When someone has been doing a job for so long, they become synonymous with that job.
That job is who they are, what they’ve become, and what they’ve been doing for a period of
Robert Curran, City Councilman for the third district of Baltimore City, has become his
job. That is until he retires this year. Curran has decided to retire for medical purposes and he
wanted to spend more time with his family.
Curran has won elections in the years 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011. He said that he
won those elections with the vast amount of support he has had, but noted there has been a
change in the times. “In my first election I had 120 people working for me,” he said. “In the last
election I had four.”
So Curran is retiring. What does that mean for Baltimore? Certain and undeniable
change. Rochelle, “Rikki” Spector, City Councilwoman for the 5th district of Baltimore, Helen
Holton, City Councilwoman for the 8th district of Baltimore and, most notably, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are stepping down from their positions.
Curran has been in office since 1995, and for the first time in a generation, there will be a
new elected official. Meghan Hardy, the secretary for Curran, said, “There are a lot of older folks that know him, but the younger people will not realize how great of a job he’s done until he's For some, he was the only councilman that they’ve known their entire life. Citizens
notice little things he has done, how he treats people and the connections he has made in his time in office.
“The workers who do work in the city remember his kindness and he talks to everyone
like they're equal. He does not look down on anyone,” Hardy said.
For many, time in office gives them an opportunity to leave a legacy. Curran best
described his legacy as, “I’m proud to say I've saved lives, a lot of folks can't say that. I made a
He refers to those suffering from second-hand smoking illnesses. Curran was directly
involved in helping pass the Clean Indoor Air Act in Maryland of 2007, which prohibits using
tobacco related products in indoor public places open to the public, mass transit vehicles and all indoor workplaces.
“I’m proud that I have been directly responsible for reducing the mortality rate for
tobacco-related illness in the city of Baltimore and state of Maryland,” he said.
Curran serves as the chairman of the council health committee so he has direct
involvement in pushing a city wide smoking ban.
He has not only saved human lives but animals, too. He has restored and improved
funding for the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, also known as BARCS. He helped
improve funding for BARCS because he understood its importance to Baltimore city.
In five years, BARCS officials reduced death rates by 77 percent to 22 percent.
“Before BARCS came into Baltimore, the euthanasia rate for animals in Baltimore that
came into shelters was at 98 percent,” he said. “I was also able to get additional funding for
veterinarians for the BARCS facility to stave off cuts and make sure they stay open on
Curran supported police officers in Baltimore use of body cameras, voting for the the
measure in Nov. 2014. That was a bill that the current mayor vetoed.
Forward-thinking and progressive, Curran is someone who understands the importance of
the little things while being a people person who addresses the needs of the community.
Chris Muldowney, a social worker for seniors a part time job, attended meetings for
Curran as a director for community outreach. He attested to his bosses approach to getting things
“Everyone sees a piece that we're working on with him but no one sees the whole big
picture cause he does so much,” Muldowney said. “He's a people-centered councilman.”
“He sticks to what he was doing. He would not be deterred from what he was doing until
it is done.” Muldowney added.
Curran takes pride in finishing tasks and working hard. Losing a family member, a fellow
politician, taught him those traits.
J. Joseph Curran Sr. died when he was in office, 11 months after suffering a heart attack
while still in office. The younger Curran was a child at the time. With his father’s example, he
worked diligently and faithfully for Baltimore city.
“I think he does what he does because of his legacy,” Hardy said. “His father was a
soldier of service to people and his wants to carry that out. He does what he does because of his
Curran’s values and integrity carried him during his time in office.
“He's an open book but there is so much that people don't know,” Hardy continued. “He
doesn't ask for a lot of sympathy with his health he just does his job unwavering.”
For the past 20 years, Curran has shown perseverance, kindness and benevolence for
many others. It is why many will miss him. Curran personified what councilman is and set