Harris begins bid for council presidency

January 30, 2007|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun Reporter

Calling for "leadership that's not soft," City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. officially announced his candidacy for City Council president yesterday, becoming the second candidate to enter the race.

Harris, 43, has developed a reputation in recent months for questioning Martin O'Malley's mayoral administration, especially for its police policies. Harris represents the 4th District in North Baltimore.

"When we say that we are serious about Baltimore, we mean that we are serious about giving government and its communities the resources and support they need to break the cycle of violence that is destroying our families and our neighborhoods," Harris said during his announcement at the Belvedere Square shopping center.

Harris, who was first elected in 1999, is one of several council members running, or contemplating a run for higher office at a time when Mayor Sheila Dixon is serving the remaining 11 months of O'Malley's term. The current council president, Stephanie C. Rawlings Blake, has said she will seek a full term.

Bill Henry, 38, a neighborhood advocate and director of commercial development at the Patterson Park Community Development Corp., has already announced he will seek to fill the seat left vacant by Harris. The city primary will take place Sept. 11.

"He'll stand up to a mayor. He'll stand up to a governor. He'll even sometimes stand up to a United States senator," joked Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, who stood by Harris as he announced his candidacy. "But he always does it because of his passion for the people of our city."

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