Subscribe
The Chatter

Meet the New City Council

Overhaul of City Hall begins today with swearing-in of eight new members.

By Ron Cassie | December 8, 2016, 2:05 pm

New 1st District City Councilman Zeke Cohen formally signing into office at the War Memorial building downtown Thursday. -Photography by Meredith Herzing
The Chatter

Meet the New City Council

Overhaul of City Hall begins today with swearing-in of eight new members.

By Ron Cassie | December 8, 2016, 2:05 pm

New 1st District City Councilman Zeke Cohen formally signing into office at the War Memorial building downtown Thursday. -Photography by Meredith Herzing

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

The overhaul of City Hall was made complete today. On the heels of new Mayor Catherine Pugh’s inauguration Wednesday, eight new City Council members were sworn into office this morning, marking a majority turnover of the 15-member legislative body.

“I think it’s a fresh breath of air,” said new 1st District Councilman Zeke Cohen.

Longtime City Council members Rikki Spector, Robert Curran, and Helen Holton—each with more than two decades in office—depart City Hall.

Also leaving office: Carl Stokes and Nick Mosby, both of whom gave up their seat and ran for mayor, Warren Branch and William Welch, who were defeated in Democratic primary battles, and James Kraft, who declined to seek reelection and pursued a City Circuit Court judgeship.

In their place, come a youthful, ambitious group.

“[City Council] President Jack Young is a team player and I look forward to being your teammate,” Pugh, who served on the council from 1999-2003, told the 72nd Baltimore City Council at the packed War Memorial building downtown. “[Your] concerns are my concern.”

(New to Baltimore or don’t know your City Council district? There’s an online map for that here.)

After the ceremony, Cohen said his focus will be on “getting our school system where it needs to be” and preparing city youth with the skills and opportunities to compete in the job market.

Shannon Sneed, a new City Council member from the 13th District, said her focus was jobs and workforce development.

New City Councilman John Bullock, from the 9th District, said he was concentrating on the city budget and constituent service, including addressing concerns around trash and vacant homes in his district.

The new City Council’s first meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. this afternoon. On the agenda is the formal adoption of several bills recently signed into law, including the city’s new zoning code, TransForm Baltimore, a process for issuing municipal I.D. cards to qualified city residents who request them, and the designation of several historical landmarks, including the Eastern Avenue Pumping Station and Patterson Park.

Only one new member, Ryan Dorsey, of the 3rd District, put forth an agenda item. Dorsey will introduce a resolution “opposing and condemning divisive and scapegoating rhetoric, rooted in hate and prejudice, and used, approved of, or encouraged by President-Elect Donald Trump targeting historically disenfranchised, marginalized, and oppressed groups.”

Meet the Newcomers

Council-Cohen.jpg#asset:37959:url
1st District: Zeke Cohen
A 30-year-old educator with a master’s degree in public policy from Johns Hopkins University, Cohen founded The Intersection, a nonprofit “dedicated to shifting expectations for Baltimore’s young people,” with two other city social studies teachers in 2011. Cohen is married and lives in Canton.

Council-Dorsey.jpg#asset:37960:url
3rd District: Ryan Dorsey
A 34-year-old arts and community activist, and lifelong resident of the 3rd District resident, Dorsey earned a degree in music composition from the Peabody Conservatory. A Mayfield resident, he has worked full-time as a project manager at Soundscape, a local, third-generation, family-run audio and visual business.

Council-Burnett.jpg#asset:37958:url
8th District: Kristerfer Burnett
An social justice advocate with community, labor, and affordable housing organizing experience, Burnett is a lifelong Baltimorean with master’s degree in public policy from UMBC. Burnett is married and Edmondson Village resident.

Council-Stokes.jpg#asset:37964:url
12th District: Robert Stokes Jr.

A 58-year-old with six years of experience as an assistant to former 12th District City Councilman Carl Stokes (no relation), Stokes Jr. received his boss’s endorsement and won a wide-open primary. Stokes has a long history in local politics, working as community representative under former Mayor Kurt Schmoke and assistant to former City Councilman president Lawrence Bell. He studied at Morgan State University and is an Oliver resident.

Council-Issac.jpg#asset:37961:url
5th District: Isaac Schleifer
A 27-year-old software entrepreneur, Schleifer won an upset victory in a contentious primary to become the first Orthodox Jewish City Councilman in decades. Schleifer, who goes by “Yitzi,” is a graduate of the University of Baltimore Merrick School for Business and a married father and Cheswolde resident.

Council-Leon.jpg#asset:37962:url
7th District: Leon Pinkett III
An assistant pastor and project manager for the City of Baltimore, Pinkett has significant political experience, serving as chief of staff for former City Councilman Keiffer Mitchell Jr., with a background in economic and neighborhood development. He is a married father of two and resident of Reservoir Hill.

Council-Bullock.jpg#asset:37957:url
9th District: John Bullock

A political science professor at Towson University, Bullock also recently served as executive director of the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance. Previously, he worked as planner in District of Columbia’s city government. A married father of two young sons, Bullock lives in Union Square.

Council-Shannon.jpg#asset:37963:url
13th District: Shannon Sneed

A recruitment specialist for a mentoring agency, Sneed, who lost a 2011 bid for her district’s City Council seat by 43 votes in 2011, has served as a board member of two local nonprofits, Belair Edison Neighborhoods and Banner Neighborhoods. She is a graduate of Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a new mother, and lives in Ellwood Park with her husband.

Returning City Council Members

President: Bernard “Jack” Young

2nd District: Brandon Scott

4th District: Bill Henry

6th District: Sharon Green Middleton

10th District: Edward Reisinger

11th District: Eric Costello




Meet The Author
Ron Cassie is a senior editor for Baltimore, where he covers the environment, education, medicine, politics, and city life


You May Also Like

History & Politics

Back to the Future

Kurt Schmoke was vilified for wanting to end the drug war. Today, his ideas are becoming reality.

The Chatter

Mayor Pugh Takes on Fox News’ Laura Ingraham

Fox News anchor grilled Baltimore mayor about gun control, education, and safety in Baltimore.

History & Politics

When Baltimore Burned

Fifty years ago this month, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. set off an upheaval in the city unlike anything since the Civil War.

History & Politics

Raising a Controversy

Marylanders love their unique flag. But do they know its association with the Confederate cause?

Arts & Culture

Female Trouble

Shawna Potter of War on Women talks music and the #MeToo movement.

The Chatter

Photos from March For Our Lives Rally in Washington D.C.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators came together to protest gun violence.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Post Typography Creates Underwater Art Piece For Light City’s Art Walk: Baltimore design agency teams up with PI.KL Studio and Figure 53 for installation.

Miss Gay Maryland Pageant Returns for its 34th Year: Drag queens show off personalities and talents in this trailblazing competition.

Halfway Through Light City, Crowds Continue to Flock Downtown : Tuesday night featured performances from an area step team and Fluid Movement.

The Land of Kush Owners Win Grant to Make Restaurant Cashless : Husband-and-wife team win $10,000 from Visa to help launch strictly digital sale system.

La Calle Bringing Modern Mexican Food Downtown This Summer: Globally influenced cantina set to open inside 10 South Street building near City Hall.