Hundreds packed into the War Memorial Building on N. Gay Street on Thursday, May 9, 2019 to see Bernard C. “Jack” Young take the Oath of Office as the 51st Mayor of Baltimore City. Among them was Ida M. Rather, mother of the city’s newest mayor.
“I am so proud of my son,” said Rather who witnessed the special moment a few days shy of Mother’s Day. “I thank God for all of my children. All of them are my favorites. I thank God for allowing me to see what I have witnessed here today.”
Ursula V. Battle
Mayor Young highlighted Ms. Rather in his speech.
“My mother, a homemaker who helped to raise ten children in a small East Baltimore rowhouse is here today to witness her middle child… I’m the middle child ya’ll…be sworn in as the 51st mayor of Baltimore City,” said Young. “It’s a moment I’m sure she never dreamt of when I was a young child running around in our East Baltimore neighborhood.”
Young’s ascension from East Baltimore to the mayor’s seat is the story of one’s man will to bring about change in his native city through politics. He served from 2010 to 2019 as the President of the Baltimore City Council, and for 14 years prior to that as a District Councilman.
Mayor Young made his mark in city government with a reputation for highly effective constituent services and for a dedication to youth, seniors, education and public safety.
“I am honored to be here with you today,” said Mayor Young. “For the past 23 years, I have had the privilege of being a public servant to the people of Baltimore…who are some of the most resilient and determined people around.”
Young began leading the city April 1, 2019, when former mayor Catherine Pugh took a leave of absence from the position after what her lawyer Steven Silverman described as health concerns stemming from a bout with pneumonia. Pugh is facing corruption allegations and resigned from the position May 2, 2019 amid a scandal surrounding her self-published book, ‘Healthy Holly.’
Second District Councilman Brandon Scott was named the new Baltimore City President Monday, May 6, 2019. Sixth District Councilwoman Sharon Middle is Vice-President of the Batimore City Council.
“To the incredible members of the Baltimore City Council,” said an emotional Mayor Young amidst tears, “I’ve enjoyed working alongside you for many years. I would like to give recognition to our new president Mr. Brandon Scott and Vice President Middleton. Thank you for stepping up and serving with dignity, class and humility during this time of transition.”
Ursula V. Battle
Young also pledged to do his part to help turn around a city plagued with violence – but cautioned that he could not do it alone.
“I can’t reduce violent crime by myself, the police commissioner can’t reduce it by himself, President Brandon Scott and the City Council can’t do it by itself…but it takes all of us,” said Mayor Young. “Every last person in this room who are citizens of Baltimore to roll up their sleeves and reduce the crime.”
Mayor Young also said the city can no longer be held hostage by violent offenders.
“We need to flip the script and let them know they are not going to take over this city,” Mayor Young told the cheering crowd. “They are not going to continue to shoot women and children, because we are fed-up and tired of all the crime happening in the city of Baltimore.”
Governor Larry J. Hogan, Jr., Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne A. Jones, and former Congressman Kweisi Mfume, were among those who spoke during the Inaugural Ceremony.
“I have the upmost faith in the strength and character of the men and women who call Baltimore home,” said Gov. Hogan. “It is because of their resilience I believe the city’s future can be better than its present, and higher than its historic past. We must be willing to work together. The fight for Baltimore City’s future is a fight worthy fighting. Mayor Young, I look forward to working with you to help revitalize this great city.”
In 2016, voters in Baltimore overwhelmingly approved Young’s charter amendment – Question E – that established a continuing, non-lapsing Children and Youth Fund to be used exclusively to provide supplemental funding to services for children and youth.
“His number one priority has always been youth engagement,” said Senator Cardin referring to Mayor Young. “He knows Baltimore’s future is in its youth, and he has made it a top priority. We need good government and transparency in Baltimore City. We are all on Team Baltimore. In this time of great need, Mayor Young has stepped up to lead the city. Batimore is in capable hands. Congratulations Mr. Mayor.”
Mayor Young got his start in politics as a former special assistant to then-City Council President Mary Pat Clarke. A strong advocate for neighborhood development, Mayor Young has driven the development of more than 80 affordable housing projects in neighborhoods throughout the city.
Mayor Young and his wife have two adult daughters and three grandchildren. He attends United Baptist Church in East Baltimore, where the Rev. Dr. Carl Solomon is pastor. Dr. Solomon along with Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum, director of the Jewish Uniformed Service Association of Maryland, prayed during the Inaugural Ceremony.
“Rev. Dr. Solomon and Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum will continue to evoke more of what we need more than anything else, and that’s a divine presence over this city for all the lives, and all of the futures, and all the hopes that have to be lifted,” said Mfume.