February 11, 2019
The APL Black History Month Planning Committee is pleased to welcome Catherine Elizabeth Pugh, mayor of Baltimore, as a keynote BHM speaker.
Since taking office on December 6, 2016 as the 50th Mayor of the City of Baltimore, Catherine Elizabeth Pugh has pursued an aggressive agenda to revitalize neighborhoods, create pathways of opportunity for young people and enhance the safety of citizens, while ushering in a new era of community policing and accountability within the Baltimore Police Department.
As a public servant since 1999, Mayor Pugh understands that solutions to the most complex challenges are best determined through collaboration and sustained partnerships. She was first elected to the Baltimore City Council in 1999 to represent the 4th District, and in 2005 was appointed to the House of Delegates of the Maryland General Assembly, representing the 40th District. In that same year, then-Delegate Pugh ran for the State Senate and won decisively. Her bipartisan approach and skills as a keen negotiator led to her assuming various leadership positions in the Maryland Senate, including eventually serving as Majority Leader.
During her first year in office, Mayor Pugh launched the Violence Reduction Initiative which brings together leaders of every City department and agency with the Police Department’s District commanders each and every morning of the week to identify and address neighborhood problems that have the potential to lead to violence. This collaborative approach has led to the ability of City Agencies to respond to issues within a couple of days. In creating the Call To Action initiative, Mayor Pugh has brought together a wide variety of grassroots organizations committed to intervening in the lives of young people and disrupting the prospects for violence through bi-monthly gatherings during which resources are identified, combined and directed to serving those most at-risk. Recognizing the potential that technology offers in enhancing policing techniques, Mayor Pugh created a public-private partnership which raised over $15 million to implement new technology in the Police Department, and also fund the nationally-recognized youth diversion program, Roca. To date, these efforts have resulted in a steady decline in rates of violence across the board, and an overall reduction in violence of 23% in the first half of 2018.
Expanding opportunities for Baltimore’s youth is among the Mayor’s highest priorities. In December, 2017, Mayor Pugh made Baltimore City Community College free for any graduating high school student in the Baltimore City Schools system. In addition, she has expanded the highly-successful YouthWorks summer jobs program, resulting in nearly 9000 young people being employed during the summer of 2018 through a $20 million dollar public/private employment and funding partnership. One of Mayor Pugh’s last achievements as Senator was the passage of legislation that brought back $1 billion to fund the construction of 28 new schools in Baltimore City through 2019 – more than the total number of schools that will be built in the State of Maryland during the same period.
Mayor Pugh is committed to increasing equity throughout Baltimore City neighborhoods by attracting new investment, eliminating vacant and boarded housing and transforming communities with targeted resources. In May, 2018, Mayor Pugh launched the Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund with an initial commitment of $55 million that will serve as catalyst to attract further investment for the purpose of revitalizing Baltimore City neighborhoods. The Mayor’s introduction of the Baltimore Green Network in March, 2018 is central to her overall community development strategy. It aims to promote urban resiliency through land-use equity and connect Baltimore residents to a system of healthy, vibrant and resilient green spaces.
At the start of 2018, Mayor Pugh launched Baltimore’s first-ever Digital Transformation Strategic Plan to better position Baltimore as a hub for technology innovation and to ensure a more accountable and transparent government. The Plan provides a roadmap for transforming the City’s digital infrastructure, empowering all citizens with the benefits of technology and growing Baltimore’s tech industry and workforce.
Prior to assuming her Mayoral office, Catherine Pugh was a successful businesswoman, serving as President of CEPugh and Company, a marketing and public relations firm. She has worked as a banker, business developer, Dean and Director of Strayer Business College, Special Editor of the Baltimore Sun, and as a television and radio news reporter and talk show host. She is the author of a series of children’s books, as well as an inspirational book of poetry.
Mayor Pugh holds an MBA from Morgan State University and has received qualification from the University of California as an Economic Development Specialist. The Mayor has served on many boards during her career and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Maryland Medical Systems, the Council of State Governments and is a former president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. In June, 2018, Mayor Pugh was elected by the US Conference of Mayors as Chair of the Task Force on the US Census.