BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Baltimore mayor Shelia Dixon announced Saturday morning that she’s running again for mayor.
This comes almost a decade after she was found guilty of embezzling gift cards and stepped down as mayor.
Dixon, 65, made that announcement in southwest Baltimore at the Ruth M. Kirk Recreation and Learning Center in the Franklin Square neighborhood.
“It took a lot for me to decide to get back into this race,” Dixon said. “For most people who know me I don’t like politics, I love service.”
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During her opening speech, she said she believes she has what it takes to manage the city and offered an apology.
“As I said in the beginning, I’m sorry for the mistakes I made that brought my term to an end,” Dixon said. “It is because I had to leave office, that I will work three times as hard to be the next mayor. It is because I had to leave office that I will greet each day with a sense of urgency, holding myself and others accountable — and pressing forward for better action. I believe redemption makes you even stronger especially when you have the love of Baltimore like I do.”
Dixon is hoping that Baltimore can look past the scandal that forced her to resign and once again become the city’s mayor.
“I just believe that moving forward, sharing my vision with people being open and honest with them I will ultimately gain peoples trust who don’t trust me,” she said.
She stepped down in 2010 after she was found guilty of embezzling gift cards meant for the poor. Dixon said her past mistakes don’t define her though and believe her experience is proof she can completely manage the city.
“I simply don’t see anyone in this race with a track record of leadership, the vision for our future or the work ethic that I will bring to the office of the mayor,” she said.
But some residents walking through Hampden Saturday said they can’t overlook that.
“I don’t think somebody who’s been convicted of a crime while they were in office should be able to run for the same office,” said Melissa.
“She’s been a part of the corruption which has been plaguing the city for a while, I really don’t want to see that continue. I’d rather see some new blood,” said Ryan Cole.
But others are more open to considering her.
“I think she does care about Baltimore a lot and quite frankly it’s a tough field of candidates to choose from, so she does add something to the field,” said Jason.
For the fifth year in a row, Baltimore has seen homicide rates surpass 300.
Reducing crime is a big focus for many running for mayor, but Dixon said her success at decreasing murders is another reason why she believes she should win.
“My experience as mayor of reducing crime, crime has not been that low since I left public office,” she said.
She’s entering a crowded race for the mayor’s office including incumbent mayor Jack Young, city council president Brandon Scott, former state deputy attorney general Thiru Vignarajah, former Baltimore police department spokesman T.J. Smith as well as 14 other candidates who have filed to run.
Former mayor Dixon also said she plans to do whatever it takes it takes to gain the trust of Baltimore residents.