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Baltimore County Council votes in favor of expanding to 9 county council seats

Posted at 11:31 PM, Jul 01, 2024

TOWSON, Md. — Since 1956, there have been seven seats on the Baltimore County Council. Since that time, most of the council members have been white, and most have been men.

Census data shows the county quadrupled in size to nearly 850,000 people in the last 70 years, and people of color make up half of that population.

Baltimore County is 30% black and has a rapidly growing immigration population.

“The Baltimore County Council has not grown since 1956; we still have the same number of councilmen representing us, even though we have grown three times," says Albert Harris Jr.

Despite the changes to the county's demographic, Councilman Julian Jones is the only minority with a seat on the council.

Albert Harris Jr., who lives in District 6, says he is eager to have an opportunity for more representation from people who look like him.

“If I elected you to represent me, I want you to fully represent me," he says.

He says it was one of the reasons he decided to be a part of the Baltimore County Structure Review Workgroup.

The group provided the recommendation to the council to expand seats to nine council members.

The group also recommended each of the council positions become full-time instead of part-time jobs.

The bill also came with an amendment which had a redistricting map for the potential nine districts, but not everyone was in favor of the maps.

“A lot of people were concerned with the map what the map meant there wasn’t a lot of community input. I’m a big community input person, so I was happy with the amendment," says Ryan Coleman.

Councilman Young and Councilman Kach were also opposed to the maps.

Councilman Kach added another amendment, which would create an opportunity for the public to have input into how the districts are split.

Regardless of how the map will look, many people are happy to know the council may look different starting in 2026.

“The hope is not only do you get better diversity on the council, but also you get a better product because the council people have less people that they have to support," says Ryan Coleman.

People will now have a chance to vote on the November ballot if they would like to have nine council districts.