Raise your voice for those in need. That’s what it means to Live United.

Date: February 26, 2016

By Jeremy Rosendale, Director, Emerging Leaders United


Did you know only:

  • 23 percent of Baltimore’s registered voters took advantage of their opportunity to vote in the 2011 mayoral primary?
  • 35 percent of Baltimore City registered voters voted in the 2014 General Election?
  • 19.9 percent of millennials cast ballots nationally in 2014?

Pretty bad, right? Kinda scary even?

I’ll be honest, I’ve been infatuated with presidents, politics and government since according to my mom — I was three years old and sitting on the floor of our row home in Baltimore County sucking my thumb and watching an entire presidential inauguration. I’ve never missed the chance to vote since I was 18. I remember how excited I was to register and go into that booth (there were booths then).

Like many of you reading this, I’m a proud Baltimorean. I’m a proud Baltimore City homeowner. I’ve seen the good and the bad in our city and region. I’ve seen our citizens come together through the bad times and rejoice in the good times. I know the important role that government plays in our daily lives and how government officials chart the course for our city and region’s future.

That’s why I worked for government for the last 20 years, before I joined United Way of Central Maryland and became the new Director of Emerging Leaders United (ELU) last month. I started working for my state delegate in Annapolis when I was fresh out of high school. I’ve worked in City Hall, Baltimore County and Harford County government, and I’ve worked in Annapolis in our historic State House. (Did you know Maryland has the oldest State House that has been in continual use in the United States?)

Much like the dynamic members of ELU, I am passionate about our communities and committed to the success of our city and region – and most importantly to improving the lives of those who are most vulnerable. I’m inspired by United Way of Central Maryland and our partners who work so hard, day in and day out, to help individuals, children and families in need, to lift them up and put them on the path to a brighter future. But we can’t do it alone. We need you. That’s what United Way is about. Giving. Advocating. Volunteering.

Advocacy can be spreading the word on social media or encouraging elected officials to support 2-1-1 or health and human services. Advocacy can be making your voice heard around critical issues. There are 24 candidates running for Baltimore Mayor and over 100 for City Council on Election Day, April 26, 2016. Only TWO MONTHS away!

So, I have some questions for you – and they’re pretty important.

  • Are you registered to vote?
  • Do you know when the deadline is to register or change party affiliation?
  • Do you know when and where early voting takes place?
  • Do you know when Election Day is? (hint: I just told you)

These are important questions you need to ask yourself because it’s not so much about who or what you’re voting for; it’s that you get involved and contribute your voice as an active community citizen. And you can’t do that if you can’t or don’t vote!

So what are your next steps?

If you haven’t already, register to vote by 9:00 p.m. on April 5, 2016 to vote in the Primary Election. Determine where you can vote early from April 14-21, 2016 or find your Election Day voting location so you can vote on April 26, 2016. Don’t just talk about it – BE about it!

See you at the polls! And if you have any questions, please reach out to me.

Connect with me: Website | ELU Facebook | UWCM Twitter | My Twitter | My LinkedIn

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