After the resignation of Martin O’Malley to assume the office of Governor of Maryland, Sheila Dixon, President of the Baltimore City Council, assumed the office of Mayor according to statute. She becomes Baltimore’s first female Mayor. In her Inaugural Address, Mayor Dixon alluded to the contracting scandal investigation surrounding her and defined herself to the people of Baltimore, “… after nearly 20 years of public service, with some successes and some failures, I want you to know that I am much more than a newspaper headline or a sound bite on the evening news.
I am a former teacher. I am former international trade specialist. I am a proud parent. I am a working mother. I am an advocate for families and neighborhoods. I am a dedicated public servant. I will be a mayor who solves problems. A mayor you can believe in. A mayor you can be proud of.”
She begins her tenure as Mayor with 9 months in which to make a definitive mark before she faces the electorate for a term in her own right. She faces formidible rivals in Comptroller Joan Pratt, Delegate Jill Carter, Baltimore Clerk Frank Conaway, Sr. and Mitchell dynasty scion, Concilman Keiffer Mitchell, Jr. Kweisi Mfume’s name has been bandied about, but having worked for his Council Campaigns and his campaign for Congress twenty years ago, he will not run against her. He owes her too much.
I believe that she will ultimately dodge the ethical bullet of the contracting investigation, but will continue to take a hit politically as a result of the unfavorable scrutiny. The last Council President in her position failed to gain the confidence of the electorate and it ushered in the election of Martin O’Malley. This time will be different. She has picked a solid group of Department heads to help her guide the city in the interim. At this stage of the game, I believe that she can win election in her own right, but time will tell.