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Election Spotlight with Mark Edelson

Mark Edelson (D), Nominee for State Delegate

State Legislative District: 46

By: Nick Frisone, District 46


I was born July 12th, 1984 in Pretoria, South Africa. I went to Primary School and some High School before we moved here to the states. I was ten years old when Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Twelve years old when he became President. I was very much born in the transition out of the apartheid and into a fully Democratic South Africa.

When and why did you get involved in politics? My parents were involved politically with Repair The World. I went to law school because I loved the idea of public speaking, organizing and problem solving. I guess officially April 1, 2015 when I launched my candidacy for the 1st District Council race. When an open seat became available, it seemed like a good chance to pour my heart and soul into something to help the city.

Why did you run for a seat in the House Of Delegates?

Baltimore has extensive long term structure issues that need to be addressed before we become the city we know we can be. In my opinion the place to REALLY do that at the state level. Think about what we could do with just a small percentage of the budget surplus this year. An East/West connection; a MARC station at Johns Hopkins Bayview; water taxi station at Middle Branch; public safety; rebuilding our schools. I want to be in the place where that change can happen and that place is Annapolis.

What are your top three priorities if elected? Public Safety - it’s a massive issue in the city. I always talk to future constituents about the Department of Parole and Probation. The agency is understaffed and mismanaged. We have to make sure our returning citizens have housing, healthcare, healthy food. But we also have to make sure they don’t fall back into the cycle of crime.

Im a firm believer that good public transportation is a way for individuals to lift themselves out of poverty. When people from other parts of the state complain that Baltimore receives so much funding, whether it’s for education funding or whatever, it’s because we have extreme poverty that we have to help them out daily. As I said earlier, a water taxi at Middle Branch would be MASSIVE for the neighborhoods south of the Hanover Street bridge. An East side MARC connection would be huge.

We’re sitting here and Hurricane Ian is ravaging parts of Florida. The Fells Point Festival, which is a huge economic driver for the area has been postponed because of the extremity of that storm. If we don’t take care of our planet now, things will just get worse. To me that the trash incinerator in South Baltimore and incentivizing more composting are first steps toward a cleaner state.

Wes Moore, Aruna Miller, Brooke Lierman, and Anthony Brown are the statewide Democrats on the ballot. How can we make sure they get elected?

I think that if their message gets to enough people and the contrast of a Moore administration versus a Dan Cox administration, we will win by a comfortable margin. It’s the same way we won the primary - doors and dollars. If we knock enough doors, there’s no question we will win.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the Republican Party?

They’ve completely lost their way. Politics can be about power. Their pursuit of power led them to Donald Trump. Therefore we have candidates statewide and nationwide who aren’t thinking about their constitutes or how their insane policy proposals will impact us.

What is your favorite movie of all time and why?

“Ghostbusters.” I love it when there’s a group of people who are on a quest together to defeat the bad boy. I love when each character has their quirks. I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house in South Africa. They had a Beta Max player and one of the few tapes they had was “Ghostbusters.” I can quote that movie start to finish.

Who is your favorite Ghostbuster?

Dr. Pete Venkman played by Bill Murray. I have the affinity for the character who is straight forward. I like characters who can play off of others quirks which he does. He’s the leader so I saw myself in him a little.

What is your favorite song of all time and why?

That’s a tough one. “Politik” by Coldplay is right up there for me. But so is “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire. I’ll probably text you at 2am and change it. But for now, let’s go with those two.

You and I are huge Phil Collins fans. What is your favorite solo Phil Collins song? “Take Me Home”

Favorite Genesis song of all time?


What are your two most prized possessions?

My wedding ring is one. I have an original ballot from the first Democratic election in South Africa that a friend of mine sent to me. It’s meaningful in so many ways. Obviously it’s democracy, Nelson Mandela being elected, but it also takes me back to my childhood. Who inspires you?

My biggest inspiration has always been my mom. As you know, she was just an incredible human being. When we left South Africa it was really tough emotionally and financially. She really was the strength that kept our family moving forward. When families left South Africa they had two mindsets: either we leave and if it doesn’t work out, we can go back; or this is going to be rough but we’re going to make it. My mom was very much in the latter mindset and would remind us when things got tough that “only the test of fire makes fine steel.” I often have that in my mind when I’m running a campaign or even a physical race. She’ll always be the most inspirational light in my life.

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