Sheila Dixon has one qualification that her opponents in the Baltimore mayoral race don’t: She’s already done the job. From 2007-2010, Dixon served as the city’s first female mayor. Two years into her term, she was indicted for fraud committed while in office. That case ended with her acquitted on the most serious counts of theft and misconduct while in office, but found guilty for misappropriating gift cards that were intended for poor residents. But after resigning as mayor as part of her plea agreement, Dixon continued to be involved in the city–and last year, she made it clear that she wanted her old job back.
In this crowded field, Dixon, 61, faces the unique challenge of building on her past expertise while also distancing herself from her past mistakes. We spoke with her about what she’s learned in recent years–and how she would govern the city, if given the chance to do so again:
Sum up your life philosophy in one sentence.
Never let a moment pass when you’re not using the talents God gave you to make a difference in the lives of others.
When did you define your most important goals, and what are they?
I’m my best self when I’m active and doing something positive in the community. I have high expectations for myself, my family and the city of Baltimore, as my children Jasmine and Joshua would tell you. Even back when I was a teacher, I saw talented students who were being held back so I would sneak them into a higher-level class so they could be challenged.