City Councilman William "Pete" Welch is seeking to fend off five other Democrats to keep his seat in Baltimore's 9th District.

Two Republicans and one Green Party candidate are also running to represent residents in Southwest Baltimore.

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The district includes neighborhoods such as Rosemont and Sandtown-Winchester in the north, Millhill and Hollins Market in the south, Harlem Park and Poppleton in the east and Carroll-South Hilton in the west.

Welch, a 62-year-old accountant living in Rosemont, was appointed by the council in 2011 to replace his mother, Councilwoman Agnes Welch, who was retiring.

"I want to rebuild the 9th District," Welch said. "It's not just rebuilding with new residences and businesses, but it's rebuilding people. You have to give people the opportunity for growth."

Welch said he has helped launch programs to teach culinary skills to the unemployed and carpentry to young adults.

He faces a challenge from John Bullock, 37, a Union Square resident and political science professor at Towson University who finished third in a nine-way race against Welch in 2011. He said education and jobs should be leveraged as tools to prevent crime.

"If folks have a proper education, they're able to be better employed," he said. "People who are working, they're too busy to be involved in something that is negative."

He also wants expanded after-school programs for teens.

"It's one thing to say, 'We don't want you on the corners,'" Bullock said, "but give them some alternatives."

Democrat J.B. Kenney is campaigning on plans to restore vacant houses. The 51-year-old contractor lives in Harlem Park. If elected, he wants to train and hire workers to transform vacant housing into affordable family homes.

"You get rid of homelessness and violence and everything if you got people working," he said.

His plan would include classes in home ownership. "We need to make sure people know how to live," he said.

Democrat Jerrell Bratcher, 33, lives in Rosemont and works for a nonprofit. He was laid off last year as director of admissions for the Monarch School in Northeast Baltimore. He pledged, if elected, to answer constituent requests within one day and demand faster responses from city services.

"Many of those requests go unanswered, unaddressed, unheard and unsolved," he said.

The next councilman, Bratcher added, must bring sources of fresh food into the district.

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M. Nathaniel Anderson, 58, a pastor at Power of Christ Full Gospel Ministries who lives in Shipley Hill, said the council should take stronger action to reduce homelessness.

"I just think we can fix that," he said, "by creating a vehicle where homes are produced and taking these old warehouses and making some type of housing."

Anderson also wants expanded medical care for addicts.

Shawn Key, 39, who lives in Carrollton Ridge and works as a used-car salesman, said addicts should be offered drug treatment and not be locked up.

"It's hard for them to get employment, and they get stuck in returning back to the streets trying to make fast money," he said.

Key also wants programs to train recovering addicts as, say, carpenters and electricians.

Two Republicans, Kenneth Earl Ebron Jr. and Octavia Njuhigu, are seeking the district seat.

Njuhigu, 44, lives in Carrollton Ridge. A former bank administrator, he is working to launch a nonprofit called BMO to help the homeless and addicted.

He said violent crime remains the most urgent issue in the district and that more police patrols are necessary.

"Anyone selling drugs," he said, "they're doing it to find some form of money."

If elected, Njuhigu would push for expanded educational and job opportunities to reduce the incentive to commit crime.

Ebron did not respond to requests for an interview.

Green Party candidate Jamie Latear Frierson, 35, who lives in Rosemont, also is running.

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