Catherine Pugh has been endorsed by the Baltimore Sun for mayor.
A year after Freddie Gray’s death, Baltimoreans are eager for change. From the smallest neighborhood groups to the city’s biggest institutions, people are clamoring for ways to address problems we have ignored for too long but which came painfully to the surface during last April’s protests and unrest. What they need is a proven leader who can unite the city and channel that energy into a vision for a better Baltimore. That leader is Catherine Pugh.
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Ms. Pugh has been an extremely active legislator, serving as the primary sponsor of dozens of bills a year covering a broad range of issues. Some of them are technical — a reflection of her seat on the Finance Committee — but many have had a direct impact on Baltimore. She has focused on bills related to ex-offenders, including legislation to help them get jobs and start businesses; insurance issues, including legislation allowing customers of the state’s auto insurer of last resort to accept installment payments — a major victory for the working poor; educational issues, such as increasing the drop-out age; consumer protections; health insurance policy; and reforms to the state’s minority business enterprise program. She was the lead sponsor of Maryland’s law requiring that inmates in state prisons be counted for redistricting purposes in the communities they came from — a major boost for Baltimore’s clout in Annapolis and the first law of its kind in the nation. And she spearheaded legislation generally prohibiting employers from using applicants’ credit reports in hiring decisions.
Education is at the center of Ms. Pugh’s platform for mayor. She wants greater mayoral control over the school system (legislation she sponsored to achieve that failed this year but would likely fare better if she, as mayor, pushed for it), and she wants to get the community more directly involved in providing support and services for students. She worked on police reform commissions at both the state and federal levels and has a strong understanding of the steps needed to repair the relationship between Baltimore’s officers and the community. She proposes strategies for the city to connect employers with job seekers in Baltimore’s most impoverished neighborhoods, and she understands the need for city government to operate more efficiently and with less bureaucracy. Perhaps most importantly, she has the skills to rally a broad coalition around her goals — from the neighborhoods, City Hall, the State House and Washington.