Kathleen Matthews speaks at Baltimore Women United forum

 Kathleen Matthews (r) with supporters of the BWU at the forum 

Kathleen Matthews was the guest speaker Monday at a forum of the “Baltimore Women United (BWU).” The lively discussion event was held at the Bird in Hand bookshop, in Charles Village in Baltimore City.

Matthews is the Chair of the Maryland State Democratic Party. She was introduced by Ann Loar Brooks, who is on the BWU’s “Communication Committee.”

Brooks also moderated the Q&A part of the night’s spirited program before a near-capacity audience. Helping to set up the event was Odette Ramos, who is co-chair of the BWU. She is also a member of the Democratic Party’s State Central Committee for the 43rd district (Baltimore City).

The state’s Democratic Party is still reeling from the fact that Larry Hogan, a Republican, was elected governor in 2014. Although Democrats still dominate the General Assembly, it is Hogan, who calls the shots from the State House in Annapolis.

Matthews labeled Hogan “an artful dodger,” who must be replaced in 2018. However, a recent Goucher Poll showed Hogan still a very popular governor with a “63 percent job approval rating.”

Matthews, 63, has been moving around the state since she assumed the chairmanship of the party last May. She has visited all 23 counties and Baltimore City for the purpose of rallying the troops, and “energizing the party faithful” to prepare it for the next election and beyond. She is particularly urging “more qualified women to run for public office.” Matthews also spotlighted the necessity to “renew the state’s party infrastructure.”

A strong public speaker, Matthews lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She is married and has three children. Her husband is Chris Matthews, the popular host of the nationally syndicated cable TV programs, “Hardball” and the “Chris Matthews Show.”

Matthews underscored that a primary goal for the party in Maryland is to create “a grass roots Army to help change America in 2018.” A former journalist, writer, news anchor and producer, she worked for ABC’s WJAL-TV in Washington, DC for over 25 years. Later, Matthews was a public affairs officer for Marriott International. As a journalist, she won a prestigious “Edward R. Murrow Award.”

In the 2016 election, Matthews ran for a congressional seat in Montgomery County’s sprawling 8th district, but she lost in a competitive primary race. One of the lessons, she said she learned from that contest was that “politics is tough,” and that for the most part, “it is local.”

As for the Baltimore Women United, it is a coalition of activist Baltimore women that was formed for among other reasons, “to encourage women to vote in the upcoming primary election,” set for June 28, 2018. It is also looking to unite women “together to be a force of engagement, action, solutions and hope in the city.”

Another of BWU’s aims is to “support qualified women candidates and to increase voters turnout.” To learn more details about BWU’s progressive, diversity-seeking agenda, check out the Facebook page.

Kathleen Matthews Speaks at “Baltimore Women United” Forum On Monday evening, July 10, 2017, Kathleen from Bill Hughes on Vimeo.

During the Q&A session, Matthews promised the party would put up a qualified candidate to take on not only the incumbent Governor Hogan, but also the reactionary Republican Congressman, Rep. Andy Harris (1st District-MD), in the 2018 election. Harris, a favorite of the Tea Party types, has been in office for five terms.

Matthews owned up to the fact that the Democratic Party needs to learn from the past and to do “more listening” to the rank and file and also to the independent voters. This is, and will be, Matthews promised, “a summer of renewal for us.”

More of my photos can be found on my Facebook page.