A woman who worked as an aide to now-Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott was nominated Thursday to replace him as District 2’s representative on council.
Danielle McCray, who worked in Scott’s office when he was a councilman and is the younger sister of Democratic state Sen. Cory McCray, won the nomination with nine of 11 votes from the vacancy committee created to recommend Scott's replacement.
Candidates Glenda S. Curtis, an aide in the City Council president’s office, and Gary Williams each received one vote for the nomination. There were 22 candidates.
The nomination is the result of former Mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation earlier this month amid a growing scandal over self-published children’s books she sold to the University of Maryland Medical System while she sat on the system’s board. She’d taken a leave of absence in April to recover from a bout of pneumonia.
Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young became the city’s acting mayor and then mayor in Pugh’s absence and the council elected Scott to succeed Young as council president, leaving his District 2 seat vacant.
The committee — which was composed of Democratic council members Shannon Sneed and Zeke Cohen along with representatives of neighborhood associations — did not say who each member voted for when McCray was announced as the nominee.
McCray’s nomination now goes before the City Council, which could confirm her as early as June 11.
The committee asked questions from a prepared list, which included two specific items regarding mandatory minimum prison sentences and the consent decree governing Baltimore police. The rest of the questions were broad by design, asking about candidates’ “vision” and “priorities” for District 2 and their opinion on the budget.
Scott rose to prominence on the council largely as a voice on crime and violence.
McCray said she was raised in Edmondson Village and learned the value of hard work from sweeping her grandmother’s marble steps at her residence on Gilmor Street.
Her opening speech focused on her time in public service, as she spent five years working for Scott on policy and constituent issues.
“For the last five years I have lived in the Waltherson community. I have also worked with now previous Councilman Brandon Scott on policy and delivering high-quality constituent service,” she said.
She said she’s worked to resolve issues ranging from illegal dumping to “making sure that a water bill was adjusted correctly for a senior on a fixed income.”
“We want jobs and amenities where we live with a strong local economy that allows us to reinvest in our community,” McCray said.
As for the criminal justice issues highlighted in the prepared questions, McCray said she’d work to improve relations with the police department, saying that some people believe their voices are not being heard.
She added that she does not support mandatory minimum prison sentences, which the City Council has no immediate authority over, as they’re dictated by the General Assembly and applied by the judiciary.
“They don't do anything to deter crime or to reduce crime, and that’s been shown in multiple studies,” she said.
“What should be mandatory is making sure every child who is applying for YouthWorks [Baltimore City’s summer job program] can get a job.”
Baltimore City Council members made $69,450 in the 2018 fiscal year.