Young Talks of Council Presidency

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Bernard “Jack” Young has served on or chaired almost every Baltimore City Council committee over his tenure as a councilman. Now, he is pleased to use his experience as Baltimore City’s new City Council president.

Affectionately referred to as “Jack,” the 14-year Council veteran is currently a member of the Task Force to Eliminate Illegal Billboards, the Johns Hopkins Alcoholic and Other Drug Dependency Advisory Board, the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Council, Advisory Board on Homelessness, Baltimore Public Markets Board and the Baltimore City Parking Authority Board.

A native of East Baltimore, Young is the co-founder of the Broadway Development Foundation. He received the Outstanding Young Men of America Award and the Martin Luther King Award for Community Service. He graduated from Northern High School in 1973 and also attended the Community College of Baltimore.

AFRO: How does it feel to have been unanimously elected the City Council president?
Young: I’m excited about being president. I’m settling in. We’re still putting together our staff. It feels very good that all of my hard work has paid off. People will say, well, look at his district. They really need to look at it and see all of the development that is in place. They will see where I served and represented my people well.

AFRO: After almost 14 years, was it hard for you to leave your position as councilman over the 12th District?
Young: Yes it was because I look at my job as a councilman as a part of a larger ministry. I don’t look at it as a job. Service is all I know. When I was a kid, my father said, ‘When you work hard, you appreciate what you get from being a hard worker.’ I started off shining shoes when I was a kid. I come from a family of 10. I come from a humble beginning and I will never forget where I come from.

AFRO: Who will fill your former position as 12th District councilman?
Young: A couple of people have made inquiries that they’re going to apply. The most qualified one will get the job.

AFRO: What are your goals as the new City Council president?
Young: Right now, my only plan is to deal with the budget we are facing. We have a $60 million budget [deficit] we are facing; I’m focusing on that. The budget [deficit] next year is $100 million-plus and probably growing. We’ve got a lot to do to make sure that if we have to do cuts, that it’s not that much on the citizens of Baltimore. When I say cuts, the council makes no cuts. They come to us from the administration. As a Council, we’re looking at how we can better be able to protect our most vulnerable citizens. We just want to focus right now on this budget and making sure that we do the least that would affect our citizens.

AFRO: How can the 2010 census help with the budget deficit?
Young: The census can help greatly. That’s why it is vitally important that every citizen in Baltimore is counted.

AFRO: What do you see your role as it relates to the Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake?
Young: My role is I will support the mayor where support is needed. I’m looking forward to working well with the mayor and us moving the city forward.