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Submitted by Fagan Harris

Beginning July 7th, when early voting starts, Baltimore will join the rest of Maryland to answer the most critical question confronting our state: who will be our next governor? The answer will set our city and state’s trajectories for the next decade and beyond.

We arrive at the question at a time when we Baltimoreans, candidly, are tired. Despite the hard work of so many community leaders, and the daily perseverance of all of you reading this, our most vital statistics are terrible: we’ve lost too many community members to the unceasing murders, and then seen our population shrink further as more decide they cannot raise a family, run a business, or even walk home at night in a place in the grip of such violence. Death and the terror that comes with it are literally shrinking our city and attacking our future. Combine this unique trauma with the challenges facing our whole state and world — from the pandemic to inflation to cost of living rising — and you find a city in pain.

One of the primary drivers of our pain is the dysfunctional relationship between our city and state. For far too long, Baltimore and Maryland have been engaged as adversaries: for Baltimore to win, Maryland must lose. For Maryland to thrive, Baltimore must be ‘kept in its place.’ This has left a city devastated by disinvestment and disappointment: the elimination of the Red Line, schools with no air conditioning, and no shared vision to stem the violence terrorizing a generation of our young people. 

This false choice between the interests of Baltimore and the interest of our state — this scarcity mindset that leaves us all worse off — is a relatively new problem. It wasn’t that long ago when every Marylander embraced Baltimore as the heart of our state, embracing with pride the city and all that it achieved for Maryland, and knew that our futures are intertwined. While the perceptions of too many have changed, Baltimore is undoubtedly still Maryland’s heart. We are, by far, our state’s biggest city and population center. Our economy and entrepreneurs, our colleges and universities, and so many of our neighborhoods and communities are flagship examples of what’s right in Maryland.

To restore Baltimore’s full potential, and in turn Maryland’s full potential, we must reset our relationship with the state. Breaking the vicious cycle requires leadership that not only sees the best in every region of the state but unites Marylanders to pursue a common set of goals: more jobs, better wages, and access to opportunities to build wealth and scale opportunity through homeownership, higher quality education, and entrepreneurship. This is the core question behind the question of who should be our Governor: who inspires the best in us and can bring us together to achieve it? For Baltimore, and Maryland, the answer is clear: Wes Moore. 

Wes is running with a clear vision honed through his unparalleled experience: to make Maryland a place where we leave no one behind. Here in Baltimore, we know how important that is. This is a moment where our choice is important. Many candidates are offering promises for Baltimore, but only one has been here. Only one has a track record of showing up and putting in the work and embracing this city for more than two decades.

Wes is also a proud Baltimorean who has done it all and where it has mattered most: he is an accomplished executive, a dedicated public servant and combat veteran, and an entrepreneur. Most importantly, Wes is a world-class leader. Throughout his life he has lived struggle and triumph. And his story is a testament to what works in Maryland and lends insight to where we must do and be better. Wes knows what Baltimore means to all of us who call the city home and what Baltimore should mean to all of Maryland. His love for the city and commitment to her interests is bone deep.

Baltimore: the stakes in the next election are almost unspeakably high. Looking back, I see a city devastated by disappointment. Looking ahead, I can envision a future in which Baltimore is one of the answers for our country: a city of refugees and migrants that champions diversity; leadership that inspects its biases and works hard to shape a city that is worthy of diversity inhabited here, a city that is truly equitable; a destination for the overlooked, the underestimated, and the marginalized –– a city, animated by hundreds of vibrant communities, where families can dream, thrive, and prosper. It will take more hard work and perseverance from all of you to get us there, but when we achieve this vision, we give life again to the notion that our country is the land of opportunity for everyone. 

I know this is a city ready to do that work. All we need is a partner who knows that Baltimore is Maryland’s beating heart and is committed to helping all of us thrive together. Wes Moore will be that partner. 

Baltimore: please vote for our neighbor, Wes Moore.

The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO. Send letters to The Afro-American • 145 W. Ostend Street Ste 600, Office #536, Baltimore, MD 21230 or fax to 1-877-570-9297 or e-mail to editor@afro.com

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