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Comptroller urges July 4 visits to Baltimore, spends holiday in county

The Baltimore Sun
Not visiting Baltimore July 4 is to "give into the bad guys," says Comptroller, who spent holiday in county.

State Comptroller Peter Franchot, who encouraged Marylanders to support Baltimore businesses on Independence Day, attended parades in Baltimore County on July 4 and did not make a stop in the city.

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun last week Franchot said "it's important during the Fourth of July that people come down here to patronize businesses" to counteract destruction caused by April's unrest.

"We're not going to prevail if we give into the bad guys by not coming to Baltimore City and not enjoying these wonderful cafes and sites," he said last week. "If we avoid Baltimore, we're giving in. That's the message to send on the Fourth of July."

According to Franchot spokeswoman Barbara Sauers, Franchot attended parades in Dundalk, Towson, Arbutus, and Catonsville. Franchot's Chief of Staff Len Foxwell said in a statement that Franchot has attended those four Independence Day parades for nearly a decade, and that he had family commitments afterward.

"At no point did the Comptroller suggest that he would be in the city that day, just as he obviously never implied that Marylanders should break their prior commitments to visit Baltimore," Foxwell said. "However, as a frequent visitor to the city, both for work and for fun, he will continue to be a passionate booster of those businesses that are essential to a vibrant city and a stronger Maryland economy."

"Comptroller Franchot is a longtime, enthusiastic supporter of Baltimore City's tourism industry and its locally-owned small businesses — both of which have taken a real hit as a result of recent events," Foxwell said. "The purpose of last week's visit was to encourage Marylanders who were looking for enjoyable and family-friendly things to do over the holiday weekend, and who were not traveling out of town, to visit the city and its wonderful restaurants, shops and attractions.

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