Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake (born March 17, 1970) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 49th Mayor of Baltimore from 2010 to 2016, the second woman to hold that office. She has also served as secretary of the Democratic National Committee and president of the United States Conference of Mayors.
|Secretary of the Democratic National Committee|
January 22, 2013 – February 25, 2017
|Preceded by||Alice Germond|
|Succeeded by||Jason Rae|
|73rd President of the United States Conference of Mayors|
|Preceded by||Kevin Johnson|
|Succeeded by||Mick Cornett|
|49th Mayor of Baltimore|
February 4, 2010 – December 6, 2016
|Preceded by||Sheila Dixon|
|Succeeded by||Catherine Pugh|
|President of the Baltimore City Council|
January 17, 2007 – February 4, 2010
|Preceded by||Sheila Dixon|
|Succeeded by||Bernard Young|
|Born||March 17, 1970|
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Relations||Pete Rawlings (Father)|
|Education||Oberlin College (BA)|
University of Maryland, Baltimore (JD)
Early life and familyEdit
Born Stephanie Rawlings on March 17, 1970, in Baltimore City, Maryland to Nina and Pete Rawlings, Rawlings-Blake grew up in the city's Ashburton neighborhood. Her mother is a retired pediatrician and her father is a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, where he represented the 40th district, Baltimore City. Her brother is Wendell Rawlings.
Rawlings-Blake currently lives in Baltimore .
In October 2000 she married Kent Blake. They have a daughter, Sophia (born 2004). In May 2018 Rawlings-Blake filed for divorce.
Rawlings-Blake attended Oberlin College in Ohio, graduating in 1992 with a B.A. in political science. She later returned to Baltimore to attend the University of Maryland School of Law, where she earned her Juris Doctor degree in 1995. She was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1996 and to the federal bar in 1997.
Rawlings-Blake is an alumna of the Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound Center and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Epsilon Omega chapter. She is a former at-large member of the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys.
In 1997 Rawlings-Blake began serving as an administrative law attorney with the Baltimore City office of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, which offers free civil legal services to Maryland's low-income residents. She went on to serve as a staff attorney with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender in its Southern District (District 1, Baltimore City) from 1998 to 2006.
Baltimore City CouncilEdit
In 1995, Rawlings-Blake became the youngest person ever elected to the Baltimore City Council. She represented the council's District 5 from 1995 to 2004 and District 6 from 2004 to 2007 (following a redistricting of the council).
From 1999 to 2007, Rawlings-Blake served as vice president of the Baltimore City Council.
City council presidentEdit
Rawlings-Blake became President of the Council on January 17, 2007, when then-City Council President Sheila Dixon became mayor. The Charter of Baltimore City states that, "If it becomes necessary for the president of the City Council to fill the unexpired term of the mayor…the City Council, by a majority vote of its members, shall elect a new president for the unexpired term."
On June 14, 2007, Rawlings-Blake announced that she would seek a full four-year term as council president. Her platform included improving education and reducing crime in the city. Rawlings-Blake won the Democratic primary with 49 percent of the vote. In the general election, Rawlings-Blake defeated her only opponent with 82 percent of the vote.
Mayor of BaltimoreEdit
On January 6, 2010, then-Mayor Sheila Dixon announced, following her conviction for embezzlement, that she would resign from office, effective February 4, 2010. Under the Baltimore City charter, whenever the mayor's office becomes vacant, the sitting city council president automatically ascends to the mayor's post for the balance of the term. Consequently, following Dixon's resignation on February 4, 2010, Rawlings-Blake became mayor of Baltimore City.
Rawlings-Blake went on to seek a full term as mayor in the 2011 mayoral election. In the 2011 Democratic primary, she won 52% of the vote. She then won the general election in November 2011, receiving 84% of the vote. In her February 2012 State of the City address, she stated that her goal as mayor is to grow Baltimore by 10,000 families.
In September 2015, Rawlings-Blake announced that she would not seek re-election in the 2016 mayoral election, stating, "It was a very difficult decision, but I knew I needed to spend time focused on the city's future, not my own".
2015 Baltimore riotsEdit
Rawlings-Blake received criticism due to her handling of the 2015 Baltimore riots that were prompted by the death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015. Several days of peaceful protests escalated into violence in the late afternoon of April 25, 2015. After about three hours of violence, looting, and destruction of property throughout the city, Rawlings-Blake requested the Maryland National Guard. Two days later, on April 27, as unrest continued, she requested that the governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, declare a state of emergency, and on April 28, she asked for further assistance from the National Guard. Rawlings-Blake was criticized for waiting too long before asking the state for help. Hogan claimed that she did not return his repeated phone calls for two hours after the riots started on April 25 and that he could not enact a state of emergency or deploy the National Guard without a formal request from the mayor. On April 28, Hogan said he didn't want to "second-guess the mayor's decision" and that he knew "she was doing the best that she could".
In a press conference addressing the riots, Rawlings-Blake stated, "It’s a very delicate balancing act. Because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate". The phrase "we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well" was interpreted by some conservative-leaning news sources as an indication that the mayor was giving permission to protestors to destroy property. Left-wing outlets disagreed with that interpretation, while others stated she was treading a fine line and under fire.
Rawlings-Blake clarified her remarks in a Facebook post, writing, "I did not instruct police to give space to protesters who were seeking to create violence or destruction of property. Taken in context, I explained that, in giving peaceful demonstrators room to share their message, unfortunately, those who were seeking to incite violence also had space to operate".
During a subsequent press conference, Rawlings-Blake said, "Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs who, in a very senseless way, are trying to tear down what so many have fought for", which led to even more criticism from people who felt her use of the term "thugs" was racially charged, such as Baltimore City Council member Carl Stokes, who compared her use of the word "thug" to the "n-word". Rawlings-Blake apologized two days later on Twitter.
Secretary of the Democratic National CommitteeEdit
Rawlings-Blake was appointed secretary of the Democratic National Committee in January 2013, serving under Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Rawlings-Blake gaveled in the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where she served as one of 23 superdelegates from Maryland; Rawlings-Blake did not endorse any candidate at the convention.
Political positions and policiesEdit
On February 6, 2013, Baltimore City released a 10-year fiscal forecast, which the City had commissioned from independent financial consulting firm Public Financial Management, Inc. (PFM) at Rawlings-Blake's direction. The report outlined a number of fiscal obstacles facing the City in subsequent years.
To address the challenges outlined in the fiscal forecast, Rawlings-Blake presented Change to Grow: A Ten-Year Financial Plan for Baltimore, the City’s first long-range financial plan. Among other major reforms, the plan outlined proposed changes to Baltimore City’s employee pensions and benefits system, City tax structure, and overall municipal operations. By implementing elements of this plan, Baltimore City has been able to extinguish $300 million from a cumulative budgetary shortfall forecasted at approximately $750 million.
At the time Rawlings-Blake took office, Baltimore City had approximately 16,000 vacant buildings, resulting from a half-century of population decline. In November 2010, in an effort to reduce urban blight caused by vacant structures, Rawlings-Blake introduced the Vacants to Value (V2V) initiative. The initiative's strategies include streamlining code enforcement and disposition of City-owned vacant properties, offering incentives targeted at home buyers who purchase previously vacant homes, supporting large-scale redevelopment in deeply distressed areas, and targeting demolition to improve long-term property values.
In 2013, Baltimore Housing won the Urban Land Institute's Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Public Policy Awards for the V2V initiative. V2V has also been recognized by the Obama Administration, the Clinton Global Initiative, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, ABCD Network, and the Financial Times.
In 2015, Rawlings-Blake became the first mayor to appear in the musical Chicago, saying "I am honored to be the first mayor to appear in Chicago—one of the most historic shows in Broadway history—and I want to reassure the cast and crew that I am already hard at work rehearsing my lines. I always love to show off the 'razzle dazzle' of Baltimore's flourishing cultural scene, from expanding our Arts & Entertainment Districts, to growing Baltimore's downtown theater corridor and all that jazz. I cannot wait to make my big debut in an amazing show like Chicago." She appeared in a one night performance on March 4, 2015, as an ensemble performer throughout the night.
Awards and honorsEdit
Rawlings-Blake was named as a Shirley Chisholm Memorial Award Trailblazer by the National Congress of Black Women, Washington, DC Chapter (2009) and as an Innovator of the Year by the Maryland Daily Record (2010). In 2013, she was included in The Baltimore Sun's list of 50 Women to Watch.
She is a recipient of the Fullwood Foundation Award of Excellence (2010), the National Forum for Black Public Administrators' Distinguished Leadership Award (2012), the Maryland State Senate's First Citizen Award (2013), and the Baltimore Black Pride ICONS We Love Award (2013).
|Democratic||Seth A. Rosenberg||487||6%|
|Democratic||Vincent "Rick" Fullard||251||3%|
|Democratic||Kelley C. Brohawn||243||3%|
|Democratic||Kevin L. Williams||132||2%|
|Republican||Melvin A. Bilal||1,151||9%|
|Democratic||Kenneth Harris Sr.||9,927||12%|
|Democratic||Charles U. Smith||369||0%|
|Democratic||Otis Rolley III||9,415||13%|
|Democratic||Joseph T. Landers||5,089||7%|
|Democratic||Frank M. Conaway||2,095||3%|
|Democratic||Wilton Lloyd Wilson||235||0%|
|Republican||Alfred V. Griffin||6,108||13%|
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