Schmoke calls for students' energies Mayor avoids commitment on run for governor

April 14, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

The nation needs the "commitment, energy and ideas of the educated young people," to make progress in its communities, Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke told about 70 Western Maryland College students last night.

Some of the students responded by grilling him about his stand on several controversial topics, including welfare reform.

"We need a program that will guarantee a job, a career ladder and a livable wage," Mr. Schmoke told a student who asked about a welfare programs. "There are too many people that work and don't make a decent living wage, and we see them down at the soup kitchens."

In his 20-minute speech, Mr. Schmoke stressed that citizen participation in neighborhoods is needed to bring about positive economic and political changes, and cultivate interracial understanding.

"I believe the more we know about each other, the more willing we are to elect each other, build communities together and fight social injustice," Mr. Schmoke said. "I want those who have always been included to learn about the excluded, and those who have historically been excluded to be fully included."

Mr. Schmoke also addressed his political aspirations during a 50-minute, question-and-answer session, but stopped short of declaring his candidacy for governor.

In response to a recent newspaper article in which Mr. Schmoke was suggested as a possible Supreme Court nominee, one student asked whether the Baltimore mayor had "anyone in mind" for President Clinton to appoint.

Mr. Schmoke said he was "enjoying being mayor of Baltimore" too much to consider being on the highest court in the country.

Is he running for governor?

"Well, the governor has a bit to do with the city, too," Mr. Schmoke said, smiling.

Mr. Schmoke said he has been canvassing the state to see what people in different areas expect of the governor.

"I'll make a decision based on three things: Personal issues -- what will the effects be on my family if I run? Policy -- what are the issues? And political -- can I win?"

Mr. Schmoke has several ties to Western Maryland College. He received an honorary doctorate in law from the college in 1984 during the inauguration of President Robert H. Chambers. Mr. Schmoke has been a member of the college's Board of Trustees since 1987.

His visit last night was sponsored by the Black Student Union.

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