In becoming Baltimore’s 50th mayor today, Democrat Catherine Elizabeth Pugh vowed to work with Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and, hopefully, Republican President-Elect Donald Trump to bring state and federal aid to Baltimore.
During her inaugural address inside the War Memorial Building, Pugh disclosed that she had drafted a letter for Trump to try to convince him to invest in Baltimore.
“When [Trump] talks about infrastructure in an urban environment, I say, ‘that’s our city,’” Pugh said. “When he talks about creating jobs and opportunity, I say, ‘that’s our city.’”
She said she wanted Hogan to accompany her to Washington to deliver the letter, a prospect that raised eyebrows since Hogan never endorsed Trump as president and pointedly told reporters he did not plan to vote for him in the general election.
During today’s inaugural address, Pugh turned to Hogan, who was among a who’s-who of state elected officials. “I look forward to our partnership. We had one when I was in Annapolis, and I look forward to our continuing relationship.”
Every Neighborhood Should be Greatest
In his own remarks, Hogan praised the new mayor, a career politician who served in the City Council and represented West Baltimore’s 40th District as a state Senator between 2007 and her resignation yesterday.
Hogan said she will “work tirelessly to address the problems” facing Baltimore. Pugh today outlined those problems as including crime, blight, high unemployment, struggling public education and homelessness.
“We understand that downtowns are important, but so are neighborhoods,” she said. “From east to west, north to south, every neighborhood deserves to be the greatest.”
She continued, “We can do better, and we will do better. But it’s about understanding that 76,000 are unemployed in our city, 3,000 sleep on the streets of our city each day.”
Pugh took the oath of office from Judge Shirley Watts of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Five former mayors attended the inauguration, including Sheila Dixon, who staged a last-minute write-in campaign to defeat Pugh in the general election.
Praising her father for instilling in her a belief that she could be anything she wanted if she worked hard enough, the 66-year-old thanked city residents for the opportunity to become their “servant leader.”