Baltimore City Council President Sheila Dixon is set to become Baltimore’s first female Mayor after Mayor Martin O’Malley assumes the office of Governor. Embroiled in a nepotism, contract fraud investigation and scandal, her political position has been weakened. She seems to have the support of the incoming Governor and political heavyweights like Kweisi Mfume who has said “I don’t have any plans to run for Mayor. [Dixon]’s worked for and deserves an opportunity to lead…I want her to succeed. I want the city to be united. I think at this point we owe her at least the opportunity to try to lead it.” City Comptroller Joan Pratt and Delegate Jill Carter, a critic of Martin O’Malley and the Baltimore Police also announced candidacies.
It is clear that she will not have a free ride and that she must demonstrate decisiveness and fundraising prowess in order to win. Even after the supportive comments made by Kweisi Mfume, he moved subsequently to form a committee to raise funds for a local campaign. Mrs. Dixon faces a formidible set of obstacles: drugs, gangs, violence, and black-on-black crime. The next Mayor elected must put forward an aggressive and progressive agenda for change that will amelorate these systemic ills.