Krish Vignarajah, Democratic candidate for Maryland Governor, announces former Baltimore Teachers Union President and lifelong teacher as historic pick for Lieutenant Governor
Former Michelle Obama policy director highlights importance of education, diversity in leadership with selection of lifelong teacher and committed public servant
Tuesday, February 27, 2018–ANNAPOLIS, Md.–Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, Democratic candidate for Maryland Governor, former Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama, and the only candidate for Governor who is a proud product of Maryland public schools, today announced Sharon Blake—former President of the Baltimore Teachers Union–as her selection for Lieutenant Governor, demonstrating a strong commitment to education and diversity with her pick.
In addition to advancing a strong education platform, Krish and Sharon are shattering glass ceilings. They are the first ever all-women of color ticket, and no two women have ever been elected governor and lieutenant governor in any state in American history. Maryland currently has no women serving in its 14 elected statewide or federal offices and Marylanders have never elected a female governor, nor a woman of color to any statewide office. Krish and Sharon will make history in 2018, which has been called the year of women.
“America is changing, and our leadership must reflect that,” Sharon said. “Krish and I are making history for women, and women of color, in Maryland and across the nation. But that doesn’t mean we simply replace voices that are already at the table, it means we work together to build bridges and relationships with people of all backgrounds. It means we work harder to add a diversity of thought and experience to the table that already exists.”
Together, Krish and Sharon are committed to addressing infrastructure, crime, poverty, and inequity issues in Maryland at their roots–within the state’s education system. They are committed to creating safe, fair, and equitable educational opportunities for all of Maryland’s children, regardless of their family’s zip code. Sharon’s parents Venson and Margaret were proud residents of Prince George’s County, but she was born at Freeman’s Hospital, known today as Howard University Hospital, because it was the only local hospital that delivered African-American babies at that time.
Like Krish, Sharon is a proud product of Maryland’s public education system. She was the third of seven children—all of whom attended Prince George’s County Public Schools. Sharon’s parents viewed education as the key to achieving the best possible life and sacrificed everything for their children to have access to higher education. After graduating from Frederick Sasscer Junior-Senior High School, Sharon attended Morgan State University, where she graduated with a degree in social sciences.
Spending four decades in the classroom, she began her career at Greenspring Middle School and went on to teach at Northwestern High School, Frederick Douglass High School, the Institute of Business & Entrepreneurship at Walbrook High School, Renaissance Academy High School, The Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, among others, through which she helped thousands of students fulfill their potential. Sharon was a leader among her fellow teachers, serving as chair of the English department and being elected multiple times to serve as President of the Baltimore Teachers Union. She also served on numerous statewide educational panels for various governors including the “Safe Schools Interagency Steering Committee” and the“Visionary Panel for Better Schools.”
“Prioritizing education and our children is key to addressing and solving issues facing Maryland. Where does it all start? In our schools. Maryland’s children are our future, and our state budget and priorities must reflect that,” Sharon said.
Krish kicks off a celebration of March as Women’s History Month tomorrow night with a symposium on sexual harassment and violence and will formally announce her all-female gubernatorial ticket at an event in Baltimore on Monday, March 5th.
“It’s time for Maryland to make history. We have a strong, united vision–a vision for leadership, a vision for public education, and a vision for elevating women and women of color to have a stronger, louder voice at the table and in the political process here in Maryland,” Krish said. “Sharon and I look forward to creating a Maryland where everyone has not only the opportunity, but also the resources to thrive.”