform.

Sneed, 43 has chosen public financing, distinguishing herself as the only candidate in the city council president race to accept small donations, instead of traditional fundraising sources such as political action committees, unions and corporations.

“I'm just happy that I was able to make her-story, as I say, and it's been working,” said Sneed. "I've been in church where someone has given me $1. The max that anyone can give is $150. A business person can give, but they can't give from their business account, they can give from their personal account. And so that puts everybody on the same playing field.”

According to the latest campaign finance report, Sneed currently holds $177,000 in cash-on-hand, a testament to her grassroots support. In addition to fighting against the influence of money in politics, Sneed has a proven track record of advocating for transparency in city government. During her tenure on the city council, she spearheaded legislation requiring Baltimore’s police command to reside within city limits.

Sneed, who is the mother of a Baltimore City Public Schools student, aims to prioritize parental engagement and school attendance. More than half of Baltimore City students were chronically absent last school year, according to data from the state’s education department. She has pledged to boost parental involvement by 20% in her first year. “We want to make sure that our students get to school. We got to get our students to school,” she said.

Despite those ambitions, only the 12 members of the school board have the legal authority to direct the CEO. The mayor also has indirect authority as he or she appoints nine of the twelve school board commissioners.

Sneed contends that if she takes the helm of the City Council, it will be an accountable, and responsive legislative body.

“We want to make sure that our bills get heard when council members put up ideas. We want to make sure that we see the programs in Baltimore City, and we compare them from year-to-year to make sure they're working. It's the people's house, the people decide and since I'm someone who listens to the community, that's what I will do.”

Backing that claim is Senior White House Advisor, Tom Perez. Previously, he chaired the Democratic National Committee and served as Secretary of Labor under former President Barack Obama. In 2022, Perez handpicked Sneed to be his running mate as he ran unsuccessfully for governor. Joining her on the campaign trail, Perez expressed his support for Sneed. “She gets things done,” he said. “She listens, and she leads. That's what she'll do as your City Council President.”

If elected, Sneed would be the first woman to hold the City Council President seat in 13 years.

Wambui Kamau is a General Assignment Reporter for WYPR. @WkThee
Related Content