I expect more from The Baltimore Sun than graceless screeds. You are not the right-wing media or a partisan liberal rag. You are the editorial board of Maryland’s paper of record. Like it or not, I am the Republican nominee for a contested congressional race where the Democratic nominee was pushed out of the NAACP, according to your reporting, amid allegations of sexual harassment, nepotism and mismanagement. That is the candidate you have endorsed. I am a woman of color running in a state that has no women in any elected federal or statewide offices. But you have now twice, without ever having met or interviewed me, attacked and mocked me on your opinion page (“Is Kim Klacik running for Congress, mayor or chief Trump enabler?” Aug. 19). What gives?
Not that it should matter, but I’m a moderate Republican. I believe in paid family leave and over-the-counter birth control, that climate change is man-made and presents an existential threat that demands our urgent attention, and that who you love is beyond the province of government. I believe we should invest more money in education, that teachers and social workers and mental health practitioners should be paid far more than they are, and that chokeholds and qualified immunity should be abolished.
As for my commitment to Baltimore, for nearly a decade, I have run a nonprofit, Potential Me, based and operated out of South Baltimore, which helps predominantly inner-city Black women prepare for careers, providing them with business attire and interview prep. But, you are right, I do not live in Baltimore. I have a young daughter I love and would not dare subject her to the blight, soaring crime, broken schools and low expectations of the city. You know who else would not? The tens of thousands of Black families who have moved from the city — half of my district — to the Baltimore County and Howard County half.
I presume you’ve written me off because President Donald Trump has brought unsolicited attention to my race and Baltimore’s ills. I agree with some of his policies; I disagree with others. But I was raised to respect the president. I hold him in the same esteem Barack Obama and Bill Clinton as I do Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. That is how I was raised and how I will raise my daughter, too — to revere the office of the American President regardless of whether I fully agree with the policies of the officeholder.
It is true that last year I brought attention to trash in West Baltimore. The president used it to attack our city’s failures. That was not my intention, but it happened. I did not see you blast Mayor Catherine Pugh, however, when she toured a blighted neighborhood and exclaimed, “What the hell? We should just take all this [expletive] down.” And then “Whoa, you can smell the rats.” And later “Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals.” She was mayor at the time, and your reporter called her comments “indelicate.” Why the double standard?
By the way, in the spirit of your paper’s fact-checking duties, was any of what I said inaccurate? In the past 50 years, was there a Republican City Council or mayor or congressman I missed? Are we not among the five deadliest cities in America every year? Are the city’s homicide victims not overwhelmingly Black?
You speculate my ad was tailored to a national audience because I mentioned the failures of Democratic leadership in cities across the country. Ironically, I did that so no one could accuse me of beating up on just Baltimore as though our problems are unique. Because they are not.
But your paper’s complicity in these profound challenges is limited to Baltimore. How many corrupt, failed leaders have you failed to vet and, over and over, even endorsed? I attacked Democrats, but really my beef is with incompetent Democrats. From successful businessmen like David Warnock and Bob Wallace to Ivy League-educated public servants like Calvin Young and Thiru Vignarajah to eloquent activists like DeRay McKesson and Rikki Vaughn, Baltimore has had smart, experienced Democrats who have challenged the City Hall establishment — but it is that failed establishment you have systematically protected and preserved. Over those promising, even inspiring outsiders, The Baltimore Sun editorial board has endorsed Sheila Dixon, Cheryl Glenn, Joan Pratt, Nathaniel Oaks, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Catherine Pugh, and most recently Nick Mosby and Brandon Scott. These are the incompetent Democrats I deride — career politicians with no experience outside politics — whom you shield and support.
Sadly, you too appear to believe Black voters are incapable of voting for excellence and instead will cast their ballot for the lowest common Black denominator. I will reflect on what I have done to inspire your mistrust and what I can do to lessen it — I hope you will do the same.
The writer is a Republican candidate for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District.