Saturday, February 8, 2020

Delegate Lewis: "Someone young and energetic"

The fifth in the series of interviews with Baltimore Stakeholders features Baltimore State Delegate, part of "Team 46", Robbyn Lewis, Member of the House of Delegates since January 2017, first by appointment and then a sound election victory. Lewis' wide set of interest and involvement can be seen in her many past and current committee assignments, the Health and Government Operations Committee, Environment and Transportation Committee. She is also a member of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland,  the Women Legislators of Maryland, and the Maryland Legislative Transit Caucus.
Robbyn Lewis at the State House
This is an important moment in Baltimore’s history. We can choose how we respond to the challenges that face us: accept the default setting of fear and pessimism, or act from our highest values. Let’s aim high, and work to build a healthy, just, and prosperous city with opportunity for all. (Lewis website)

The idea of these interviews is to widen the perspective of the pre-election debate through the voices of a number of prominent Baltimore stakeholders who express their views about the state of Baltimore, the candidates, their preferences, sentiments, recommendations  and suggestions for what should be done.

The responses will be published in random order over the coming months of this election campaign. The interviews are not in any way intended to be representative.
Baltimore City boasts the world’s greatest medical institutions, but we aren’t even in the running for healthiest American cities. Our rates of preventable illness and chronic disease are unacceptable. We can become a model of well-being for all when we make public health a priority.  
It is time to build modern transit and quality, equitable housing in Baltimore. These are not costs, they are investments that will deliver demonstrable returns in the form of good jobs, social vibrancy, economic vitality and human health for decades to come. Our future as a sustainable home for all depends on this. (Lewis website)

Robbyn Lewis Interview
Baltimore demonstrates (Photo: Philipsen)
  1. Are you overall optimistic about Baltimore or pessimistic?
Why? I’m optimistic, because I know so many smart, caring, competent, dedicated people who live in Baltimore and are working across every dimension to improve life for everyone
  1. What three issues do you suggest should be the top priority of the new Mayor?
Top three: first get the basics right, city services need to serve the people with efficiency and respect, meaning sanitation education transit and public safety must function at a high level
  1. If you were to advise a candidate for Mayor what would be your best suggestion?
Hire the best people to run city agencies then get the heck out of their way, after having impressed on them that the new operating principle is respect for all people.
  1. What should the next US President should do for cities?
Stop funding wars and take that money to invest in 21st century sustainable, equitable climate adaptive infrastructure, stop subsidizing highways and fossil fuels 
  1. What recent local fact has given you hope for Baltimore?
    Red Line community participation (Photo: Philipsen)
The construction of about 10 new school buildings, fist in two generations and more new buildings on the way
  1. What recent local fact has depressed you the most?
Shootings of working women in front of their children (both bear Patterson Park around Christmas)
  1. Do you support a particular candidate for Mayor and for City Council?
For Mayor someone young and energetic!
  1. What personal contribution to Baltimore are you most proud of?
My contribution to neighborhood sustainability by creating the greening movement in my neighborhood, involved starting a tree planting movement that put over 400 street trees in the ground, increasing household energy conservation and beautification thru planters and artwork, was featured in a documentary called "Earth - The Operators Manual"

Robbyn Lewis is a public health professional, sustainability advocate, and community leader. Her efforts have contributed to advances in human health and environmental sustainability at both local and international levels.
Before joining the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange as Special Assistant in 2014, Ms. Lewis spent two decades working in the field of international public health. In nearly a dozen countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, she conducted research and implemented programs designed to prevent infectious disease and improve reproductive health. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger, where she was stationed in a remote, rural village. At Johns Hopkins University and other NGOs, she worked on international programs and studies to prevent Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. She also participated in a consultative process that led the World Health Organization to revise its global recommendations on cervical cancer prevention. 

Robbyn Lewis

Ms. Lewis currently works as the Civic Data and Engagement Fellow for the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA).

In 2011, she received Parks & People Foundation’s Best Greening Project Award, and also the Maryland Governor’s Service Award. More recently, she conceived and led the transformation of her alley using art, a project that received accolades from neighbors as well as the Baltimore Office of Sustainability.

Ms. Lewis also spearheaded legislative advocacy for improved transit in Baltimore. She founded and ran Red Line Now PAC, the first and only grassroots political action committee in Baltimore to focus on transit infrastructure investment. She is a founder of the Patterson Park Public Charter School.
Currently, she sits on the board of Bikemore, Southeast Community Development Corporation, and Creative Alliance. She served on the board of the Friends of Patterson Park, and was a longtime leader of the Patterson Park Neighborhood Association.

Ms. Lewis, is conversant in four languages, was born in the suburbs of Gary, Indiana and raised in Chicago. Ms. Lewis holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Columbia University School of Public Health in New York. She is also a member of the Alpha Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health.

Here the previous interview in this series:

Matt Gallagher: Baltimore’s people, neighborhoods, and institutions should be doing much better than we are.

Alvin Hathaway: A Marshall Plan for Cities!

David Troy: Joan Pratt should be fully investigated

No comments:

Post a Comment