Op/Ed: Passing the Torch by Delegate Cory McCray

(ANNAPOLIS – April 5, 2018) – In politics, no decision comes without consequence. Legislators, in particular, are reminded of this axiom on a daily basis. Each vote that is cast in Annapolis impacts lives in ways both fully anticipated and those that are unexpected. It’s a fact that you become especially aware of as you knock on doors and read mail from constituents – each step along the way learning of unique personal stories and journeys. Every lawmaker worth his or her salt takes this into account when weighing the pros and cons of any political choice.

This essential truth also presents itself at the initial stages of an electoral campaign when would-be candidates decide if they should run – and why. It’s a calculation that is every bit as personal as it is professional. For me, the decision to seek office for a second time was easy – I have found serving in the legislature to be personally fulfilling and appreciate the ability to give back to the communities and neighborhoods that have afforded me so many blessings and opportunities.

When I announced my intention to run for State Senate, I was truly touched by the outpouring of support from friends and neighbors throughout the 45th District. Of course, more than a few of my supporters asked the obvious question: why run for senate now? That is, why run against a seasoned, incumbent legislator in the coming election instead of “waiting my turn” and standing by for his decision to retire, whenever that may occur. It’s a valid question. I enjoy my work in the House of Delegates – in fact, I’ve enjoyed every second of my four sessions representing our district’s interests in Annapolis. During this time I’ve sponsored legislation on matters ranging from public safety to school funding to apprenticeship programs that have been signed into law. I’ve immersed myself in the workings of my committee assignments and formed solid professional relationships with my House colleagues. I’m not running because things haven’t gone well in the House, I’m running because I think they can go a whole lot better in the Senate.

The simple fact is Baltimore is facing some monumental challenges over the next four years and will need zealous representation in both houses of the legislature if we are able to handle them properly. The results that we have seen under my opponent’s leadership over the past 35 years are, to be frank, uninspiring.

Rather than having seen a renewed emphasis on Baltimore’s relevance to the State, we have instead seen the following: declining populations, underfunded and underperforming public schools, the continued presence of vacant and blighted homes and lots, and persistent levels of violent crime. I am running for Senate because our district and our city deserve better than this. I am running for Senate now because the challenges our communities are facing are urgent and we no longer have time to spare reacting to these important issues with complacency.

There comes a time when it is appropriate to pass the torch from one generation of leaders to the next. Respectfully, I submit that this time has come in Maryland’s 45th Legislative District.

Furthermore, I happen to think there is a real appetite for new leadership that is sweeping the Baltimore electorate. This desire for change was on display in the most recent City Council election, where 8 out of the 15 members were elected to their first term in office.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from the Council’s progress over the last two years. For example, the Council has successfully obtained greater levels of funding for after-school programs and implemented mandated local hiring for the citywide officials serving in the highest levels (and pay scales) of city government. Put simply, they have implemented an agenda that invests both in our neighborhoods and our residents. One of the reasons that new leadership is exciting is that the new leaders themselves are enthusiastic to make a difference and apply their expertise. The City Council has demonstrated this idea well.

Imagine the possibilities for the 45th District if all of its elected officials embodied that same spirit and sense of urgency. Unfortunately, I don’t think that our district’s current state senator does any longer. I would like to see that change sooner rather than later. 

Cory V. McCray 
Facebook – http://on.fb.me/gAIEJ0 
Twitter – @corymccray

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.