In 2016 the voters of Baltimore City sent a powerful message to the old guard – they were no longer going to idly by and keep re-electing the status quo. Instead, many of them took a chance on voting to elect a new, younger generation of candidate for City Council, that promised to work hard, bring fresh ideas and to show why it was time for a generational change on the council level.
However, after only three years of elected service, it appears many of those freshman legislators feel that their role as one of fourteen council members isn’t meaningful enough, deciding instead to take on the task of running for higher office – or leaving City Hall altogether. It appears many of the eight new council members, almost all of whom are under the age forty, have realized that the role of councilman in a mayor-dominated system of government, having to answer to a power-hungry city council president, may not be the ideal job they had once imagined.
It’s been rumored that at least two freshman council members have considered walking away from local government altogether; stating to those close to them that the headaches they endure daily from the level of ass-kissing and politics they have to play in order to have a sliver of hope that they can get meaningful legislation passed is just not worth it. And then you have a handful of others who have realized that the real power lies within the two citywide positions of Mayor and City Council President; so they have decided to forego an easy bid at re-election in their own district to take on the monumental task of running a citywide race where their name recognition doesn’t exceed 10% of the total electorate.
So now it appears the once generational shift we witnessed happen three years ago may be wiped out after a single term, making next year’s election cycle more intriguing by those running at the top of the ballot rather than the bottom. The history made in 2016 may very well rise to the top, possibly enabling us to witness Baltimore voters elect its youngest ever mayor and council president duo. Or, it could show that change isn’t always better, and that while people felt it was time for new blood, if that blood is not circulated to the head of the body, we will remain with a stale body of legislators that rush to get nothing promising passed, frustrating them and the very voters who prayed for something different.
Following the announcement of the 35-year old City Council President, Brandon Scott, that he will be looking to become Baltimore’s next Mayor, followed by the surprise announcement of first-term councilman Leon Pinkett deciding to run for the council president seat Scott is vacating; the DMVDaily Show crew sat down to discuss what it all means for the voters of Baltimore in 2020.