The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland wants each gubernatorial candidate to post a comprehensive plan on their websites by Nov. 1 based on one question: “What is your Black agenda?”
Janna Parker of Temple Hills said one of the Democratic candidates, state Comptroller Peter Franchot, has a written plan on what “he was going to do for Black Marylanders.”
Parker attended a gubernatorial candidate’s reception Thursday, Oct. 14 in Anne Arundel County during which Franchot shared a blue-colored document called “A Level Playing Field” that outlines a plan for Black Marylanders, which he says he submitted last month.
Parker said three other Democrats who presented their platforms “invigorated” her. They were author and former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore, former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez and former U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr.
But she and a few other Prince George’s County residents who attended the reception didn’t appreciate some remarks from former County Executive Rushern L. Baker III.
Baker, who plans to publish a Black agenda later this month, said one isn’t necessary because former Black elected officials have already laid a foundation for others to follow.
He also said at the reception, hosted by Verizon and the Maryland Black Caucus Foundation, “If Black lives matter, all lives matter.”
“I was disappointed to hear that [and] at a Black caucus,” said LaTasha Ward, one of four people running for three seats in the 24th legislative district that includes Glenarden, Largo, Seat Pleasant and parts of Lanham.
Ward said she didn’t hear the candidates present ideas to eliminate food deserts, hire returning citizens back to the workforce after they’re released from jail or prison, or ways to help military veterans. The majority Black jurisdiction of Prince George’s houses the most veterans in the state.
“I did take time out of my busy schedule to go there to hear what they had to say. It was their time to shine,” she said. “It was a lot of fluff.”
Twelve of the 13 gubernatorial candidates attended the reception at the Westin Baltimore Washington Airport Hotel-BWI in Linthicum Heights.
The other four Democrats in attendance slated to run in the June 28 primary: former nonprofit executive Jon Baron; former Attorney General Doug Gansler; former Obama administration official Ashwani Jain; and Baltimore businessman Mike Rosenbaum.
Three other candidates presented their platforms: Republicans Robin Ficker and Del. Daniel L. Cox, who represents parts of Carroll and Frederick counties, and David Lashar, an information technology executive from Annapolis who represents the Libertarian Party.
The only woman in the race, Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz who resides in Frederick County and a Republican, wasn’t able to attend.
The second four-year term for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan expires in January 2023.
Some residents, including Kema Hutchinson-Harris of Clinton, said they’re focusing on local races such as Prince George’s County executive and state’s attorney.
“I’m not even paying attention to the governor’s race like I should be,” she said Saturday, Oct. 16. “You have Rushern Baker and most of the County Council backing him, so you already know what type of show it’s going to be. I don’t think anybody [running] is going to bring any change[s].”