Banner political notes: Water tests; Schifanelli meets future voters

Published 9/10/2022 6:00 a.m. EDT

Maryland, Baltimore City, Baltimore County politics
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Baltimore’s water contamination crisis this week offered an unusual glimpse, mid-campaign, to see how two candidates would respond to a public safety situation they might face as governor.

Democrat Wes Moore was first to react, issuing a statement Tuesday evening that supported Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and acknowledged “the importance of partnership between Baltimore City and the state in responding to crises like this one.”

Maryland Candidate for Governor Wes Moore stops in West Baltimore to distribute water to the communities affected by the E.coli scare. He was assisted by Baltimore Home Depot store #5829.

Scott and city leaders have drawn criticism for perceived delays in warning residents about the contaminated water. Scott has said that the city sounded the alarm as quickly as they could after city and state officials confirmed water samples tested positive for E. coli bacteria.

And Moore followed up quickly with another statement roughly two-and-a-half hours later that took a different tone, this time calling the contaminated water in West Baltimore neighborhoods “unacceptable.”

“For too long, people in our state continue to get left behind. And that fact becomes painfully clear to us when our fellow Marylanders cannot even access basic necessities,” Moore’s campaign wrote.

Republican Dan Cox weighed in Wednesday evening, calling the crisis “unconscionable” and urging “the Mayor and elected officials here to ensure systemic correction occurs to end the problem at its cause.”

Like Moore, Cox’s initial response was short on suggestions about what to do about the problem.

On Thursday, both men lent a hand to the effort, handing out water in the West Baltimore neighborhoods that were still under a boil-water advisory.

Maryland Candidate for Governor Dan Cox stops in West Baltimore to distribute water to the communities affected by the E.coli scare. He was assisted by Maryland House of Delegrates candidate Zuleika Baysmore, District 40.

Moore wore an orange Home Depot apron as he toted shrink-wrapped cases of water supplied by the home improvement company.

Cox joined up with faith leaders at two churches as they handed out water.

A Baltimore Banner journalist noted the Cox campaign was collecting names and emails or phone numbers from people picking up water.

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Schifanelli attended youth voting event

Gordana Schifanelli — Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, and Cox’s running mate — attended a youth voting event Thursday intended to educate soon-to-be voters and dispel “common voting myths.”

The third annual Youth Congress Day, facilitated by the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, took place at Goucher College in Towson and focused on the importance of voting and legislative advocacy.

“We understand that civil engagement is the cornerstone of our democracy,” said Natalie Williams, senior director of communications and public affairs for the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education. Williams ran for lieutenant governor in July’s Democratic primary as Jon Baron’s running mate.

The MBRT, a nonprofit coalition of employers across the state supporting education reform, reaches thousands of the state’s high school students with programs intended to prepare them for their next steps, whether they choose a college track or a skilled technical profession, such as carpentry, Williams said.

Cox and Moore were also invited but did not attend.

“We always invite elected officials,” Williams said. In years past, students have had the chance to meet the state delegates that represent their districts.

Williams said the candidates were invited to listen to “hopefully walk away with a better understanding of how young people feel about issues that are affecting them.”

Schifanelli was the only politician in attendance this year and spent about three hours there, according to an event spokesperson. The lawyer and U.S. Naval Academy adjunct professor has repeatedly disputed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, has called for Gov. Larry Hogan to be removed from the Republican Party and has tweeted a QAnon-related hashtag.

Schifanelli posted photos on her Twitter account of herself with students.

“No idea is too silly, no goal is too big and we can achieve anything we set our hearts and minds to do,” she wrote, “because we live in the greatest country on Earth where ideas, hard work and perseverance still unite us!”

The students also split up into breakout rooms to discuss assigned topics: the representation of women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and math, changing the voting age to 16, mental health, and the cost of and access to higher education.

About 100 students from counties across the state were expected to attend. Those at least 16 years old were given the chance to register to vote.

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