- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2006

Baltimore City Council President Sheila Dixon, who takes over as mayor when Martin O’Malley officially becomes governor, said yesterday she will run for a full mayoral term in 2007.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, won the Maryland gubernatorial election Tuesday and will officially take office in January. Mrs. Dixon will complete the mayoral term through December 2007.

The announcement that Mrs. Dixon will seek election prompted City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, a Democrat, to announce plans also to run for mayor.

Council member Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. said he will soon decide whether to run for council president or mayor.

If elected, Mrs. Dixon, a Democrat, would become Baltimore’s first female mayor to be elected. She plans to meet with Mr. O’Malley this week to plan a smooth transition.

Mrs. Dixon, 52, and Mr. O’Malley, 43, served together on the City Council from 1991 to 1999. She had been on the council 12 years before being elected president in 1999. They called themselves “partners in progress” during the 2003 elections.

Mrs. Dixon’s political career has been marked with accusations of nepotism and ethical lapses.

Records indicate that four of Mrs. Dixon’s relatives have been directly or indirectly on Baltimore’s payroll before and since her election as council president.

Her sister, Janice Dixon, was hired for $15,000 annually as a part-time assistant in the council president’s office. She later was employed by Union Technologies, or Utech, to work with the City Council’s computer system.

Mrs. Dixon voted to award government contracts to the company, which prompted an investigation by the state prosecutor, according to the Baltimore Sun. Mrs. Dixon also steered government work worth at least $500,000 to a former campaign chairman, which also became the subject of a state investigation, the paper reported.

Mrs. Dixon has denied intentional wrongdoing.

Niece Nicole Dixon went to work in 2002 for the city’s Department of Public Works. Nephew Phillip Dixon III was hired in 1996 as a city police officer. Nephew Juan Dixon, a University of Maryland basketball star before playing in the NBA, collected boating fees in 1997 and 1999 at the city’s Inner Harbor.

Mrs. Dixon’s husband, Thomas E. Hampton, former executive assistant to the president of Baltimore City Community College, became volunteer chairman of the Cable and Communications Commission, which enforces Baltimore’s cable-franchise agreements, and was reappointed in 2000 by Mr. O’Malley.

Mr. Hampton is now commissioner of the District’s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking.

The couple has two children, Jasmine, 17, and Joshua, 11.

Mrs. Dixon won re-election as council president in 2004 with 84 percent of the vote. Born, raised and educated in Baltimore, she is a former elementary-school teacher and Head Start education instructor. For 14 years, she was senior trade representative for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

An avid athlete who works out several times weekly, Mrs. Dixon holds a black belt in karate and once angrily brandished a shoe at council colleagues, saying, “You’ve been running things for the past 20 years. Now the shoe is on the other foot. See how you like it.”

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