BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With less than a month to go until the June 2 primary election for the Baltimore mayoral race, voters face no shortage of candidates — 32 people are running to take the city’s top job.

WJZ is taking a closer look at the candidates hoping to become the next mayor: in this story is former Baltimore Police Department spokesperson T.J. Smith.

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Smith grew up in Baltimore, went through the city’s public school system and suffered through the city’s pervasive culture of violence. His brother Dion was fatally shot in his west Baltimore apartment in 2017.

“We’ve seen the violence personally affect so many people in this city, and even in the course of this pandemic, we haven’t really seen it let up,” Smith said.

This is his first run for public office, and he’s focused on safety, schools and quality of life.

“I elected to run as a non-politician because I feel like it’s time to reset, to get to a place where a regular human is doing the work of the people and not trying to be this politician and rise to fame that way,” Smith said.

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There has been some criticism about the lack of transparency in city government.

“We know that there is unfortunately some waste, fraud and abuse that goes on, and we really have to hold ourselves accountable to that same level of scrutiny and make sure that’s not something that’s commonplace in government,” he said.

While the frontrunner in the race seems to vary between polls, one poll put Smith at the top.

“It says that the people see everyone as potential leaders for the city, which is a good problem to have in a lot of ways,” he said.

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Stay with WJZ for more candidate profiles and additional coverage leading up to the June 2 primary election.