Congressional delegation remembers Schaefer
Memories of William Donald Schaefer continue to pour in from Maryland’s congressional delegation a day after the former governor and mayor of Baltimore died.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Montgomery County Democrat, called Schaefer a mentor, citing his “can-do spirit and never-give-up attitude.” Van Hollen recalled a time when Schaefer turned down an invitation to a White House dinner while in Washington. He took his staff out to dinner instead.
“He was not one to stand on formality,” Van Hollen said.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, who has known Schaefer for years and who famously clashed with him as she fought a proposed highway that would have cut through East Baltimore, said that he “came out of machine politics…but he had the heart and soul of a reformer…He did incredible things in reforming housing and zoning to get rid of slums and blight, to give us a new economy, but also to give us new self confidence."
Rep. John Sarbanes recalled Schaefer’s love for his job and said the public benefited from that passion. "I think everyone has in their mind's eye an image of William Donald Schaefer doing something that was about making Baltimore stronger, or making Maryland stronger," the Democrat said. "We all carry those images around."
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, said he was surprised when Schaefer decided to run for governor in 1986 because of his deep connection to the city.
"Not only did he have a phenomenal vision, but he knew how to turn his vision into a mission," Cummings said. "The thing that probably made him stand out more than a lot of leaders is that you knew he had a deep and abiding love of the city of Baltimore.
"Not only did he build buildings, but he built people, too," Cummings said.
Democrats weren’t the ones in Washington praising Schaefer.
Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett noted Schaefer's willingness to work with Republicans in the state. "He came to a lot of Republican events," the Western Maryland lawmaker. "He was known and loved by people on both sides of the aisle."
"I hope that those who go to the Inner Harbor know that it wouldn't be there if it weren't for William Donald Schaefer,” Bartlett said. “I will always remember him when I go there."
Republican Rep. Andy Harris served as the minority whip in the Maryland Senate when Schaefer was state comptroller.
"He was someone who put people above politics," Harris said, calling Schaefer a "good steward of the state of Maryland."