The leading Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate are ramping up their campaigns as 2024 approaches. Here’s a look at their latest moves:
Angela Alsobrooks, currently the Prince George’s County executive, hit 100 political endorsers this week with the addition of U.S. Rep. Glenn Ivey.
“Angela is a fighter and I have watched her work hard on behalf of Prince Georgians and Marylanders as State’s Attorney and as Executive, advocating for resources for the community and the new FBI Headquarters to locate in Maryland,” Ivey said in a statement put out by the Alsobrooks campaign.
Her list of Congressional endorsers from Maryland now numbers four, along with U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer and U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume.
Alsobrooks also picked up an endorsement this week from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s Action Fund.
Will Jawando, meanwhile, is jumping on a report about Alsobrooks’ crime record as he works to position himself as the most progressive candidate in the Democratic primary.
The website The Intercept picked apart Alsbrooks’ past actions and statements when she was state’s attorney for Prince George’s earlier in her career. The Intercept described Alsobrooks as a past proponent of “tough on crime” policies who is now “refashioning herself as one of the reformers.”
Jawando, currently a Montgomery County councilman, called the report a “bombshell” and leveraged it in a fundraising email to supporters.
“Will has spent his career fighting the systemic racism in our criminal justice system,” read the fundraising solicitation. “He believes it’s a false choice to think we have to choose between safety AND justice.”
Jawando also released a list of a handful of endorsements from local elected officials, including Baltimore City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett.
David Trone, meanwhile, is out with another ad airing statewide on TV and digital platforms. Titled “Advocate,” the ad highlights the congressman’s work to promote reproductive care and abortion access.
“I know he will be in this fight with us forever,” Lori Richards from the Mountain Maryland Alliance for Reproductive Freedom says in the ad.
This is the second round of ads for Trone, the wealthy wine retail entrepreneur who was elected to to Congress representing Maryland’s 6th District in 2018. He ran a biographical ad shortly after launching his Senate campaign in May.
Moore sets up POTUS
Gov. Wes Moore is continuing his role on the national advisory board for President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign, most recently at a fundraiser in New York City.
Moore was tapped to introduce Biden Monday night at a fundraiser held by the Black Economic Alliance at the St. Regis New York hotel in midtown Manhattan.
“This is a person of his word. And he is a person of performance,” Moore told the crowd of about 50 people, according to a White House pool reporter at the event. “He is the leader the United States deserves.”
The fundraiser was part of a three-day trip to New York City for the governor, where he also spoke at a climate change event and a Clinton Global Initiative event.
Maryland board approves Baltimore County’s first park in 20 years
Baltimore County got $4 million to build its first large public park in two decades, on a brownfield at the old Bethlehem Steel manufacturing plant.
Maryland’s public works board signed off on the development of Sparrows Point Park Wednesday and approved Baltimore County’s acquisition of more than 21 acres of waterfront property near Tradepoint Atlantic’s warehouse and shipping operations in Edgemere.
That’s where County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said the county will build its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-designed park — between Jones Creek to the east and a concrete plant to the west.
County officials have said environmental regulators reviewed ground contamination at the future site of Sparrows Point Park and cleared it for public use. The Board of Public Works also approved the land’s donation to the county, which comes with a Program Open Space covenant to maintain the property for public use in perpetuity.
Baltimore County held a groundbreaking ceremony for Sparrows Point Park in August. Officials say the park is expected to be finished by late 2024.
Baltimore pledges to modernize building permit process
Baltimore’s spending board approved Wednesday a nearly $6 million contract with Accela, a government software provider and developer, to lead the city’s overhaul of its building permitting system.
Accela will receive the investment on behalf of the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development over the course of six years, according to the mayor’s office, using a combination of American Rescue Plan Act and city funds. It is tasked with replacing the current permitting system and building the capacity to handle up to 60,000 permit applications per year, according to a copy of the latest Board of Estimates’ agenda. It will also replace two existing housing databases, digitize zoning appeals processes, and create a digital archive of housing and zoning records.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said the shift would make the process “more nimble,” user-friendly, and modern by giving builders and inspectors mobile-phone capabilities and by adopting a “cloud-based” system for agencies to share work and communicate — “something that shouldn’t be as novel as it is in city government,” Scott said. “Now we are moving to the big systems that we know will help make Baltimore City government more effective and more efficient.”
The building permitting process, in particular, has caused widespread frustration among users. Earlier this year, The Baltimore Banner reviewed survey feedback solicited from nearly 1,000 respondents and found that nearly 1 in 4 found the system difficult to navigate while 1 in 3 considered it “very” difficult.
Earlier in the week, the city’s Department of Transportation also launched an upgraded special events permitting system, a move that Scott said would increase access to community-building opportunities “in every neighborhood.”
“All of these steps are a testament to the work of my administration that we have been doing to modernize every aspect of Baltimore City government in order to make our services better and more streamlined for our residents,” he added Wednesday.