BALTIMORE – U. S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) recently continued his ongoing conversations with businesses and members of the communities directly affected by the events that followed the Freddie Gray tragedy. Local residents and business owners in the Matthew A. Henson Neighborhood Association led Friday’s frank discussion with Senator Cardin at the Matthew A. Henson Elementary School on how to spur a sustained recovery for local communities. Neighborhood association members and Senator Cardin exchanged perspectives on a wide range of mutual goals, including supporting economic and employment growth, improving public education, restoring trust in law enforcement and reducing crime, violence and drug use.
“The recovery of these Baltimore communities must include improvements to the public education system, renewed small business growth, job training programs that lead to real economic opportunities, and enhanced social services like health and child care. But we can’t end our efforts there,” said Senator Cardin. “We also must act to address the issues that have led to an erosion of trust among communities and law enforcement, taking steps like ending racial profiling and advancing judicial sentencing reforms. I am preparing to bring forward a broad legislative package designed to address a variety of law enforcement and socioeconomic challenges across the urban landscape, both in Baltimore and beyond. I found Friday’s conversation with Sandtown-Winchester residents extremely helpful in scoping the details of that legislation.”
Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, also noted his particular appreciation for officials from the Small Business Administration who attended the forum.
“Hundreds of businesses were harmed by rioting in Baltimore and tens of millions of dollars in expenses and economic activity were lost, making it more essential than ever that our city receives the strong federal support that we on Team Maryland have long fought to deliver,” said Senator Cardin. “In recent meetings at the White House and with key Cabinet-level officials, the Obama Administration has underlined its unwavering support to Baltimore’s recovery efforts. Recent actions by the SBA and other agencies have confirmed that commitment, and I will work to ensure that the federal government continues addressing not only the immediate aftermath of the Freddie Gray tragedy, but the underlying causes of the persistent decay that confronts too many people in so many of our urban communities.”