Toni Strong Pratt (D) | Ward 4
Challenger to incumbent Sheila Finlayson (D)
Toni Strong Pratt has lived in Annapolis all her life. As a child, she lived in public housing units in Bloomsbury Square and Annapolis Gardens, and she now resides in Ward 4 with her family. She feels that her background and ties with the community make her an ideal candidate for alderman of Ward 4. She remembers her childhood communities as ones that residents took pride in and where they looked after one another. Today, she says, that is a thing of the past since some neighborhoods are not safe, and housing often needs repair.
Pratt’s top priorities for Ward 4 include creating jobs with a living wage, providing solutions to public housing issues, and solving safety and security problems, which she says are mainly driven by opioid addiction. In 2006, she and her husband established D.E.S.I.R.E. Addiction Ministry to address the challenges of addiction, which she says gives her firsthand knowledge of the damage that drugs can do to the users, their families, and the community.
Pratt believes that other pressing needs affecting the city include the environment, the need for better regulation of development, and solutions for traffic congestion. She advocates making affordable housing units part of new developments and making downtown Annapolis more welcoming to the city’s minorities and to minority-owned businesses. She strongly believes that there should be more women and minorities in appointed and elected positions in government; supports city ordinance O-1-17, “Non-Discrimination of Foreign-Born Residents”; and believes that the Pip Moyer Recreation Center should be more affordable for some members of the community.
Pratt stresses that she will be a catalyst for change in her ward and in the city. She believes that keeping the citizens of Ward 4 informed and involved will be central to her success as a member of the City Council, but it will be a team effort. She tells voters, “I will not promise you anything, but together we can do everything.”
This profile is based on interviews Action Annapolis conducted with the candidates in June. Pratt also attended the Action Annapolis-sponsored Candidate Meet and Greet on June 7, 2017.