Members of some of Baltimore’s most distinguished businesses and corporations gathered at the Horseshoe Casino early Thursday morning for the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce’s Breakfast with the Mayor.  

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Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks during her final Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce Breakfast event. (Photo by Maliik Obee)

As the clock continues to count down toward the end of her six-year stay in office, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined the chamber for her last outing with the event. The second woman to serve as Baltimore’s mayor, Rawlings-Blake is also the current president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Despite the positive changes Baltimore has undergone during Rawlings-Blake’s tenure, the mayor told attendees that the bad publicity the city receives often outweighs the good. Among her achievements, Rawlings-Blake cited major strides in the development of small, minority and women-owned businesses in Baltimore City. Including the introduction of 2,000 jobs to the city through the development of the Horseshoe Casino, the city has seen an increase of 20,000 jobs since Rawlings-Blake took office. Preparing for the next generation has been a major point of emphasis for Rawlings-Blake, who noted the $49 million invested into new and renovated recreation and educational centers across the city.

Business leaders from across Baltimore City conversed and dined on a full breakfast spread. After receiving a standing ovation and warm applause from the members of the Chamber of Commerce, Rawlings-Blake reminded everyone of her dedication to change in Charm City.

“Baltimore’s progress could not be more evident,” said Rawlings-Blake. “We will not lose the great momentum that we created with your help.”

Following Rawlings-Blake’s speech, the Chamber of Commerce recognized members and other entities that are helping to create a better Baltimore with a series of Advocate Awards.

The Workforce Development Advocate Award was given to Robert Matthews of BGE. The Business Development Advocate Award was given to Jeanne Hitchcock of Johns Hopkins University. The Educational Advocate Award was given to Baltimore City Community College. The Community Advocate Award was given to Chase Brexton Health Care. The Chamber Advocate Award was given to John Walters of Walters Relocations, Inc. Finally, the Chamber of Commerce Career Award was given to Charlie Owens, who will soon retire from his position as president of the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce.