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Kurt Schmoke: “We Cannot Arrest Our Way Out of the Problem”

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Cara Ober interviews Kurt Schmoke on the state of Baltimore following the city’s recent unrest.

Kurt Schmoke was the first elected African-American mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, a position he served for three terms from 1987 to 1999. During his tenure as Baltimore Mayor, Schmoke made education, drug addiction, and violent crime in Baltimore his priorities. During the height of the national ‘War on Drugs’, he advocated decriminalization, legalization, and treatment, a position which was viewed as controversial and soundly rejected by mainstream politicians from both parties.

As Baltimore Mayor, Schmoke is noted for improving low-income housing projects, creating a needle-exchange program for drug addicts, stabilizing the tax rate in the city, and attracting the Ravens football team.

After voluntarily leaving politics, Schmoke worked as a law partner at Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering. He became actively involved in the National Bar Association and the American Bar Association, serving a term as chair of the Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice at ABA. As a lawyer, Schmoke has provided countless hours of pro bono legal services to charitable organizations such as the Children’s Health Forum, a nonprofit group established to combat lead poisoning among children, before he became the Dean of the Howard University School of Law from 2003-2012.

Kurt Schmoke became the current President of the University of Baltimore in 2014.

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