Elijah Cummings – What Does He Do For the 7th District?
In 1996, Elijah Cummings won a special election to succeed Kweisi Mfume as the Congressman for the heavily gerrymandered 7th Congressional District in Maryland.
By population, Baltimore City was – and is – the heart of the liberal district with more conservative voters from portions of Baltimore and western Howard County added to pad the voter rolls to have sufficient numbers to constitute a congressional district. The purpose certainly wasn’t to add balance.
The full District was over two-thirds Democrat. But “taking” GOP voters away from more “friendly” Congressional districts was an added appeal.
As a result, Elijah Cummings, for the past twenty years, has been safely ensconced in his Congressional seat facing – until this year – only nominal opposition.
What has Cummings done for the 7th District in these two decades?
Oh, indeed, he was on the TV a lot before the 2016 election castigating House Republicans for focusing on scandals with Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration.
But the heart of the 7th District has very serious problems not solved by political posturing and grandstanding by its incumbent Congressman. There is no other way to put it. Baltimore City is in sorry shape.
Crime – 343 homicides in 2017 (up from 318 in 2016). Violent crime (rape, assault, etc.) is up 15%, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Education – school buildings are “less than functional” and the local teachers union described conditions there as “inhumane” during the cold spell in early January.
Unemployment – the unemployment rate for black households is more than three times the unemployment rate for white households.
I fully recognize that dealing with these massive problems should be the primary responsibility of local city officials – the mayor, city council members, Board of Education, etc.
But what has the city’s closest federal office holder done to assist with solutions? Has he simply been passive – taking the attitude that conditions in the city are not his problem and hence not his responsibility? But how can he? Does he really care about the city that has kept him in a cushy, well-paying job for two decades?
If he did, he’d use his bully pulpit to urge - to demand - that his constituents vote out the people who have presided over Baltimore City’s massive decay.
But, of course, Elijah Cummings won’t. He can’t. He’s a very liberal Democrat who undoubtedly supports the local office holders and their policies which are responsible – at least in part – for Baltimore’s sad plight.
Isn’t it long past time for change?
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