Carl Stokes picked to fill Jack Young's vacant council seat

Baltimore Sun

Carl Stokes, a founder of a Baltimore charter school, was elected unanimously by the City Council to fill a vacant seat in the 12th District, returning him to the body on which he served for eight years.

The 59-year-old Stokes, who was first elected to the council in 1987, is the co-founder and chief operating officer of East Baltimore's Bluford Drew Jemison Math Science Technology Academy. He fills the seat vacated by Bernard C. "Jack" Young, who is now the council president.

Stokes' election is the last in a series of moves triggered by Sheila Dixon's resignation as mayor. The council elected Young president after Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake ascended to the mayor's office.

An East Baltimore native, Stokes was raised in the Latrobe Homes and now lives in lower Charles Village. He led a 1991 city council redistricting that brought more African-American representation to the council and also served briefly on the school board.

Stokes ran for mayor in 1999 and showed strongly in the polls until several gaffes - driving with a suspended license, a $13,800 federal tax lien and false claims of a Loyola College degree on his campaign literature - led to his defeat in the Democratic primary to Martin O'Malley.

After Monday's vote, Stokes and his supporters trooped to the mayor's office for a swearing-in.

He thanked the council for "bringing me back into this house" and pointed out that Young had once served as an aide in his office.

He praised Rawlings-Blake, who administered the oath of office, as an "extraordinary, bright, strong woman." The two shared dinner together last week, several hours before the mayor grew ill with a gastrointestinal distress that led to a brief hospitalization.

"We have a unique friendship," Stokes quipped. "We have dinner. She gets sick."

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