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Improving life in District 45 with Senator McCray

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With the Maryland Crab Cake Tour back in Baltimore City at legendary Koco’s Pub in Lauraville, Senator Cory McCray told us about progress and life in the 45th District and working in Annapolis to make the state’s largest city function better for our citizens.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

baltimore, city, road, harford, mayor, work, talking, neighborhood, day, crabs, maryland, partners, years, 45th, coco, folks, corridor, teachers, making, standpoint

SPEAKERS

Nestor Aparicio, Cory McCray

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

What about wn st Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are what’s the Baltimore positive classic. Before I even get this thing going, we’re Coco’s pub. We are in beautiful Lara Ville it’s all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery. Give it away the enchilada we scratch off people behind me. There’s winners back here. They just don’t know it yet. Our friends at window nation also put us out on the road 866 90 nation new offers for the end of summer. Obviously baseball getting going the Orioles back in town Luke’s out of the ballpark. We got the Maryland crabcake tour on the road. I would be remiss if I did not say the next week we’re gonna be on the west side of town to the Beaumont and Catonsville next Thursday. There’s a rumor I’ve got a Hall of Famer stopping by that’s all I’m gonna say. And then on August 3, we celebrate 25 years wn St. Augustine are gonna be over Costas. We’re gonna be cracking crabs, Len Raskin has given me the official 25th anniversary crab mallet and it’s very special. Senator McCray, because it’s got Rasca GlobalSign crack crabs, but you can open beer on the other side is a special mallet. Only I have one of these so we’ll be putting us in action August 3 overcast is then on the fourth edge drug city people are lining up hit me telling me they’re stopping by and they’re bringing old pictures of me I’m looking for a Seto sucks shirt from 1993 to 33rd anniversary of the all star game can’t come down here without having you buy and I did not invite Mr. Scott we’re going to get together a little later on this summer but the last time we were here dude masks on you masks on meta masks on patrons carry out are we open overnight told me mayor Scott are we are you Where are we? Two years later to get back here with Marcelo who I love that she fed me I’m so you’re gonna talk the whole second because I’m fat and happy. It’s good to see you on a summer day.

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Cory McCray  01:44

is great to see you, brother. Just as Welcome to the 45th again, and sorry, we can’t be joined by Mayor Scott. But I’m sure that he loves to be, especially when He’s great. He’s got business

Nestor Aparicio  01:53

and I just didn’t hit him. I mean, I put this together two weeks ago because Marcel and I been at this for like two years. I’m like, I’m coming back. And everybody keeps saying Todd shows when you go back two more shows. All my friends from the east side over here. The mayor eats here. You eat here, receipts here. So this is this is a great day to do this. And you know, he said welcome back to the 45 and on First things first, where is your district because I’m messed up to some degree because I hit a debt Ramos to begin with and her district starts right. I can spit straight. Yep. Right. Right. So like, and then you know, I hit counseling. So I’m trying to hit everybody over here. But I do get confused with these wars shots salons. No, I mean, it’s a mess. What’s going on with these? These gerrymanders so what do you got? Where do you get it so

Cory McCray  02:41

so it just retriggered or was reconfigured for January. I go still at Northern Parkway as my most northern so I go to the county line. I now go. My southern boundary is still Hopkins I now have Elmwood Park. Okay, as a new part of it. I lost some a station north but I still have like Greenmount West and Charles north. within my community. West I now go all the way over to like Good Sam. So I got like Hill and road and Belvedere and my district now we picked that up from Mary Washington. And then East I still go over to like Pulaski highway. So pretty huge community pretty huge. This Yeah,

Nestor Aparicio  03:18

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I mean, and I guess you started in a smaller area as a politician and running and getting people to know you and your work is electrician and just your what you’ve done and what you tried to build here. But what do people need to know about this area, this and your representation for them down

Cory McCray  03:33

and I feel good about it. Now, I’ve got my train of wheels in the House of Delegates. So I did a tour in the House of Delegates. And now I’m currently serving my second term in the Maryland State Senate. And one of the things that I think about is how do you set that foundation up for the next generation to be able to build upon and we got some big things going on in the 45th. So we don’t have any stadiums, a stadium for high school, imagine a stadium for high school. So right there at Hartford and 25th. For those folks that are a generation before me. They call it the Clifton middle. It’s the Fairmont Hartford building, there’s going to be a football stadium right there all Huffer row, which is going to be very cool. And when you look at Jason today, and once they get done, that gets done in about two, three years. So we’re setting the foundation for if you look at Lake Clifton campus, the lake Clifton campus, Morgan just purchased that campus. So at first it was sitting empty. But now we have an anchor institution that’s now purchased it, we’ve got big, a big vision for one of the things that the first thing that Dr. Wilson want to do is the auditorium to make sure that when we have graduations, he’s not handing out two or three tickets, he can invite as many people from your family to come to see the graduates the scholars come out of Morgan State University. Also think about another big thing that’s huge for me is food insecurity. So a number of our communities in the city of Baltimore do not have healthy food options are right down there. And the old town footprint. We’re going to be getting now first supermarket in East Baltimore than we’ve had in decades and so we’ve lost some but

Nestor Aparicio  04:58

not heard about destiny. And obviously I do the show that fails. And I was elected to market with Paul rooper two weeks ago. If you heard on the station, you know us talking about the old market, the new market where people get their food where supermarkets are I live downtown. There were limited options there. I do a lot of my shopping in the suburbs, honestly. I mean, I work with wise markets, obviously. I know it’s a little safe. Wait, it’s been up the street here in the city for a period of time but like this, the desert food desert, right?

Cory McCray  05:25

So to give you a visual when you’re talking about places like South Clifton Park, when you’re talking about Berea, when you’re talking about mcalary Park, those communities Oliver new Broadway state, where do they go to get so you even have to go to like you said you have to get you have to be transit opportunities, you may go out and come up way up to a Safeway when that shouldn’t be it should be walkable options within the community. And I’m so glad that being able to work with Danny and Dana Henson that we’ve been able to secure a supermarket that’ll go at the intersection of Orleans and Central Avenue. So that’ll be very, very cool.

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Nestor Aparicio  05:59

That’s a hard Old Town.

Cory McCray  06:00

That’s the heart of Old Town.

Nestor Aparicio  06:01

It’s got like this incredible history. And, you know, most of my lifetime when I’ve gone through, it’s been troubled. You know, I mean, I remember one point, it was in the 80s, maybe early 90s. And I live down that way I get my Chinese food right around the corner. You know, I know the neighborhood well, and I drive up. I call it the old Sears building, you call it the courthouse right North Avenue. But you know that that whole corridor there? You know, when you think about, look, my wife spent 155 nights in the hospital, Hopkins right, fighting in 14 and 15. So I was in that neighborhood, just all the time, right. And I would see things there and say there’s been an investment made in certain areas, certain areas that sort of come back to life and others old to it. So talk to me about that. Because really, it was always a shopping area, right? I mean, a lot of the the areas on the east side, the bus lines, because I was on those buses as a kid coming from London. They were shopping areas are there places people went to buy, no different than White Marsh mall or eastpoint Mall and different malls that we grew up with. But it was more

Cory McCray  07:03

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right thing shift as technology grows. As things happen, we shift. So what happens is you’ve had Perkins has been knocked down, Somerset has been removed. And you see a number of affordable housing options, market rate housing that’s come into that footprint, but not just doing housing, thinking about what does it look like from a holistic standpoint, we talked about healthy food options. But let’s talk about the park that’s going to be named after my predecessor, Nathaniel J. McFadden, learning play park, this is a $6 million plus park that the state of Maryland has 1.7 into that $6 million to make sure that when the state’s covered by a third of it, that’s the state’s cover and about a third, so will be 5%. So when you think about the housing piece, the house connection, the full connection, we also need those green spaces that you can just enjoy. You may want to walk around you may want to walk your dog children can be able to play

Nestor Aparicio  07:53

I love people grown food knows in his neighborhood. So let’s see that footprint, Detroit and other places that growing food in a neighborhood changes in Navia.

Cory McCray  08:02

Nope. And so I feel really, really strong. And if you come up you the next community that you have is Johnson square, I just was at a groundbreaking for the Ambrose Kennedy pool. But I’m so happy about the work that rebuild Johnson square is doing as they’re thinking about St. Francis is one of their school partners. Johnson square Elementary is one of the school partners. So thinking about that you see if you come up Middle Street and 400 block, you’ll see all those houses not now. But rebill Metro is working with their partners to do teacher housing. Look at that concept when you think about dorms, and how to have shared kitchen spaces and share things. So they’re looking at how do we recruit teachers within our school system, and being able to have a place where young teachers may want to cohabitate with each other and being able to do that right there. On that 400 block of Middle Street. We subsidize that by about $500,000 this legislative session, which was a pretty cool well given

Nestor Aparicio  08:56

teachers a better life that that that sits at the heart of education, parenting crime, affordable how all of those things, but who’s teaching our children right, like, and that’s not a Tommy Tuberville a talking point. It’s not you know, I don’t mean it like that. I mean, like, I was a young person at one point, but one of my roommates was a teacher, girls I dated were elementary school teachers in the city. And anytime I talk to teachers, it’s, you know, Kleenex in the room, just little silly things, things to put that they go out of pocket for so many teachers go out of pocket for this was something that local governments could do is go into pocket and say these are things, this is going to be a benefit. It’s a benefit to

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Cory McCray  09:40

being able to incentivize and make sure that we can help with that declining population, that declining population of folks that’s going in that profession and making sure that we’re doing everything that we can because it’s not easy being a teacher at the end of the day and and working with all professions to make sure that we can have a successful future from that standpoint. So why don’t we make sure that we engage them and make sure we engage them In the right way, through a housing perspective, if you go a little bit further up, you’ll also see on that quarter where he talked about the old Sears the great blacks and Wax Museum and the work that they did in their favour. You’ll look, if you look at the facade piece Dr. Martin has done like phase one. They’re working on making sure that it’s ATA compliant and making sure that they can think about what does it look like a holistic standpoint, from a wholesaler Oh, and Bill is very old building, and just making sure that we do that, but we’ve complemented them I want to say the last four to five years, we’ve got about $4 million into making sure that we invest within our arts and culture, right, they own our North Avenue corridor. If we come up a little bit further, you got the four by four and you have like Bellaire road and North Avenue, you’ve seen the demolition that has taken place because of all of the vacation and the going in the wrong direction from that standpoint, but war work or plus Jones and the partners from that standpoint, to make sure that we could do something because that’s a very important intersection. Belay a road North Avenue,

Nestor Aparicio  10:59

high rise over there that one of the foundations was involved in, in the city. It might have been Matt Gallagher’s group, but there was there was a high rise over there. It’s been there a period of time, just south of North Avenue, I brought you Belair road, you know, when the cemetery is just a little bit south. And, you know, I saw some investment happening over this before the fire and 15 and all that. But, you know, that’s

Cory McCray  11:25

the Mary Harvin transformation. So

Nestor Aparicio  11:26

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there you go. Thank you.

Cory McCray  11:29

Jay Hickman and

Nestor Aparicio  11:32

1000. It just got put up, but that’s been there for, you know, a decade

Cory McCray  11:35

at least a decade. Yeah. And that was a great, that was a great addition to the 45th. And glad to see all of our partners collectively come together

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Nestor Aparicio  11:43

when they when they opened it. So I got invited to an event over there was a number you Senator Cory McRae’s here, we’re Coco’s. I’m going to be given away. It’s a lottery scratcher so you know I said to you like I don’t have like this huge list of this and that I mean, I said you’re talking about the Orioles and the all star game and Raven season and and these rock fish that are eating the crabs are not rockfish to me, catfish crabs in in the tributaries. So I’ve been like on all of these issues with the city itself. And look, it leads with what happened with 30 Unfortunate Souls in South Baltimore. We’re gonna have to go and we talked about crime. We talked about education where we are post COVID Give me some positive signs, you see because I mean, I do drive through the city all the time. I was over Wilkins Avenue two weeks ago experience why man, I do the tour every week. I’m on the other side. I’ll be in Gainesville next week. I see things that I said come back to life and it always comes back to people. When there’s a you and there’s a business owner and there’s a Marcela and there’s people vested in police vested in communities vested in schools and parents and homeowners and there’s an investment in all of these communities. I mean, my dad was a you know, one of those guys in our neighborhood, you know, umpire working in the rec Council, making sure the snowballs were there after literally just little things like that, that build community. What are you seeing that are positive signs

Cory McCray  13:02

as entrepreneur I’m always thinking about, like, how do you lay that foundation and do we have the support systems on our main corridors? So if you look at the half row quarter, we got San Polikoff. We just got a bookstore with snug bookstore, we were on a half a record or you have a Coco’s. So you have these amenities. Not only can you eat, but you can also shot Hold on

Nestor Aparicio  13:21

a second, let me do it on a Harford road corridor. Who’s got the peach cake? I brought some peach cake do we eat the peach cake already? It’s long gone. It’s gone. Why stop at Fenwick. So you talk about things here that are great about you know, Harford road corridor. I mean, subliminally it’s not that I didn’t want to be Coco’s today, but I wanted to find a place was between my house and and the right. The bakery had to be on the way so I do my hot yoga on Harford road. I get my Chinese food on Harper. I mean, I’m more for emerald tavern. Saturday. tavern 30 years football before we had a team here, man, we watch. Harvey had a satellite dish on Harford road. Every Sunday. I was a Houston Oiler fan. And this is when we didn’t have a team. So I would go over every Sunday with my Oilers stuff on and we would it was a Browns bar. But we would watch the Oilers play so when you say Harford road, and I think, you know, passing kills, passing all these places that are a part of Baltimore man, like I drove south down here and I thought, I’m passing this place in this place. And this memory and that memory and this memory, this old girlfriend and this old buddy and and Mickey could show us from Hamilton every time I talk to Hamilton, Hamilton Hamilton. So yeah, this is a great part of Baltimore.

Cory McCray  14:45

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I feel real strong about it. Like on a half row quarter. We’re pretty strong on Bel Air row. We’re building up and then neighborhoods like the four by four. We’ve got three of our

Nestor Aparicio  14:54

nonprofit partners talking about four by four. What does that mean?

Cory McCray  14:58

You are so right come on. Are we on our own LEGO? Yeah, so like the four by four is a neighborhood that has four streets. So you got Elmore, Ravenwood, Emily, and Lyndale. So on those four streets, unfortunately, nasty, you have 700, some homes, you had 200 Plus vacant homes. So what we did with that, with that put those four streets is we brought in three partners, we brought in St. Ambrose who go to Habitat for Humanity, and we brought a knee high, and said that we want to decrease the vacancy within these neighborhoods. We’re going to work with the city and our court system to make sure that we take them out of bad landlords or bad folks hands and make sure that we get them into nonprofits that want to create affordable housing opportunities for folks. And we’ve been seeing that shift happen. And I’m thankful for those three partners because now we can go over and leave the four by four because we’ve set that blueprint up and now we’re over in dolly Park working towards dolly Park off of the off road corridor and for folks that may not know where dolly Park I’m talking about like normal Avenue 25th Street, Dolly Ave, things of that nature adjacent to chum and South Clifton Park, but taking it in small chunks get the right partners and then move to the next ones because we have that blueprint

Nestor Aparicio  16:04

well the senators here you say it’s a little easier when you’re not in session you know summer here I think it’s easier we don’t have masks on doing this thing. I want to keep your little overtime you know I’ll do more city crime all that but tell me what you do in Annapolis and when you’re going around talking to constituents I mean and you talk about all there’s no notes here you know you know these people you know your areas why I love having you on because I feel like I just get like a little put the temperature into what’s going on down here you know, bring the senator in. But the what the work that gets done and Westmore and eight years old and and federal money I heard the other day orals are trying to get federal money as part of what they’re doing that stadium transportation money’s here, West is talking red line. You were down there. You’ve been down there as a delegate. Now as a senator, give me the state of what you see with your eyes when you I guess getting the carbon out Annapolis every day for a couple months, right and sit and talk to people from from other parts of the state that don’t share the same whatever background. But we all share that we want to have a strong economy or we want a better state.

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Cory McCray  17:08

Yep. So I think then, at the end of the day, we have a governor with Governor Moore, being from the Baltimore region, we have Brooke Lerman, the comptroller being from the Baltimore region. We have the speaker Jones being from the Baltimore region, we have the senate president from the Baltimore region to go first I’m saying that we can’t put this puzzle together with the pieces that we have at this moment. I do not think that it can be done. Baltimore specialist is Baltimore’s best shot. I’m super optimistic about it. I’m betting on Baltimore. But at the end of the day, I think that everything is aligned in the manner that it has to be able to deal with transportation, education, housing, our waterways and our environment. So many things. From that standpoint, I feel strong and optimistic about it. I feel as though our mayor is our quarterback at the end of the day, I’m a tight end, I’m a wide receiver, whatever,

Nestor Aparicio  17:58

when he calls you what does he need? When you sit with the mayor? Yeah, I have to share. You know, but I mean, this is in the public’s interest when you’re talking about.

Cory McCray  18:09

When I’m talking to the mayor, let’s just say our conversation a couple days ago. So as they’re they’re actually setting and crafting the Baltimore agenda for next legislative session. At this moment when we think about the governor. When we think about the mayor, this is the

Nestor Aparicio  18:21

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mayor, this is an old Mayor Schafer, taking notes and saying these are all the things we need. And then a mayor goes down there with your help, maybe the help of Brooklyn, and maybe they help bill for sympathetic ears, maybe that weren’t always there, right? Or people that somehow said Baltimore can help itself. Because when I was with Governor Hogan, you know, like, I never felt the commitment to the city as a voter, he would push back or I’ve done all I can with frustration. It don’t don’t show me frustration, show me action. And we’re all frustrated. Yeah,

Cory McCray  18:55

absolutely. Right. Absolutely. Right. I think that these puzzles are hard, because if they weren’t hard, they’d already be done, they’ve already been completed. From that standpoint, I think then people didn’t elect me to make excuses about why things can’t be done. At the end of the day, they want us to put points on the board and figure out that way. So every path is not easy to charge and get up that hill from that from that standpoint. So when I’m caucusing with the mayor, he’s saying, hey, what do we feel as though as achievable? What do we feel as though is doable? What are some of the obstacles that are going to be in our way in order for us to achieve these big things that we’re trying to get done that people think are impossible from that standpoint? So it’s like a three dimensional chess board because the problems are that deep NASA but making sure that we can actually play and win that game. And as we’ve lost population, it gets even tougher because the allocation over the other side of Maryland and Montgomery and Prince George’s

Nestor Aparicio  19:46

Well, we’re gonna continue at it. I we’re gonna have crabcakes here today Dave shine in from the Washington Post. And that’s a misnomer because he like lives in Canton, upper Canton, Fells Point butchers Hill. He’s going to be coming by talking about baseball. Olympic sports microcytic Liano my dear friend lives in the neighborhood. We’re in Laura Ville. It’s a great place where Coco’s pub come on by it’s a little piece of paradise here getting Marcela Margarita. Help yourself to one of those crabcakes she brought me. I said, Listen, I want to try some stuff. She brought me these coconut shrimp that were unbelievable. Raspberry jalapeno that she brought me creamy crab soup, Sherry and that delicious. And then she brought me crab soup, Maryland crab soup that tastes like my mom’s so you know, I loved it. And then on top, and then I’m one of the Greek salad too. And they rolled me from the bar overhead as a police officer was in your eatin with me. He rolled me up here and I said to her I’m like, I knew that for the senator gets here man. I can

Cory McCray  20:41

only imagine you know, I see a lot of my friends they will post pictures on Facebook, you know where I’m at or this or that right? But some I’m not eating right now I tell my salad that when I have folks that’s from Otter Tail and they say where’s the best crab cakes. This is where I’m bringing them at.

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Nestor Aparicio  20:58

Once you’re the mayor comes to right? So listen, I’m nondenominational because I love them all. But I will say this last night I was really hungry for I went to bed. And I thought now I’m gonna get some peach cake. So I brought some peach cake here and owl up at Fenwick Bakery has told me that at 2pm on my 25th anniversary of WNS, which is August 3, at Costas, he’s going to be bringing by peach cake to serve to some folks over cost this over with us. This is This is fresh when I brought this into Marcel and AGang it was actually still warm when it got here. So I’m showing this off. She made crab cakes back there smoke. I’ll bring more next time I swear I will so but you know they got everything. It’s Harford road. It’s Baltimore. We got all the good stuff. Senator Cory McRae’s here from the 45th We’re in the 45th I got my crab mallet. We are celebrating 25 years I’ve given away Maryland lottery instance scratch off tickets. This has been a lucky batch. I had some winners. I did a couple of really big winners up local a couple weeks ago up and false and so we’re given these way our friends to win their nation. I got my my sloppy floppy hat. appreciate them. 866 90 nation. Where is that bad? Take a break. Good to come back. I want to talk crime, education, all the hard things. I want to have some fun and also want to talk about, you know, just sort of Summer in the City and pools and different things that are going on here. Because after the plague the summer, we’re coming back cities coming back. You know, we’re having festivals again, we’re having people out again, ball games, good ball games with a good baseball team back from our Coco’s baseball team. Only great after the parade. All right. All right. Gonna make sure that Craig gets into the 45th I’m Nestor We’re back from our w nsda In 1570. towns to Baltimore, the crabcake tour at Coco stay with us

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