Rushern Baker IV, the artistically-inclined son of Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker III, announced that he is running for the statehouse, seeking to represent Maryland's 22nd District in the House of Delegates.
The younger Baker, in a press release declaring his candidacy issued yesterday, said that he wants to bring combine his interests in the arts and public service into the political sphere.
Baker, who grew up in Cheverly watching his father rise to prominence in state and local politics, is currently an arts lecturer at the University of Maryland. He is an accomplished artist. A 2005 graduate of Suitland High School's Visual and Performing Arts Program, Baker went on to study painting at The Cooper Union and Yale University, where he earned, respectively, his bachelors and masters degree in fine arts before returning to Maryland where he now lives in Riverdale Park.
Earlier this year, Baker was the artist in residence at the 39th Street Gallery in Brentwood. His paintings on, described in his press release as "political acts", feature fields of color juxtaposed beneath abstract shapes.
"For me, 'the arts' isn't some vague idea - I am a painter and an art educator…it is something that I am completely passionate about and I have dedicated my life to," said Baker in his prepared remarks, distributed to the media after his announcement. "This deep understanding has taught me how it can transform a neighborhood, a school or, in my case, a child's life."
Baker aimed his remarks particularly at voters in and along the Gateway Arts District, which stretches along Rhode Island and Baltimore avenues through Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood and Hyattsville, saying that he would fight to create a community which sustains the arts.
"I ask the question: if you have an Arts District without any artists working on the inside, fighting for you when those doors close, will it grow to its full potential?" said Baker in his prepared remarks. "I think it's time for an artist…to go to Annapolis with a unique understanding of the unique characteristics of this district and corridor."
Baker will be running against longtime incumbent Democratic Dels. Anne Heally and Tawanna Gaines. Baker's father, according to The Washington Post, said that he would support his son, Healy and Gaines in the election, but would not support incumbent Alonzo Washington, who was appointed to fill a vacancy left by the retirement of former Del. Justin Ross.