Liam Davis, one of three non-incumbent Democrats running for a seat in the House of Delegates for the 46th District, is cautiously optimistic.
“We have a lot of people who are enthusiastic, but we can’t underestimate the competition,” he said during a door-knocking session last weekend.
Davis, 24, is the youngest candidate in the field. For those residents who answer their doors and cuss him out with a direct statement—“I hate all politicians”—Davis has a clever response:
“I’m not a politician; this is my first time running.”
He tells residents that he is “just trying to bring some fresh blood to Annapolis.”
He says that he is running because “I’ve always loved the city—I’ve always loved cities.”
Davis grew up in northeast Baltimore, but at some point “moved to the county” with his parents and siblings.
“When I moved to the county, a lot of people talked trash about Baltimore City, and it hurt because it was my hometown,” he says.
Davis is a graduate of Calvert Hall and Towson University, where he majored in metropolitan studies.
Many voters note his unabashed support of the Red Line, as planned.
As we’re walking north on Highland Ave., a woman from Eastern Ave. yells “Liam!”
Davis pauses, and Monica Broere, a Southeast resident locally famous for her painted screens, jogs up. She says that she just tried to convince a few other residents to vote for Davis.
“One of the reasons I’m voting for you is you’re pro-Red Line,” she says. “I just think that’s going to be a real boom for the neighborhood.”
“We’ve got to stop driving,” she adds, admitting that she owns a car which mostly sits in her driveway, though she sometimes uses it “because I know I’m going to get there at the appointed time.”
Davis ties the Red Line with attracting young people to the city.
“They’re graduating college with an enormous amount of debt,” he says. “They’re going to have pay off that debt…and they’ll have to decide if they want to pay a car loan or pay rent. I don’t think they’re going to want to stay with Mom and Dad.”
He also remembers a class he took at Towson, which explored the “disconnect between the top 10 percent and the bottom 10 percent.” He says that a rail line could help eliminate that.
“In New York, you have the richest guy in the world sitting on a train, next to the guy with two different shoes—so he can understand what [the poorer man] is going through,” Davis says.
“If you agree with me—if you disagree with me—you might appreciate that I’m coming on straight.” “Yeah, you’re not wishy-washy at all,” Broere responds.
Her point is tested later, when Davis knocks on a door. He and the voter who answers seem to share a lot of common ground, until she mentions her disdain of the Red Line.
“I’m going to be honest with you; I’m supporting it,” Davis says. “When it’s all said and done, we’re gong to be better off once they put the infrastructure in there.”
“They should’ve done it 20 years ago,” says the woman.
“That’s exactly my point!” Davis exclaims. “If we don’t do it now, we’re going to be saying the same thing 20 years from now.”
The candidate also emphasizes his environmental agenda, specifically with regard to air pollution.
“For my first piece of legislation, I would draw a red line around Baltimore City and say ‘No more incinerators,’” he says.
The primary election is June 24. In addition to Davis, newcomers Brooke Lierman and Bill Romani are Democrats running for delegate in the 46th District, as are incumbents Luke Clippinger and Pete Hammen.
The three Republican candidates—Roger Bedingfield, Duane Shelton and Joseph Sedtal—are not subject to the primary and will face the Democrats in the Nov. 4 General Election.
by Erik Zygmont