Cummings endorses "steady," "honest" Rawlings-Blake
Rep. Elijah Cummings endorsed Thursday Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's bid to retain her office, describing her as a "steady" and "honest" leader and said she should not be "taken for granted."
"It gives me great pleasure to say I will do everything in my power to make sure Stephanie Rawlings-Blake continues to be mayor for another four years," said Cummings, speaking in front of the recently-opened Marshall's at Mondawmin Mall.
Cummings said that he had known Rawlings-Blake, the daughter of the late Del. Howard P. Rawlings, all of her life and closely watched and advised her political career since she was first elected to the City Council in 1995.
"I am so proud to see Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake emerge to become the great leader that she is," said Cummings.
Rawlings-Blake has led the city through "stormy circumstances," said Cummings, referring to the economic downturn. As if on cue, the rain intensified and thunder rumbled as he spoke.
Cummings praised Rawlings-Blake's "honest" approach to the city's budget deficits over the past two years. Being mayor is more challenging that some realize, he said.
"You have to make sure the potholes are fixed and the snow gets picked up," he said. "You have to be someone who can walk with the people and talk with the president."
"This is a woman who goes into that office every day and does everything she can to empower the citizens of our city," said Cummings, who spoke extemporaneously and without notes.
A crowd of about 30 people, including the mayor's mother, Dr. Nina Rawlings, braved the rain for the campaign event.
Rawlings-Blake read from prepared remarks that reiterated many of the points from her February State of the City speech.
She touted her overall of the fire and police pension system, changes to the composition of the city's ethics board and efforts to close to budget shortfalls without laying off police officers and while fully funding the city's obligations to public schools.
Rawlings-Blake said she gets the job done with "no excuses, no blame game, no sugarcoating, no pie-in-the-sky plans."
She also praised last year's decreases in homicides and violent crimes, but did mention homicide rates for the current year-- which are 23 percent higher than the same period in 2010.