Fraser Smith | WYPR

Fraser Smith

Fraser Smith has been in the news business for over 30 years.  He began his reportorial career with the Jersey Journal, a daily New Jersey newspaper and then moved on to the Providence Journal in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1969 Fraser won a prestigious American Political Science Association Public Affairs Fellowship, which enabled him to devote a year to graduate study at Yale University.  In 1977, Fraser was hired away by The Baltimore Sun where in 1981, he moved to the newspaper's Washington bureau to focus on policy problems and their everyday effect on Marylanders.  In 1983, he became the Sun's chief political reporter.

During his career as a reporter, Fraser was the recipient of numerous journalism awards: from UPI New England in 1973, from AP New England in 1974 and 1975, from Roy W. Howard in 1975, from Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association in 1981, and from Sigma Delta Chi in 1986.  His Sun series on lead paint poisoning, which he wrote with his wife, Eileen Canzian, won first place and best of show honors in 1987 from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association.  Between 1999 and 2003, he has served as an editorial writer and columnist for the Sun.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake calls upon the black men of Baltimore to become mentors and activists in the fight against crime.

WYPR's Fraser Smith talks to The Daily Record's Danny Jacobs about Marilyn Mosby's new reign as the City State's Attorney.  Who is she letting go, why, and does her husband, Councilman Nick Mosby have any thing to do with those decisions? 

YPR's Fraser Smith talks to The Baltimore Sun's Mark Puente about the police brutality settlements Baltimore has paid: Should the city be allowed to silence victims who have received settlements? Should it be illegal?

WYPR's Fraser Smith talks to The Daily Record's Adam Bednar about what lessons in leadership Maryland legislators could learn from The Baltimore Orioles's manager, Buck Showalter.

When you get on the civil rights train, you can never get off. That was the late Parren Mitchell’s urging. Contemporary events, if nothing else, prove him quite right. He and his famous civil rights family knew the landscape as well as any. You couldn’t get off the civil rights train because it had not – might not ever – reach its destination. The struggle would not end. You had to ride on and on. 

The State Center complex in Baltimore is one of the remaining items that Governor Martin O'Malley may push for in his last month in office. WYPR's Fraser Smith and Christopher Connelly talk about the origin of the project and why its future is in jeopardy.

Last month, voters in the District of Columbia approved a referendum that allowed residents to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow as many as three cannabis plants. But Maryland Rep. Andy Harris (R-Baltimore Co.) has continued his opposition to pot legalization in the nation's capital. WYPR's Fraser Smith talks to Washington Post reporter Aaron Davis about efforts by Harris to block legalization in D.C. and why the issue is likely to end up in court.

Comptroller Peter Franchot has a finely tuned political ear – and little regard for political correctness. He realized early that former governor William Donald Schaefer was in decline and ready to be knocked off – by his own party. Franchot stepped up.

Franchot saw the anti-tax sentiment of Marylanders peaking as the 2014 election loomed. Earlier actually. He declined to pamper reliable Democratic voters as he was defeating Schaefer.

Maryland's film tax credits, enjoyed by local television productions like 'House of Cards,' was called "significantly more generous than other business tax incentives" by an analyst at the Department of Legislative Services. WYPR's Fraser Smith and Erin Cox of the Baltimore Sun talk about the debate over the tax credits and why Gov.-elect Larry Hogan has not indicated whether he'll work  to end or reduce them.

Time is running out for Gov. Martin O'Malley to decide whether or not to commute Maryland's four remaining death sentences before he leaves office in January. WYPR's Fraser Smith and Christopher Connelly talk about why the state's repeal of the death penalty in 2013 created complicated legal questions for both O'Malley and the courts.

The General Assembly begins in early January and one longtime lawmaker, State Sen. David Brinkley (R) of Frederick and Carroll Counties, will not return to his post after a defeat in the June primary. WYPR's Fraser Smith talks to him about the increased partisanship in Annapolis in recent years and what governor-elect Larry Hogan needs to do to have a successful session.

Governor-elect Larry Hogan (R) has assembled a transition team and one prominent member is former State Sen. and Anne Arundel County Executive Bobby Neall.  WYPR's Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about what this decision says about how Hogan might lead in Annapolis.

A disturbed and obstreperous hospital patient was physically restrained and then hit with an electronic stun gun repeatedly. The patient, George King, fell into a coma. A week later, he died.

“Natural causes,” according to the state medical examiner. And the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office says the police were not responsible.

For an old police reporter, the report was reminiscent of the arrestee who falls getting in or out of the police wagon. Used to happen all the time – as a way to explain bruises accumulated on the way to the station house.

How many police are working to protect a casino with dismally low attendance numbers? And is one too many?  How much is this costing Baltimore's taxpayers? Fraser Smith talks to Mark Reutter who reports the story in The Baltimore Brew

Was Larry Hogan the only upset?  Were there other Republican wins in Maryland this week? Andy Green, from Baltimore Sun's Editorial page, talks to Fraser about the other big winners in this week's general election. 

Republican Larry Hogan's upset over Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown stood out in a night of big victories by the GOP around the country. But Richard Cross of the blog Cross Purposes tells WYPR's Fraser Smith why he thinks Hogan's win is not part of the anti-Obama wave.


It ain't over yet - Maryland's gubernatorial race is giving voters the full end-of-campaign treatment. 

Voters Get Racial Appeals In Campaign's Final Days

Next week, Maryland might become the third state ever to elect an African American as its governor, although race has not been a prominent topic in the campaign thus far. WYPR's Fraser Smith and Christopher Connelly talk about the direct overtures that the state Democratic Party has made to black voters in the past week.

Candidates Ignore Facts In Nasty Governor's Race

Election day is less than two weeks away and the two major candidates for governor continue their negative campaigning. WYPR's Fraser Smith talks to Andy Green of the Baltimore Sun about the economic claims Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan are using to smear each other.

Gun Control May Yet Ensnare Hogan

Although Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan has tried to avoid a debate on social issues, Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has been hammering him on gun control this week. WYPR's Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about what, if anything, the controversy reveals.

Why Anthony Brown's Tax Promise Is Risky

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democratic nominee for governor, has declared that he would not raise taxes if elected governor. WYPR's Fraser Smith and Bryan Sears of the Daily Record talk about how that might put Brown in a difficult political position if voters choose him in November.

Martin O’Malley surely gets glowing introductions as he tours presidential testing sites. Good for him that Maryland’s not on his list. For a governor who helped guide Maryland through the Great Recession with minimal damage, his standing among this state’s voters is less than anemic.

He takes solid story with him on the road:

A record of sound fiscal management. One of the best public school systems in the nation. An array of social issue triumphs from gay marriage to gun control and repeal of the death penalty.

Baltimore County may once again be Maryland’s swing district: Republican in one cycle, Democratic in the next.

Right now, in the race for governor, Republican Larry Hogan leads Democrat Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown by a slim margin in the county. That’s according to a Washington Post poll published Monday. Democratic leaders and campaign door-knockers find considerable antipathy to Governor Martin O’Malley in the county. And Lt. Gov. Brown is being effectively portrayed as O’Malley 2.0.

Md. Fracking Commission Weighs Property Rights Against Safety Concerns

Three years ago, Governor Martin O'Malley established a commission to study whether natural gas can be safely extracted from the Marcellus Shale, which runs under Garrett and Allegheny Counties. WYPR's Christopher Connelly talks with Fraser Smith about the study and the accompanying politics, as Maryland's next governor will decide whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in the state.

The Democratic Governors Association will buy $750,000 worth of television ads in Maryland's gubernatorial contest, despite what many assume will be an easy win for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the party's nominee.

How Two Maryland Representatives Made Their Marks During Watergate

WYPR's Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about Paul Sarbanes and Larry Hogan Sr., who were both members of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 and voted in committee to impeach President Richard Nixon.

Mosby Victory Not Precisely A Matter Of Black And White

WYPR's Fraser Smith and Ian Duncan of the Baltimore Sun talk about the vote breakdown in Marilyn Mosby's victory over Gregg Bernstein in the Democratic primary for Baltimore State's Attorney, and why it brings into question a typical assumption about who votes in Baltimore.

Why Maryland May Have A Competitive Governor's Race

WYPR's Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about why they think that despite Democrats' significant voter registration advantage, this year's campaign for governor may be a real race.