Joshua Harris is taking the road less traveled in the general election race for mayor of Baltimore. He is running as a member of the Green Party, which has never had a successful candidate in the mayoral contest.
Harris initially entered the mayor’s race during the Democratic primary earlier this year, but withdrew in February and switched to the Green Party. Harris said now is the time for Baltimore voters to break free from establishment candidates and look to people who have the interests of the public in mind.
Joshua Harris said that if elected mayor of Baltimore he will seek to change the terms of the Port Covington Project. (Courtesy photo)
“I believe that folks are looking for solutions and they’re not so tied to party affiliations,” Harris told the AFRO.
“The Green Party is a party that is active in the fight for social justice, racial justice, economic justice and environmental justice. Those are all issues that are near and dear to my heart and issues that are truly at the forefront of progressive policy change,” he added.
Harris was born and raised in a low-income Chicago neighborhood and is a product of the troubled Chicago Public Schools, so he is familiar with the circumstances faced by Baltimore children and families attending public schools here in the city.
Harris moved to Baltimore in 2012 and quickly went to work, becoming an integral part of his Hollins Market community. He is the co-founder of Hollins Creative Placemaking, an organization that promotes urban revitalization by utilizing community art and artists, and serves on the board of Southwest Partnership, The Charles Village Urban Renewal Plan Community Review Board and Paul’s Place Community Advisory Board. He currently works in the Communications Department of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity International.
Harris said that the way out of crime and violence, which have become chronic in Baltimore communities, is to create sustainable employment opportunities. The candidate said he wants to see Baltimore become a center for creating renewable energy enterprises or green jobs.
“We will not see a reduction in crime in Baltimore City until we see the median family household income raised… until we see job creation,” Harris said. “A part of our jobs plan is to transition this blue-collar town into a green-collar town and becoming a clean energy manufacturing hub for the entire eastern seaboard.”
Harris pointed to California and other regions of the nation that have become hubs for green energy industries, providing good paying jobs for thousands without a college degree.
Harris said that the current political establishment in Baltimore has tolerated the broken policing practices for years that are detailed in the recent U.S. Department of Justice Report on Policing in Baltimore.
“Any administration that tries to act like they are surprised at the depth of the problem are part of the problem,” Harris said. “This is not a combat zone where the police are here to occupy. The Police are here to protect and serve. It is a must that we take the steps toward true community-based policing. We must include residents from our communities in that process.”
If Harris is voted in as mayor, he said he would work with the eight new members who will join the Baltimore City Council after the Nov. 8 election to push for amendments in the recently approved $600-million Port Covington Project.
“The deal was just irresponsible. It was massive and it wasn’t viewed from an equity perspective,” Harris said.
Harris said he is not opposed to development – he just wants to see development that benefits the communities in Baltimore that have suffered the most.
“We had an uprising in Baltimore only a year-and-a-half ago and we heard politicians come the table and make promises. And here we are yet again, investing millions of dollars downtown and at the waterfront,” Harris said.