Thanks to city voters for passing Question H in November and to Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, Baltimore will soon have a public way to finance campaigns for city office (“Baltimore’s next step toward better government,” June 21). As a member of the Greater Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America, this issue is important to me because publicly funded elections in Baltimore open up the possibility of having truly working-class elected officials.
The working class is the majority in Baltimore, but working-class interests are not represented at the city level. At the most recent taxpayers’ night at City Hall, city residents and community organizations came together to voice their concerns about the city’s budget which places the highest priority on police at the expense of much-needed public programs like education, recreation, health services and affordable housing. Without a mechanism to get working class folks elected, we won’t see working class priorities in our city’s government. Instead, we will continue to see the prioritization of the interests of the wealthy few.
Public election funding will make it possible for leaders in working class communities to serve in elected positions. I urge all city residents to contact their council members and tell them you support this bill. This bill will change what’s possible in city elections, especially in terms of who can run and who is considered a viable candidate.
Gaby Nair, Baltimore