- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) Democratic gubernatorial nominee Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has signed an agreement with black lawmakers in the Baltimore area, pledging her support for more aid to historically black colleges, additional state contracts for minority businesses and expanded drug-treatment programs.
The agreement signed Monday was similar to a pledge signed last week by U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the Republican nominee.
Mrs. Townsend, Maryland's lieutenant governor, signed the agreement in a ceremony at New Shiloh Baptist Church. She was joined by U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and most of the black delegates and senators from Baltimore city and Baltimore and Howard counties.
Her commitment to back more funding for public schools and lead a paint poisoning prevention campaign prompted Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley to strongly endorse her candidacy something he had been reluctant to do early in the campaign.
"Our first-graders scored above the national average in reading and math for the first time in 30 years because of the partnership we have with the state," Mr. O'Malley told a crowd of more than 200 people. "That was a partnership brought about by the Democratic Party. That was a partnership brought about by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend."
Mrs. Townsend told the crowd that she is "not a Bobby-come-lately. Your fight is my fight. Your cause, my cause."
"This is a historic moment," said Delegate Howard P. Rawlings, who spent the last month meeting with lawmakers and the Townsend campaign to craft the agreement. "We wanted to be able to establish to our community that when they accuse us of not negotiating their interests and following the Democratic leadership blindly, this shows that's not the case."
The only Baltimore-area black delegate not a signatory to Monday's agreement was Delegate Tony E. Fulton, who has been publicly friendly to Mr. Ehrlich.


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