Catherine Pugh (Catherine Elizabeth Pugh) was born on 10 March 1950. A public servant for nearly 20 years, Catherine Pugh was first elected to the Baltimore City Council in 1999 to represent the 4th District. In 2005, she was appointed to the House of Delegates of the Maryland General Assembly to represent the 40th District. She served for one year before running for her Senate seat in 2006. Her ability to negotiate, as well as her bipartisan approach to problem-solving, catapulted her into various leadership positions in the Maryland Senate, including Majority Leader.
In 2015, Catherine Pugh entered the Democratic race for Mayor of Baltimore and went on to win the election on November 8, 2016. On December 6, 2016, she took the oath of office, becoming Baltimore’s 50th mayor. Mayor Pugh is the visionary founder of the Baltimore Design School, a public school for sixth through twelfth graders. She is the founder of the Baltimore Marathon, which in its seventeenth year brings $30 million into the City.
Mayor Pugh has served on several boards, including the University of Maryland Medical Systems, the Council of State Governments, and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, where she served as President.
A successful businesswoman and small business owner, Mayor Pugh founded CEPugh and Company, a marketing and public relations firm. Throughout her professional life, she has worked as a banker, a business developer, Dean and Director of Strayer Business College, Special Editor for the Baltimore Sun, a television and radio news reporter, and talk show host. She is the author of a series of children’s books, as well as a book of inspirational poetry.
Mayor Pugh holds an MBA from Morgan State University and has received qualification from the University of California as an Economic Development Specialist. She has also been recognized for her leadership by numerous local and national organizations.
What Catherine Pugh Believe In
Reducing the violence in communities. She believes in taking a holistic approach to addressing the underlying causes of violence, rather than just the symptoms. This is reflected by her insistence that all City agency leaders come together each morning with police district commanders at Police Headquarters to identify and implement solutions to issues that create a sense of hopelessness in the City’s most troubled neighborhoods. These “Violence Reduction Initiative” meetings address blighted areas, high-crime zones and communities at risk and has resulted in shortening the response time in dealing with problems from 10-14 days to 1.5 days. The Mayor and Police Commissioner are fully committed to implementing the Department of Justice Consent Decree to address abuses in the police department and require a new level of accountability and transparency. Mayor Pugh is in favor of at least two private citizens being appointed to police trial boards that investigate allegations of police misbehavior.
In February 2017, the Mayor issued a “Call to Action” to community groups to join her in twice-monthly meetings to coordinate efforts and resources aimed at intervening in the lives of troubled youth and disrupting violence before it occurs. Through the Baltimore Community Small Grants program, in collaboration with the Jeanette and Harry Weinberg Foundation, small grant funding is extended to a variety of grassroots organizations focused on bettering their communities and enhancing the prospects of those they serve.
Some of the Mayor’s other efforts to reduce violence include the expansion of the effective Safe Streets program; the increased utilization of crime-fighting technology to ensure more effective policing and real-time response to criminal activity; the introduction of the nationally-recognized Roca Program which targets 17-24 year-olds who are at a crossroads in their lives, and inundates them with intervention and support. Caseworkers connect these youths with the services and care they need so that they have the opportunity and freedom to make smart and healthy life choices. Another key initiative involves the creation of Strategic Decision Support Centers in both the Eastern and Western Districts, which combine technology, data and intelligence to deploy officers to hot spots in real-time. Due to these efforts and the support of a community driven towards change, both total violent crime and total property are down 13% across the City. Homicides are down 16% city-wide, and down 31% in Baltimore’s Violence Reduction Zones.
Committed to improving communities across the City, so that every citizen has a safe and supportive place to live, work, and recreate. Through Project C.O.R.E., the Mayor is addressing the blight of vacant homes and clearing the way for new green spaces, affordable housing, and new opportunities for business owners. Baltimore currently has 14,000 dilapidated homes, and the Mayor and her Housing Department are on pace to remove 1,000 of them by year-end. The Mayor has also tasked the Housing Commissioner with creating a workforce training team to repair houses before they fall apart and is creating an investment fund to incentivize the development and occupancy of existing structures.
Two new schools have opened under the Mayor’s watch, Fort Washington Elementary and Middle School and Frederick Elementary School. Seven additional new schools are scheduled to open by next year. She has prioritized the refurbishment and improvement of our City’s parks, pools, recreation centers, fields and ball courts. One example of this is the recently renovated and iconic Shake and Bake Family Fun Center.
Most recently, Baltimore received a $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development as part of the city’s $889 million effort to transform neighborhoods in East Baltimore. This grant will be used to tear down the Perkins Homes, our City’s oldest public housing project and temporarily move its residents while the area is redeveloped into more than 1,300 mixed income housing units within a 244-acre transformation zone. Residents of Perkins Homes will then be welcomed back to the new development.
Committed to offering our City’s youth true opportunity for advancement. YouthWorks employed 9,000 students this past summer, up from 8,500 last year, engaging our youngest working-age citizens with real-world job training and experience. Our City’s recreation centers stayed open later on weekends to provide a safe outlet for socialization and community. The Mayor has also ordered that all recreation centers be open whenever schools are closed in order to provide food and constructive activities for neighborhood children and teens.
In addition, funding from the State of Maryland and the City of Baltimore will result in $2 billion being allocated to Baltimore’s public schools. Although the school system has been the primary responsibility of the State of Maryland since 1997, the City has increased its commitment to $19 million to ensure that we make the capital improvements necessary to keep our schools open and properly managed.
Because the Mayor believes that there is no more essential priority than clearing pathways for young people, she has made Baltimore City Community College free to all City school graduates. Every City graduate that wishes to pursue higher education will now have the opportunity to do so.
HEALTHY & LIVABLE COMMUNITIES
Mayor Pugh has engaged city agencies, non-profit organizations, private foundations, and corporations to revitalize communities across the City. She has opened the first Opioid Stabilization Center in the State to address the needs of community members afflicted with the disease of addiction. She works closely with organizations such as Be More Beautiful, Ceasefire, UMAR Boxing, No Hooks Before Books, No Boundaries Coalition, Community Mediation, Hugs Don’t Shoot, KEYES Development, and the Weinberg Foundation to decrease violence, increase beautification and renovation efforts, and provide wrap-around services to those most vulnerable and in need of resources.
With the aim of promoting inclusion and combating disparity, Mayor Pugh has re-established both the Women’s Commission and the LGBTQ Commission. These initiatives are proving to be catalysts for increased engagement among key stakeholders throughout the community, while also connecting them with ideas as well as essential resources. The Mayor is determined to make clear that all citizens have a role to play in how their city functions and believes that bringing people together is the surest way to identify solutions to difficult challenges and realize the full potential of communities.
Catherine Pugh: A Successful Businesswoman & Entrepreneur
A small business owner, Catherine is the President and CEO of C.E. Pugh & Company, a public relations consulting firm.
In the mid 1970’s, Catherine founded Baltimore’s first African American business newspaper, the African American News. For the next seven years, she served as the paper’s Managing Editor. The publication was the first of its kind and helped the African American community build a strong business network within Baltimore. Catherine also served as an independent editor for the Baltimore Sun from 1986 to 1992.
Catherine also served as the Dean & Director for Strayer Business College in Baltimore. Now called Strayer University, it has become one of the most respected adult focused universities in the United States.
Catherine returned to Philadelphia in 1994 to work in television at WTGW-TV 48. She was the host of “Another View,” a weekly public affairs program that called attention to critical policy issues within the African American community and featured interviews with prominent community leaders and public officials.
Catherine also authored “Mind Garden: Where Thoughts Grow and Healthy Holly”, a series of children’s book advocating for healthy children through exercise and proper eating.
Catherine is a graduate of Morgan State University, where she received her M.B.A. and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration.
A Leader in the Community
Catherine’s ongoing involvement in various academic, charitable, civic and business organizations is a testament to her dedication to the city of Baltimore.
Catherine is also a member of numerous boards, advisory committees and charitable organizations including the Design School of Baltimore, University of Maryland Medical Systems, the Center for Urban Families and the Maryland Center of Arts and Technology.
She has received numerous awards for her community advocacy, including the 2011 James Baldwin Medal for Civil Rights, honoring men and women in Maryland who have exemplified public service and have been active in the ongoing pursuit of civil and human rights for all people
She is the founder of the Baltimore Design School, a new public middle-high school that will open in the fall 2011, focusing on fashion design, architecture and graphic design. This school presents a huge opportunity for young students to discover and develop skills that will lead to good paying jobs and fulfilling careers in Baltimore, with local businesses and companies.
Working to develop an extensive plan to prevent and treat drug and alcohol abuse, she has been an active member of the Maryland State Drug & Alcohol Abuse Council.
In the Maryland Senate, Catherine worked hard to expand the Family Planning mentoring program for young, which helped reduce unwanted pregnancies and by doing so helped save the city millions of dollars in healthcare expenses.
- Catherine Pugh Biography and Profile (Catherine Pugh)