Maya Rockeymoore, the wife of veteran U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, told the AFRO July 19 that she is strongly considering a run for the Democratic Party nomination for governor of Maryland in 2018.
“Maryland is ready for fresh leadership,” Rockeymoore said. “Gov. Hogan has failed as a leader of our state and the people of Maryland deserve better.”
Maya Rockeymoore, wife of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, is considering a bid for Maryland governor. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)
Rockeymoore leads Global Policy Solutions, a Washington D.C.-based policy firm that advocates on behalf of a wide range of issues from a progressive point of view. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M University in Texas and a Master’s and Doctorate degree from Purdue University in Indiana.
Rockeymoore is a former adjunct professor in the Women in Politics Institute at American University. She also has served as the vice president of research and programs at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), senior resident scholar at the National Urban League, chief of staff to Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), and as a CBCF legislative fellow for Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.).
If Rockeymoore chooses to run, she will join Georgia State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Albany) as being the only Black women seeking the governor’s mansion in their states for 2018.
In addition, Rockeymoore joins a race that is getting crowded. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, III is running for the Democratic nomination along with former NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous, Maryland State Sen. Richard Maldaleno (D-Montgomery County), entrepreneur Alex Ross and attorney James Shea.
Hogan is expected to run for re-election as well.
The Democratic primary will take place on June 26, 2018, and the general election will occur on Nov. 6, 2018.
Rockeymoore said she is not deterred by talk among some political activists in Maryland that three Blacks in the race would split the Black vote.
“I think it is good that African Americans will have a choice in the race,” she said. “Ben, the county executive and I have a lot to offer African Americans. I want African Americans turnout in every county in this state to be strong.”
Blacks comprise 30.7 percent of Maryland’s population, according to 2016 U.S. Census Bureau statistics and makeup the majority in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County and are close to a majority in Charles County and a healthy share of the population in Baltimore County (26 percent) and Montgomery County (18 percent). However, with the exception of lieutenant governor that is part of a gubernatorial ticket, no African American has been elected to a statewide office in Maryland.
Rockeymoore said she will not ride on the coattails of her powerful spouse. “I want the voters to read my resume and learn more about my work,” she said. “I have years of experience of advocacy on issues that affect people’s lives and I will be able to run this state based on the work I have done. My record is comparable to any candidate in the race and I will be happy to talk to any group about my plans for Maryland.”
Cummings is the ranking member of the House Committee on Government Operations, a former state legislator and a fixture in the state’s Democratic political structure.
Rockeymoore said she is a practical progressive and has been a fighter for civil rights for women, seniors, children, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians and for the poor and working class. She wants every Marylander to have an opportunity to have a stake in the state’s growing economy.
A major part of the state’s economy is Baltimore City and Rockeymoore said she has plans for it.
“Baltimore City needs equitable development, healthy neighborhoods that are safe and environmentally clean and an education system that works,” she said. “We must prepare our young people for the new Baltimore economy that is emerging.”
Rockeymoore said she also has plans for Prince George’s County.
“Prince George’s County is an incredible beacon of hope for African Americans here and around the nation,” she said. “The African-American wealth in the county is a sign of upward mobility. However, many working class Prince Georgians are still recovering from the Great Recession in which many lost their homes to foreclosure. In Prince George’s, as governor, I will work toward better wealth building opportunities and better schools.”
She said as governor, there will be a strategy to revitalize homeownership in the county and “that equitable economic development will continue on its trajectory.” Rockeymoore also said that Prince George’s, noting its proximity to the nation’s capital, will be included as a major part of any growth plan for the state and not as a sidebar.
Rockeymoore said she will make a final decision on the gubernatorial run in the early Fall.