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In South Baltimore, crowded and competitive race to replace Councilman Ed Reisinger draws widespread attention

The race Baltimore City Council’s 10th District is shaping up to be highly competitive, with nine Democrats and two Republicans looking to replace retiring Councilman Ed Reisinger.

With Reisinger’s pending retirement after 24 years in office, a former sex worker, a current Democratic Central Committee member and a member of a prominent Baltimore political family will vie for his seat this November.

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District 10 covers south and southwest Baltimore across the Hanover Street bridge, including neighborhoods like Cherry Hill, Pigtown and Brooklyn.

The race itself has garnered state and national attention, as several candidates have received prominent endorsements.

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Phylicia Porter, a Democratic Central Committee member and health care consultant, raised roughly $43,000 in campaign funds as of April and was endorsed by Reisinger last year.

Her campaign looks at the city’s issues primarily through a public health lens, saying she wants to use community-based solutions to strengthen local Safe Streets programs to temper crime in certain areas, which she said will also lead to increased business.

“As a city councilperson, it is incumbent to help bridge that gap within the community,” she said. “When we talk about re-engaging, we’ve got to start utilizing actual boots on the ground and in the communities.”

Democratic candidate Natasha Guynes, the former sex worker, has received a considerable amount of buzz for her campaign.

The former aide for ex-Sen. Harry Reid was endorsed by state comptroller Peter Franchot. She had about $6,300 in campaign funds as of April.

Guynes said she wants the city’s police officers trained on how to better handle instances of trauma as well as create economic opportunities with residents in mind.

“We can roll in there with bulldozers ... But how is that really creating an element that isn’t so negatively disruptive to those who have been there for so long?” she said.

Ray Conaway, a Democrat, is the nephew of the late Frank Conaway Sr., the longtime clerk of the Baltimore City Circuit Court and father of Baltimore Del. Frank M. Conaway Jr.

Ray Conaway, 24, said the district has “an issue with prostitution” and wants to see stronger collaboration between the police department and the city’s Safe Streets programs.

Several other candidates expressed similar sentiments, including Guynes and Democrat Bob Cockey , who all said they wanted more community involvement and additional police officers patrolling on foot.

As for economic development, nearly all said the area needs more business. Their solutions range from Democratic candidate Bill Marker’s proposal for a universal state property tax rate to Republican candidate Mekkah X. Mohammed’s idea to have weekly job training classes at local churches.

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