Amongst the popular names like the Catherine Pugh’s, Sheila Dixon’s, and Carl Stokes, there is a 28-year-old Harvard graduate named Calvin Young running for Mayor of Baltimore.
Young, who was born and raised in Baltimore, is trying to become the city’s 50th mayor. The democratic candidate is the youngest running for the position, which will be vacated when new Mayor Stephanie Rawlins-Blake steps down after one term.
Young said his age, which many observers see as a disadvantage, is an advantage for his campaign. “I am directly speaking to millennials who are growing up to be pro’s,” said Young, who views himself as a millennial.
He said the city needs his voice, and that his age may strike the attention of a younger voter. “Young people will listen,” he said.
According to the Baltimore City, Maryland statistics and demographics, people ages 18 through 34 represent 29.2 percent of the population. A stat that shows it will be imperative to not only get the majority of those voters, but it also shows there are 70.8 percent of people he may not reach.
Young also mentioned how his age, or experienced costs him literally and figuratively. “I am a wild card to the money in Baltimore,” he said. “People have campaigned before, they have established affiliations and networks that I just don’t have the [access] too.”
Young grew up in a single-parent household amongst four brothers. He and his siblings attended Baltimore public schools. He graduated from Poly, then he attended New York University, he received his degree in Mechanical Engineering. He then moved on to Harvard Business School, receiving a MBA there.
The former city youth commissioner plans to use his age to his advantage. “Let’s be charm city,” is his slogan. The phrase points to Young’s plans to change the city’s negative stereotypes of violence, crime and police brutality
However, becoming mayor was not a goal of his until late last summer. “My personality screams nerd, engineer, not politician.” He recalled a crossroad shortly after graduating college. In between wanting to start a career in engineering, and wanting to do more to help the city he loves. The potential of the city grabbed him, he wanted to help. By running for mayor,
Frederick Brown, a 20-year-old sophomore studying engineering at Morgan State, graduated from Baltimore’s Polytechnic Institute in 2014. He never knew Young but learned of his reputation.
“I didn’t know Calvin, but my brother who went to school with him said he was a leader in every aspect,” he said. Brown said he’s backing his fellow alumni.
Meanwhile, Young is a long shot to win.
Mary Davis, a resident of Baltimore for nearly 30 years, said she has observed the campaigns closely, attending events for various candidates. Asked about Young, she said, “That boy doesn’t have a chance in hell to win this race.”
Still, Young’s plan is to rebuild the middle class. He hopes to do so by creating more jobs. In a city where only 16 percent of teens are raised by married parents, according to a report done in May of last year by CNSNews. Young hopes to use his life experience to relate and develop relationships with those teens.
Young’s mother, Lisa Portee, worked as a Baltimore City correctional officer for 23 years. She is now his campaign treasurer. We grew up with a lot of the same struggles as everybody else,” Young told NewsOne. “I know what it’s like to have lights turned off. And I’ve seen extended family members incarcerated and experience depression, but we’ve been able to overcome it.”
One of Young’s proudest accomplishments is that he “pushed passed failure.”
Young explained how he started slow in college, eventually learning to make the “not easy decisions.” Young sees a city that like himself isn’t always dealt with the most ideal circumstances. He said coming through these, “circumstances tell you about character.”
That character he believes will help him one day be the face of the city of Baltimore.