Maryland’s 46th Legislative District made a choice last Tuesday to change its leadership. A 27 year old lawyer and former teacher for Teach for America, Bill Ferguson, defeated six-term incumbent George Della. I wrote last week that this political match up of the young idealist versus the political machine is the stuff of Hollywood drama. However, this is reality and it happened where you live.
How did this happen? Some may say that it was Ferguson’s backing from the Local 1199 of the liberal leaning Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which propelled him to a win. Some Della supporters have claimed that his victory was directly related to his backing from developer Pat Turner. Others have pointed to the generation gap and presented the 2008 Presidential election as an example. The younger Ferguson used social media and internet ads to get those out who would most likely vote for him. In actuality, it was probably a combination of all these factors which caused him to win the primary. And remember, funding from large corporations and institutions is only a societal evil when that backing can be seen to influence voting and action detrimental to that district’s constituency – and that remains to be seen.
The job of the 46th District’s inhabitants is now two-fold. First, and foremost, we must make sure he carries through on his commitment to education. As he states, “The way that I had perceived the world was, frankly, not realistic. I sort of believed in the power of markets, this idea of the private sector is providing everything that’s needed,” but he says he learned that the core presumption of free-market theories—that “everybody has perfect information” —is a sham. “If we have a public education system that is not even coming close to providing everybody with the opportunity to obtain a great education, it’s simply a flawed system.” The gulf between the have and have-nots in the district and nation-wide only widens with a lack of access to the systems and institutions which guide this society. Secondly, Bill Ferguson will be the leader of a District that is the essence of Baltimore’s tourism and development interests. What happens around our harbor is vital to the city’s future. So we should all say “Welcome State Senator Ferguson. You will be watched.”
For more information, go to http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2010/09/15/bil-ferguson-knocks-six-term-incumbent-george-della-out-of-office/