Ball to Launch Minority County Elected Officials Caucus
The Howard County Council member said the caucus will "help support minorities interested in serving in public office."
Howard County Council member Calvin Ball has teamed up with the Maryland Association of Counties to announce the creation of the Minority County Elected Officials Caucus.
In a press release announcing the decision Monday, Ball wrote that fewer than 25 percent of local elected officials are of minority descent, despite census figures that show the growth of minorities in comparison with non-Hispanic whites in Maryland.
As of 2011, Howard County's population consisted of 58.5 percent non-Hispanic whites, 18.2 percent black, 14.9 percent Asian and 6 percent Hispanic or Latino, according to U.S. Census data. In Maryland, the population numbers were 54.4 percent white, 30 percent black, 5 percent Asian and 8.4 percent Hispanic or Latino, according to census data.
Michael Sanderson, executive director of the Maryland Association for Counties, said "there's not a simple answer" for the discrepancy between minority elected officials and minority population percentages.
Sanderson said the caucus may try to create a support network for minority elected officials and candidates that may inspire more minorites to seek office, but that the caucus' primary goal is to address common issues faced by minority leaders.
"This caucus is an innovative opportunity to unite and empower people of color to create positive change in communities throughout Maryland, together," said Ball.
The caucus would work with fellow minorities to educate current and future leaders of color and identify issues they can overcome, according to the release. A steering committee for the caucus will begin to search for members who are interested in joining beginning on Aug. 18.
"We look forward to [the caucus] feeding into the efforts of national minority caucuses to help engage, educate and inspire a larger contingency of minority, elected officials," said Ingrid M. Turner, president of the Maryland Association of Counties.
The Maryland Association of Counties is a nonprofit organization that expresses the needs of local government to the state legislature, according to its website. The association is made up of members who serve as county and local elected officials.
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