After declaring he has plans to run for Mayor of Baltimore, Civil Rights activist DeRay Mckesson, 30, has raised over $77,000 in nine days and has outlined his plans for the city, releasing them on Friday [February 12, 2016] according to the Huffington Post.
Mckesson’s plans are focused on education, youth development, safety and community prosperity. He is expected to release more of his plans in the coming weeks.
“He wants to expand full-day, public pre-K in order to enroll every low-income 3- and 4-year-old in the city; create literacy-rich educational environments to support children’s early cognitive development; set up full academic scholarships for low-income graduates of public schools; and promote a ‘radical transformation’ of Baltimore City Community College to improve graduation rates and create a stronger curriculum,” according to reports.
Mckesson is also demanding the release of internal audits from city schools. His plans include fixing the public school funding formula to fill a gap in school funding, which has left more than 100 staffers jobless and schools left with 170 vacant staff positions.
Another one of his plans is to get rid of policing methods including illegal “choke holds” like the one Eric Garner was killed with in New York City. Mckesson suggests the city’s police department and courts no longer accept police officer excuses of resorting to violence because they suspected the person for “reaching for their weapon.” This means replacing firearms with smart guns, redistributing part of the city’s police budget to communities most affected by crime as well as creating a city commission to divert drug addicts to treatment rather than taking them to jail.
According to reports, “The community prosperity portion of Mckesson’s platform focuses on economics. His main points address increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding youth employment by hiring directly from neighborhoods with high drop-out rates and unemployment, and establishing transitional work opportunities for ex-convicts and impoverished citizens.”
The race includes 29 candidates, 13 of which are Democrats looking to fill the soon to be empty seat that Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is leaving. With that, Mckesson is only the second candidate to begin releasing his plans.
Sheila Dixon, former Baltimore mayor, is currently the front runner in the race. January polls show her leading with 27 percent of the vote.