By Tashi McQueen, AFRO Political Writer,
Report For America Corps Member,
An avid community leader from the start, Del. Stephanie Smith, born in Virginia Beach, Va., is running for re-election in District 45 of Maryland.
“My biggest inspiration was my grandmother,” said Smith. “I was blessed to have my grandmother and grandfather in my life.”
Smith owes a lot of who she is to her grandmother, who was an influential person in her community throughout her childhood.
“She was an example that you don’t have to have an official title to be a leader or to make a difference,” said Smith. “She was active in the church, respected as a community mother and brought different walks of life together.”
Smith said she recognized early on in life that community leaders go beyond the title. Real community leaders follow their passion for helping the community and are active members.
Smith took on the task and became an active community member herself. She is the first college graduate in her family. She has four brothers and sisters.
In 2003 Smith went to Hampton University and received a Bachelors in Political Science. In 2006 she attended the University of Delaware for her Masters in Urban Affairs and Public Policy.
Smith attended Howard University School of Law for her J.D. in 2009. She worked at the AmeriCorps VISTA and was a fellow of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. She worked at Earthjustice as Staff Attorney from 2010-2016.
“I moved to Baltimore for love,” said Smith. “I followed my now husband here for work.”
She and her family live in East Baltimore, where her children were born and are being raised.
Smith has been a delegate since 2019. She won the 2022 primary by 22.8 percent while her opponents Caylin Young, by 22.6 percent and Jackie Addison, by 25.3 percent. A Republican candidate is running, Antonio Barboza. With only three seats available for the District, one Democrat may get knocked out of their seat on Nov. 8.
Smith received the “Very Important Professionals Successful by 40” award from The Daily Record in 2019.
She currently works as the Assistant Director for the Department of Planning Equity, Engagement and Communications in Baltimore.
There were rumors of a riff between Sen. Cory McCray of District 45 and Smith.
McCray said Stephanie Smith is bright but didn’t vote for his agenda, which caused him to distance himself from her.
McCray did not confirm his opinions on Smith in an interview with the AFRO. He instead mentioned his support for those who are “willing” to work with him and her fellow Democratic candidates, Addison and Young.
Cory McCray has been a Maryland State Senator of District 45 since 2019.
When a senator backs something, the delegates support the senator’s Bill.
Last session, McCray’s Bill was held onto by the city’s House delegation about soil conservation for their district. In 2020, the HB094 Bill for alcoholic beverages and licensing for District 45 was held up by Smith. The legislation was paired with McCray’s Bill in the Senate.
Despite all this, Smith said she is willing to work with McCray for the sake of the district moving forward.
“Dissonance like this often happens,” said Nina Kasniunas, a political science professor at Goucher College. “I have no doubt they will put the disagreeing aside for the sake of District 45. They are professionals.
Smith has and or supports legislation on air pollution, gun violence issues, mental health, housing, public safety, leveraging technology and climate change.
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