Del. Sandy Rosenberg, who represents Baltimore from his seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, got his start in politics from a fairly early age. “There’s this picture of me campaigning with my mother, when, if you assume it was for [Adlai Stevenson, who ran for president in 1952 and 1956], I was six years old. So I’ve always been interested in government and politics.”
A resident of Baltimore’s Coldspring Newtown development and a member of Beth Am Synagogue, Rosenberg, 70, grew up in the city’s Cross Country neighborhood, near what had been Har Sinai Congregation, where he had his bar mitzvah and was confirmed.
Rosenberg attended Cross Country Elementary School. “There is absolutely no one who knows me from when I went to Cross Country who would be surprised that my career has been as a member of the Maryland General Assembly,” he said. Prior to those ambitions, though, he set his sights on and was elected as the president of the student government at his high school of City College.
Rosenberg’s favorite part of being a delegate, he said, was “getting things done … whether it is moving public policy in the right direction, what I consider to be the right direction, or getting something done for a neighborhood.” The best example he could think of involved his work on the redevelopment of the Pimlico race track.
Rosenberg recalled a meeting five years ago with the racetrack’s owners, and how the conversation began careening in the direction of moving the Preakness Stakes to a racecourse in Laurel. Rosenberg began pushing for a study on the viability of a rebuilt Pimlico, which was later conducted by the Maryland Stadium Authority. Currently, the Stadium Authority is expected to award a contract for the planning and design of a new racing facility in December, Rosenberg said.
“In addition to saving the Preakness, 51% of that property is going to be redeveloped for non-racing uses,” Rosenberg said. “And so that can be a catalyst for the … community, north and south of the track.”
Other issues close to his heart, Rosenberg said, include the death penalty and reproductive choice.
“I was the leader in the House of Delegates when Maryland repealed the death penalty,” Rosenberg said. “And I consider that to be the most profound thing I will ever do, is to help bring that about.”
Rosenberg also spoke of how, nearly 30 years ago when he was (again) the House floor leader, he and his colleagues passed a law “that established the holding, the principle of Roe v. Wade in Maryland law. That is that, prior to viability of a fetus, the state cannot regulate a woman’s decision, it’s up to the woman with the people whom she chooses to consult.”
Because of this, Rosenberg explained, even if the current Supreme Court were to either weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade, it would have no effect on Maryland or its residents.
Regarding the current state of the country, Rosenberg said that “we have to demonstrate that the system still works.” He also mentioned some recent remarks made by Bill Ferguson, the president of the Maryland Senate, on “how important, how essential being honest is as a member, in all of your dealings, with whomever you’re dealing.”
On what his Jewish identity means to him personally, Rosenberg spoke of the lessons he learned as a student at Har Sinai, and of the sort of community that can be found at Beth Am. In particular, he said “to repair the world, tikkun olam, is something that I feel is essential to Judaism.”