Welch ends stint as party leader

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore City Councilwoman Agnes Welch has quietly stepped down as chairwoman of the city's Democratic Central Committee after serving in the party-rallying post for 23 years.

Welch announced her retirement from the position shortly after she was re-elected as a committee member in the Sept. 12 primary. In letters last week to other committee members and state senators, she wrote that she would not seek the chairmanship, which is decided by an internal vote by the panel's 42 unpaid elected members.

"It's been a long time to hold that office," said Welch, who was first selected to the post in 1983. "Now I think it's time for someone else to have that experience."

Welch, 80, said she no longer wants the responsibilities of the chairmanship, such as voter registration and voter turnout.

Instead, she said she wants to focus more on addressing affordable- and vacant-housing issues in Southwest Baltimore's 9th District.

Another City Council member, James B. Kraft, who represents Southeast Baltimore's 1st District, is serving as interim chairman and will be a candidate for the post full time when the committee holds its election Oct. 10.

Kraft has served as the committee's first vice chairman for four years and treasurer for four years before that.

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