Born and raised in Baltimore City, I was a minimum wage worker at McDonald’s, a high school dropout at 16, father at the age of 17, and a convicted felon at the age of 18. Today I am the CEO of my own company, operating national brand restaurants in 8 states across the Nation. Magna Cum Laude graduate from a HBCU, honors graduate with my MBA, and now, a candidate for PhD. As you can see, I did not let how I entered the race determine how I was going to finish it.
It has been a long journey but a great adventure. I have always shared a dream and goal of serving others. At the age of 14, I was honored to serve as VP of the Baltimore City Youth Council under Mayor Kurt L Schmoke. I was also a committee member of the Oliver Association.
In Baltimore, we are in need of aggressive and immediate actions to turn our city around. Far too long we have elected politicians who represented themselves and not the people of Baltimore. Rather than letting our voices be heard, they have used their platforms to promote their own personal agenda and lifestyle. Instead of working to ensure our children are educated properly in safe environments, we exploit children’s books for profit. Baltimore does not need new leadership, it needs real leadership. We need a real vision, real direction, and real action to make our City better for all. Each campaign cycle, we are promised positive change while only settling for more of the same. It is now time to empower the people of Baltimore to restore our dignity, our hope, our collective family.
I am honored and delighted to announce that after careful consideration with an exploratory committee and residents; I am entering Baltimore’s 2020 Mayoral race. We must have elected leadership that listens and actively engages the citizens. Our approach to every situation should always be to seek the common good for us all, not just the few. I will be a proactive servant of Baltimore, ready to address our City’s disturbing homeless population, the safety of our schools and neighborhoods, engaging and investing in our youth, and building transparency in our criminal justice system and practices. We need to take care of our elderly population, who have sacrificed and paved the way for our generations.
As a Democratic candidate, I will uphold our values, and maintain our integrity. I will listen and represent all. We are one family, united by our beautiful City. We succeed when we work together and understand that one person’s success is the success of us all. If I can turn my life around, with the help of God and family, there is no limit to what our City can accomplish when we understand that our best days are ahead of us. The time for the same leadership, the same approaches, and the same mottos is over. Today, I am announcing my candidacy for Baltimore’s Mayor to give the City what it deserves; respect, love, and peace.
I look forward to hearing from voters and better understanding their thoughts, their ideas, and their concerns. I believe that we need a solutions-first attitude in our government today. I will use my business background to improve how our government works for all, attract new businesses and opportunities for our residents, and restore the integrity of City Hall.
Together, we win.
Richard (Rikki) Vaughn