And the journey begins….
On December 5, 2016, I attended my last official meeting as a member of the Baltimore City Council. This young man standing beside me represents more to me than he will ever know. On the night this photo was taken he was the Council Representative-Elect to be sworn in as the new representative of the 8th District in just a few days away. His name is Kristerfer Burnett, a young man I met many more years ago than I had remembered from our most recent connection a couple of years ago. We were standing together sharing a moment during the reception in honor of the eight council members leaving the City Council at the end of the term on December 7, 2016.
This night for me was the conclusion of City Council meetings that had begun almost 21 years to the day. When I began this journey Kristerfer was in elementary school and here he was this evening, a young, accomplished, hard-working married man in line to be the second City Council representative of the 8th District since the district was created by legislation in 2003. When I was sworn-in as a representative of the people 21 years earlier I was just a few years older than my successor.
This evening represented the beginning of my retirement from public office. Every time I say the words retirement, I am still amazed at how long I have served in this role and realize it has been nothing short of God’s plan for my life. From the very beginning, it has always been my goal and intention to serve my community and my City with distinction and honor. To give voice to those whose voices are seldom heard in places of power, to be their voice and presence to speak up and out on their behalf to bring about justice, equity, and opportunity.
I have worked hard and sacrificed a lot over these past two decades and am honored to have been chosen by the people to represent their interests and needs. Working with my constituents and my colleagues in government we accomplished some significant gains and progress. Is there more to be done? Absolutely!
I’m excited about my new representative, Councilman Kristerfer Burnett. I worked hard to help him become the new representative of the 8th District and will be a concerned and participative citizen to assist in making our district and our city all that it can be. That is how real democracy works. It is more than something we do in our minds and social conversation. Representing the people is no small feat and demands everything you have to give and some. It is not for the faint of heart.
My leaving public office is also an incredible opportunity to begin a new chapter of life. I am clear that God created me to live a life of service to others and I have grown to embrace this reality with joy and excited anticipation for what’s ahead. If I know nothing else, the best is yet to come. Stay tuned….