Committees: Chair, Judiciary and Legislative Investigations; Vice Chair, Budget and Appropriations; Vice Chair, Land Use and Transportation; Recreation and Parks.
Born and raised in Baltimore city, Jim Kraft has fought for the community – as an activist, community leader, and neighbor – for over 40 years. A father of three and grandfather of eight, Jim understands the opportunities and challenges of supporting a family in the City.
Since his election to the Baltimore City Council in 2004, Jim has worked to make the First District “Safe, Smart, Green and Growing.” On the City Council, he is Chair of the Judiciary & Legislative Investigations Committee, the Vice Chair of the Budget & Appropriations and Land Use & Transportation Committees, and a member of the Recreation & Parks Committee. He represents Baltimore City to the Maryland Municipal League and is the Council representative to the Veterans Commission and the Hispanics Commission.
A member of St. Casimir’s Church, Patterson Park Neighborhood Association, the Friends of Patterson Park, the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, Friends of Canton Library, Creative Alliance, and the Greektown CDC, he is committed to serving the neighborhoods of the First District.
Jim served three terms on the Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee and was State Senator for the 46th legislative district in 1998. He has also been Vice President and Treasurer of the Fells Prospect Community Association.
Growing up in a tight-knit Waverly community, Jim got his first taste of politics as a 10-year-old during the 1960 presidential race, when he helped put up signs and campaign for the Democratic nominee, John F. Kennedy. As a teenager he would become active in his Parish Council and community association. He’s a proud to be a Mt. St. Joseph Grad.
Jim graduated from Towson University with a degree in secondary education, history, and political science. While there, he joined the Young Democrats, volunteering for Paul Sarbanes’ first run for the Maryland House of Delegates. Jim’s work with the Maryland Democratic Party Executive Committee would continue for over 30 years.
In his twenties, Jim worked at Union Memorial hospital, Western Auto, and as a part-time organizer for St. Bernard’s Parish and the North East Community Organization. In the community he was in his element, working with neighbors to stop blockbusting and redlining practices.
Later Jim worked as a store manager during the day to put himself through law school at the University of Baltimore. Although his job with Western Auto took him to Howard County, Jim remained invested in the City and in 1997 decided to move back home to Baltimore. The strong sense of community in Patterson Park reminded him of the neighborhood where he grew up, and he purchased his home where he lives with his wife, Tammy.
“It’s the Baltimore I grew up in, and it’s the Baltimore that will be here for the next 50 years,” he says.
Jim is a Baltimorean by birth and a Baltimorean by choice.