(ANNAPOLIS – March 10, 2018) – I first met Antonio Hayes nearly 20 years ago or so. He was just a young buck working in Annapolis. One of the first encounters I recall was when he was working to help then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend become governor. After the loss, I recall how disappointed he was. Being older, I was compelled to encourage him to wipe off the dirt and get back on his horse.
And then he’d land in City Hall working for then-Mayor Sheila Dixon. I vividly recall the young politico serving the City of Baltimore and with pride.
One of my fondest memories, I gotta admit, was from what has become the worst time in Baltimore in many of our lives: the Baltimore Riots that followed the untimely death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.
What I remember is the illumination of West Baltimore’s food desert. I later learned too of the many seniors who were in need of their medications. With the CVS Pharmacy at Penn-North destroyed, somebody had to step-up to the plate and produce some sorely needed deliverables. When the CVS was hit in the riot, Delegate Antonio Hayes sprang into action. State Senator Joan Carter Conway and others assisted him in getting much-needed food, supplies and medications to the people of Penn-North. Hayes clearly rose to the occasion when it was most needed.
There was no time for hemming and hawing. There was only time for action. Anything less was absolutely meaningless because people’s lives, including our seniors, were hanging in the balance. Delegate Hayes sprang into action and within a relatively short window of time, he and his team were able to amass one of the largest deliveries of food, medication and supply ever seen in Baltimore.
He also drew support from outside of the community, including his Annapolis colleagues – Democrat and Republican – white, black, Latino and Asian.
You see, Hayes grew up in Penn-North and even today, to hear him talk about his seniors is a beautiful thing because he still swells up with emotion – just from the thought of what was happening at Penn-North.
He is not one of the people who made cameo appearances for national and international media outlets who were parked at Penn-North. He did not do a drive-by. No! He was on the ground, checking on people, visiting shop owners, and making phone calls.
The illustrious state Senator from the 43rd, Joan Carter Conway, was among those calls. She told Bmorenews in an exclusive interview how she saw the passion in Hayes and simply had to help him get food, supplies and medications to the people in West Baltimore.
If I am not mistaken, there were at least two major deliveries. One served Sandtown-Winchester and Penn-North. The other served the Matthew Henson community to the west.
Hayes is a young man who has paid his dues. He has learned his lessons and while he is still youthful, he has more political experience than most. This experience is at the state and the local levels. He meticulously worked his way up and made his mark.
I can only imagine where his heart and sinew will take him, including the Maryland State Senate.
Keep up the great work, Delegate Hayes! We’re looking forward to more years of service to the people of Baltimore. You are appreciated and we wish you nothing but success in your quest to become the next state Senator of the 40th state legislative district in Maryland.