Mayor Brandon M. Scott Becomes 52nd Mayor of Baltimore
Saturday Dec 12th, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (December 8, 2020) — At a small ceremony in the Rotunda of City Hall on Tuesday afternoon, Brandon M. Scott took the oath of office and was officially sworn in as the 52nd Mayor of Baltimore.
He delivered remarks outlining his priorities over the next term, which include building public safety, making Baltimore equitable, prioritizing our youth and restoring public trust in city government.
"We are in the midst of battling two public health emergencies: COVID-19 and a gun violence epidemic... We must understand the ways these dual emergencies of violence and the pandemic exacerbate the underlying and obvious inequities facing our residents," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott in remarks delivered outside of City Hall after the swearing in. "Through fresh thinking, transparency, professionalism, integrity, and hard work, we can meet these challenges."
Following this afternoon's inauguration ceremony, the Mayor spoke to a middle school social studies class and held his first executive cabinet meeting with agency leaders and executive staff.
Remarks As Delivered:
Good afternoon, Baltimore. My name is Brandon M. Scott. I stand before you for the first time as your Mayor.
Let me start by thanking my parents, my dearly departed grandparents, my colleagues on the City Council, and my staff.
Thank you to Mayor Young. You stepped up to serve when our city needed you, and you did so selflessly and tirelessly. The residents of Baltimore and I owe you a debt of gratitude.
I especially would like to thank the people of Baltimore for putting your trust in me to lead you through this most difficult time. And it is a very difficult time!
We are in the midst of battling two public health emergencies: COVID-19 and a gun violence epidemic. COVID cases and deaths are rising, small businesses are suffering, and an eviction crisis looms over our city. Not to mention the huge fiscal hit to our City’s budget that will require sacrifices.
We are also losing far too many lives to violence and preventable overdose deaths every year.
That must change. We can never allow this to become normalized.
We must also understand the ways these dual emergencies of violence and the pandemic exacerbate the underlying and obvious inequities facing our residents.
I am humbled by the task before us, and I have hope … but I am not naive to the challenges we face.
You have entrusted me to be your Mayor in this critical moment. Through fresh thinking, transparency, professionalism, integrity, and hard work, we can meet these challenges.
You will not agree with everything I do. But I know you agree that the status quo cannot continue, and under my leadership, it will not.
Under my leadership we will chart a new way forward.
But first, we need a new foundation. Our City remains unsafe and dirty, despite the way we invest our public dollars in our budget.
We will get back to the basics of safe neighborhoods, reliable trash and recycling collection, plowed roads, dependable public transit, clean and affordable water, and a good education. All with a focus on equity.
This starts with public safety.
The trauma and violence in our city is personal for me, just like it is for you.
Reducing murders in our city will not be easy -- but, it is a challenge we must meet and attack -- because we have to.
Our crime-fighting strategies clearly have not yielded the results we need as we continue to lose too many people to violence, and as those committing these acts remain comfortable on our streets.
This is unacceptable and will change.
Every day we do not transform our approach, every day we don’t build public safety, the consequences are measured in the loss of Black Lives.
I want you to know that every day I will work tirelessly to change that.
Baltimore, we must reimagine public safety.
Gone are the days where we attempt to solely police our way out of our problems. That strategy does not work. It has not worked. It will not work.
I am moving us away from a one-size-fits-all response to crime, to an all-hands-on-deck strategy.
Under my leadership, every day, every agency head must use their resources to reduce murders and build public safety, hand-in-hand with our communities.
As Mayor, I will focus on addressing the root causes of crime and investing in our communities, so we can sustainably decline the violence and improve outcomes for our residents -- all while acting with urgency to address that happens daily.
Let me be clear: this will be done while fully supporting the Consent Decree to ensure our police department operates in a constitutional way and our communities drive the process. We can do this.
Under my leadership, we will also recognize the ongoing overdose epidemic as the public health crisis that it is and focus on a harm reduction approach to saving lives.
My goal as Mayor is to preserve the lives of all of our residents. This is our most important work.
We must also continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone must do their part.
As your Mayor, I will not waiver or hesitate to make decisions that save lives and protect our economy. I want to ensure every Baltimorean wears a mask. I want to ensure every Baltimorean can get tested and can access the vaccine.
Our decisions will not always be easy and often will feel harsh. But they will always be guided by science and our public health officials.
COVID-19 has taught us many lessons about what’s possible when “normal” gets thrown out the window. Like the importance of investing in municipal broadband to close the digital divide and position our city for the future.
Ultimately, we must focus on a health and fiscal recovery that builds a more equitable Baltimore.
COVID has harmed the delivery of city services. It has disrupted trash collection and eliminated recycling collection, despite the continued and heroic work of our frontline workers.
We will resume recycling collection but we won't stop there — we must pursue a zero waste future, not just for a cleaner city and Harbor, but also for the next generation.
Our young people are Baltimore’s greatest untapped resource. They are the key to realizing Baltimore’s true potential of lower crime, better schools and stronger neighborhoods.
I want to ensure that every young person in Baltimore can thrive, regardless of where they grow up or what high school they attend. They will have a seat at the table in my administration as we forge this future together.
Equity will be my guiding principle, from the way we invest in our Black and Brown communities and businesses to the way we govern. Ensuring all residents get what they need, despite the legacy of racist policies and practices that sit at the root of many of our problems here in Baltimore.
It is why I passed Baltimore’s equity law, which I am thrilled to implement as Mayor.
This is our new way forward.
What is before us is foundational work.
This term is about changing business-as-usual and building strategies that serve all of us better.
It’s about tearing down what doesn’t work and laying a foundation, brick by brick, that allows the next generation to thrive.
This term is not about cutting ribbons, highlights, or headlines.
We will celebrate our wins, but this term is fundamentally about doing the work.
I am not some savior for our city. No one is coming to save us. We have the ability to save ourselves.
We all have a role to play in building a safer, functioning, and equitable city, and the only way forward is together.
I am committed to working with Council President Mosby, Comptroller Henry, the City Council, and everyone else who believes Baltimore can be better. We have to do that hard work together.
As I close, let me be clear: I am unafraid to do the right thing over the popular one, even if it hurts me politically.
Because this term is about doing what is required to chart a new path, save lives and prepare Baltimore for a prosperous and equitable future.