Submitted to the AFRO by Sen. Cory McCray

As a freshman Maryland State Senator serving the 45th Legislative District every day, I can say that I am honored to represent my neighbors in Northeast and East Baltimore. I’m also incredibly proud of the gains we made over the past few months in Annapolis. During the 2019 Legislative Session, we hit the ground running. I had the distinct privilege to serve on the Budget & Taxation Committee, which came with the opportunity to assist in the crafting of a $46.7 billion dollar budget. It also provided me a chance to help secure funding for our parks such as Ambrose Kennedy Park (Johnston Square), Herring Run Park (Belair Edison), Bond Street Park (Oliver), Johnston Square Greenspace (Johnston Square), and The Last Mile Community Park (New Broadway East). Additionally, we were able to lock in over $5 million in direct investment for the 45th Legislative District, including funds for the Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Roberta’s House, the Hoen Lithograph Building, Northeast Family Life Center, The Hub Integrated Learning Resource Center, and so many more facilities.

Cory McCray is a member of the Maryland State Senate, representing the 45th District, which encompasses Northeast and East Baltimore City.(Courtesy Photo)

More than just budgetary achievements, we were also successful with a number of policy initiatives. Our team took the lead on issues such as raising the statewide minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, requiring efficiency audits for the Baltimore City Police Department, ensuring access to healthy food, securing summertime meal funding for children who receive SNAP benefits, and removing lead from drinking water outlets in school buildings. Of course, getting to this point was no small feat; it required commitment and hard work. There were many nights spent preparing for floor debate, studying and increasing my knowledge of various subject matters, and focusing on organizing and coalition building. But this work wouldn’t have happened in the first place if not for neighbors who took a leap of faith and believed that a young man who grew up in Baltimore City, was educated in Baltimore City Public Schools, and stayed in the neighborhood that raised him could make a difference in Annapolis.

Because of those who believed in my mission and supported my efforts, I was proud to work on two exceptional issues that especially matter to neighbors in the 45th District. For over a decade, an abandoned Stop, Shop, and Save has sat at the intersection of Harford Avenue and Federal Street. This session, we were able to secure a $200,000 incentive to the owner conditioned upon his opening of a new grocery store in that space. And, in response to concerns expressed by seniors in the 45th about needing help to maintain the structural challenges with their homes such as roof repairs, heating, doors, and windows, we secured $500,000 for five programs that will support Housing Upgrades to Benefit Seniors (HUBS).

As a member of the Budget & Tax Committee, we also played a critical role in shaping “The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future” (more popularly known as the “Kirwan Commission”), which was responsible for a $255 million investment in teacher salaries, additional guidance counselors, special education funding, teacher training, and extra support for schools with high concentrations of poverty. We also worked with our Democratic and Republican colleagues in helping to secure over $500 million that will be put towards school construction. And, along the way, we also addressed lowering prescription drug costs for retirees.

I feel proud about the foundation that we are laying for an even brighter 45th Legislative District and city of Baltimore. I intend to work tirelessly for economic prosperity and to be very deliberate about the resources being distributed to neighborhoods that have been neglected for decades. Again, it was an honor to serve as your voice in the Maryland Senate and I look forward to continuing this important work next session and in the interim.

Cory McCray is a member of the Maryland Senate, representing the 45th District, which encompasses Northeast and East Baltimore City.

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