Changing Of The Guard In Baltimore?

While much of the focus has rightly gone to the presidential, senatorial and congressional races happening in Maryland this year, the biggest changes coming in 2016 may well be on the Baltimore scene. There’s an open seat race for mayor, several council members are running for mayor, some are retiring, and virtually every city council seat is being contested in the Democratic primary. The Sun has just posted a rundown of the contested races coming up this spring.

The Baltimore City Council - a body some hope will help bring change to a beleaguered city - is likely to experience significant turnover in next year’s election.

Already, four of the council’s 15 members have said they will not seek re-election, while several others are considering stepping down or face formidable challengers. The result could be a younger council that analysts say might feel an urgency to address the persistent problems, including Baltimore’s entrenched poverty, lead poisoning, housing segregation and drugs, which drew international attention after Freddie Gray’s death in police custody.
“We’re going to see the most turnover we’ve seen in years,” said Catalina Byrd, a Baltimore-based political consultant. “This is going to be a historic year for the council.”

There’s a host of interesting candidates running, but I want to exercise my personal prerogative to highlight the District 13 race. Shannon Sneed lost to incumbent Warren Branch in the primary in 2011 by 43 votes, then ran a spirited write in campaign in the general election and only lost by 225 votes. The Sun writes

Sneed, 35, a former broadcast journalist who works as a volunteer recruiter for a nonprofit, has been knocking on doors in the district and attending community events to spread the word about her campaign.

“My neighbors have my phone number. I will be present,” Sneed said. “We need a voice for people to advocate for us, for good jobs that have benefits and pensions.”

I’m hosting a fundraiser for her here at my house next Saturday, January 9. She’s the real deal. I’ll have more on the event this week, but if you’re looking to support a strong candidate who will be an advocate for change, Shannon Sneed is as good as it gets.
To my Baltimore readers: I need to know more about the goings on in your fair city. Shoot me an email and let me know the whispers and rumors.

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