Delegate, Maryland General Assembly
Assistant Director, Baltimore Planning
Del. Stephanie Smith’s son was starting to attend Baltimore City Public Schools as a preschooler when she campaigned for office for the first time. Even though she was pregnant (and had the baby right after the election), she wanted to make sure the voices of mothers like hers were heard.
“I knew there needed to be people with skin in the game at the table concerned about the fate of the Baltimore City Public Schools at the state level,” Smith said. “Not only for my children, but for other children in the city. Building a world-class state education system can’t leave any part of Maryland behind.”
Smith, an attorney and Baltimore planning leader, was one of five freshman lawmakers this year and became the only member of the House Ways and Means education subcommittee from Baltimore. She also introduced seven bills last session — four of which became law.
Outside of Annapolis, Smith is in charge of implementing the city’s staff-developed equity action plan for the planning department.
To that end, she started by leading an equity analysis of the capital budget. The department is also thinking intentionally to deepen institutional bonds and reach those earning architecture and planning degrees.
“Baltimore’s ability to retain existing residents and attract new ones is critically linked to providing better customer service to residents,” Smith said. “Working from a frame of equity will make sure everyone gets what they need from city government and not just the squeaky wheels.”
In fall 2018, Smith established the Resident Planning Academy and more than 300 community leaders applied to its first-ever six-week course on land use and development. A second cohort completed the academy this spring.
Smith also serves on the board of Green 2.0, an initiative to increase diversity in environmental foundations, organizations and government agencies.