I must admit that I do have a thing for female politicians. The ones I have personally encountered along my life’s journey have been smart, principled, disciplined, and full of integrity. Sheila Dixon, the more research I do, is shaping up in my mind to be the same kind of savvy and attractive candidate that I love to support.
Mayor Dixon has put together an outstanding Administrative team to run the city in the interim period before this year’s Mayoral election. Her chief of Staff, Deputy Mayor’s and Department heads are all outstanding and well credentialed. Experience, especially Ms. Dixon’s counts for something and will stand the city in good stead going forward. Her opponents all have the burden of proving that her stewardship lacks vision, competence, and integrity. They will all have a hard time proving that because all of those adjectives are synonymous with Sheila Dixon’s twenty-year track record.
Sistah Dixon has been in the trenches for a long time and cut her teeth early on in Kweisi Mfume’s campaigns in Baltimore. There is no better credential or proof of sterling character or principled advocacy than that. In this Skeptical Brotha’s eyes, people like Sheila and Kweisi keep me from completely giving up on the political thang.
That being said, the Mayor faces more than one serious opponent in her quest for a term in her own right. Keiffer Mitchell, Jr. brings a fresh, youthful perspective and Adrian Fenty like air to this campaign and is very much a young man in a hurry. Moreover, like Sheila Dixon, he is a serious, disciplined, and knowledgeable public servant. A workhorse, not a showhorse, Mitchell demonstated his skills in sheparding through a $42 million dollar bailout of Baltimore’s public school system.
He’s got some serious firepower lined up to craft his media message and perform his polling. His effort will be serious and well funded. His message whatever it is, must make a persuasive case why Sheila Dixon shouldn’t be given a chance to run the city.
Delegate Jill Carter is also a serious candidate and smart public servant that will also have to raise enough cash to craft a similarly persuasive message. He past efforts in examining police practices and highlighting serious defiencies in the O’Malley Administration is her the strongest credential. Mayor Dixon would do well to address these substantive concerns in depth and immediately.
Last, but not least, is Comptroller Joan Pratt. Ms. Pratt is a very serious contender having held citywide office longer than Sheila Dixon. Her opposition to the city’s bailout of Baltimore schools raised some vaild financial concerns that need to be addressed. However, with the defeat of Andrey Bundley and the re-election of O’Malley as Mayor in 2003-2004 and his allies, I think there is a consensus that O’Malley’s stewardship was acceptable. Ms. Dixon, as an ally of O’Malley, still is in the drivers seat for this race. Pratt will have to a make the case that she, as an O’Malley critic can lead the city in a more progressive direction.
Sheila Dixon has shown the ability to win against female opposition before in defeating Councilwoman Pugh and a former council president to be re-elected Council President. She has already signaled that her Administration will attempt to build on the successess of her predecessor and that has been proven to be a sucessful formula in the past, and probably will be again. The chances of replicating the defeats of former Council Presidents Clarence Burns, Lawrence Bell, and Mary Pat Clarke is not as high for Sheila Dixon as some have surmised.
My opinion is as clear as the title of this post, I think Baltimoreans should give a sistah a chance and elect her to a term in her own right. Her years of service and her careful selection of stellar senior city executives to lead the city indicate that the sistah has earned the job.