Mayor Scott speaks future plans for Baltimore after midterm elections

After a historic election night, the Spokesman discussed marijuana legalization, term limits and HBCU funding with Baltimore mayor, Brandon Scott.

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The Spokesman sat down with Mayor Scott Wednesday to discuss key ballot issues.

Giodona Campbell, Contributing Writer

Maryland turned over into Democratic leadership Tuesday after newly elected governor, Wes Moore and lieutenant governor, Aruna Miller won by almost 61 percent.

The election solidified Moore into history as the first Black governor for the state and third for the nation. In addition to the governor-elect’s historic win, Maryland also elected its first Black attorney general and first female comptroller.

The nation also welcomed its first South Asian lieutenant governor.

For many the legalization of marijuana, term limits and funding for historically Black colleges and universities were key issues during midterms as well.

Following the election night, Mayor Brandon Scott reflected on his plans to work with  newly elected officials to improve the Baltimore community.

The Spokesman sat down with Mayor Scott Wednesday to discuss key ballot issues.

 

Q: How does it feel to see the amount of diversity on the Democratic team this year? 

A: It’s a big thing! We know that around the country, we have some not so great results, which many of it to be expected with some of the places that are unfortunate. But here in Maryland to see the historic election that we had right without first Black governor, first woman of color being lieutenant governor, first woman comptroller, first Black attorney general, those are huge deals. And it really showcases, again for me, how Maryland can really be the example for the rest of the country, where you have the diversity, where you have the diversity not just in people, but the diversity and thought, the ability of folks to disagree, but understand that we have to work towards a common goal. And that’s pushing our state forward for everyone. But to really see it come to fruition and to have my good friend, Wes Moore, be the next Governor of Maryland.

Q: Funding for HBCUs is still a very important and controversial issue. What strategies do you have to improve the conditions of those HBCUs and to provide essential access for the students?

A: Yeah, for me, it’s all about support, right, and making sure that I work with the governor, we know the state finally settled this lawsuit to work with Wes [Moore] and work with our presidents here, both at Morgan and Coppin, otherwise throughout the state, to make sure that HBCUs are getting there just due. Being the person that stands up with them going to Annapolis, fighting for equal funding, fighting for the specific classes and things that we know should be offered there. That’s what my job and my role is on that. 

Q: Recently, Maryland voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. How do you think this will impact the Baltimore economy and also security?

A: It should be a positive boost overall, but it has to be done the right way. Now, the devil is always in the details on how the state is gonna give out the licenses and these things because, in my humble opinion, the only way that this works, right, to undo all the unjust stuff was done in the past, right? That we have to make sure that those individuals that live in Baltimore, like the folks that I grew up with, other folks who got caught up in the system, that they now get to benefit from the licensing and the production of a business that they’ve been in for a long time. Right. So making sure that a significant portion of them goes to folks who previously were arrested or for distributing and manufacturing to distribute marijuana so that the equity piece is tied into it. And then on the safety piece, listen, people don’t believe this, but so many people in Baltimore guy or shot over weed, right? And when you think about the danger in the element, that if I’m going to buy something in the store, there’s inherent safety that comes with that. But if I’m going to a specific corner, or alley or something like that, it creates this environment where you just don’t know. And I think we have to think about it in that way too. And using those tax dollars to benefit those neighborhoods that have been disenfranchised, they were overly impacted by the failed war on drugs to build schools and all these other things is the best thing to do.

Q: Marylanders voted in favor of question K [for term limits]. How does the charter amendment affect city government?

A: I think when you think about question K, I voted for term limits twice when I was on the city council, those bills failed. I’m supportive of term limits. I think the danger in what happened here is more about how it got there, right, you essentially have Sinclair Broadcasting, which the owner of the station said that his stations or the mouthpiece of Donald Trump, literally make the issue. They started by asking me about term limits, and recall vote, no other station was doing that, and no other media outlet was doing that. And they built that up asking me consistently weeks after I took office, then he in turn funded the ballot initiative. That’s a dangerous thing, especially dangerous when you’re talking about someone who’s aligned with Donald Trump, who got in trouble for trying to synchronize a pro Trump message through all their stations. And clearly, that station has a big, big issue with race in the city. And all of these things is really about, for me, less about the term limits, right? It is going to be probably come to a financial cost to the residents. Because right now, our elected officials have to do three terms, twelve years in order to collect the pension, when you move that the term limits to eight, in order to actually be legal, you’re gonna have to move the pension portion as well. So there probably be legislation to move that to eight, it’s a lot easier to get elected to two terms in the three. So long term fiscally, it might be something that’s going to impact the residents of Baltimore, but it’s also about outside influence. Folks who don’t live here, folks who own media stations are not supposed to impact elections in that way. They’re supposed to be unbiased. 

 

Osaretin Iyare was a contributor to this article