The induction of Wes Moore(D) to the office of Governor of Maryland was slightly less glamorous than that of Larry Hogan (R). Oprah Winfrey introduced Moore. Chelsea Clinton was seated behind her at the Grandstand Seating Area overlooking Annapolis’ Lawyers Mall. Moore recognized Hogan, but he made it a point to acknowledge him. Moore thanked Hogan for his kindness and said they were grateful to him and the entire team who helped them through this transition. We are thankful for the eight years you have given to this state we love. Moore then paused deliberately, and the crowd stood to give Hogan an ovation.
Calling one-time Baltimore TV news anchor Winfrey a “Maryland girl at heart,” Moore thanked her “for always being in my corner.” Moore also acknowledged his children and wife. Moore was the first African American to give an inaugural speech for Maryland governor.
The historical significance of this moment cannot be overlooked. Moore administered the oath to the office Wednesday morning while holding a Frederick Douglass bible. Moore noted that Moore was only blocked from Annapolis’ docks, where enslaved Africans arrived once more than a century ago. He also recalled African-Americans’ “uneven and unimaginable” progress over the years.
But Maryland also has a history of making it possible, Moore said in welcoming Aruna Miller’s Indian mother Aruna Miller and his Jamaican mother. Another standing ovation followed. On her history-making road to the second-highest statewide office in Maryland, Miller was sworn in with her hand on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, the most-revered Hindu text.
Moore shifted his focus to the present and future: “this journey has never been about making history. This is about moving forward. Today isn’t a judgment of the past. Today should be a celebration of our future. Moore spoke about being disciplined and making hard decisions, referring to the delicate balance he must perform to meet the demands of the various interest groups demanding high-priced services from his administration.
The new governor was curious about how a state that generates such revenues could become one in which one-eighth of its children live in poverty and where 250,000 citizens lack insurance. Moore stated that in a zero-sum world of losers and winners, it was customary to assume that those who are losing will continue to fail. Moore said, “We cannot accept that,” punctuating every word with a stroke of his hand on the podium.
Moore discussed the importance of improving the state’s economic climate and attracting aerospace, clean energy, and cybersecurity companies. Hogan brought a Hitachi railway car factory to Hagerstown and an electric vehicle plant from Greenland Technologies to White Marsh. A United Safety Technology medical supply facility, was also moved to Baltimore by Hogan. Moore said that Montgomery County is not the best place in America for employers.
Moore stated that Maryland could become America’s most desirable place for employees and employers. Amid rising crime in Maryland, Moore noted that “many Marylanders are weary of the belief in governments being able to keep them safe.” Moore said that “we can and will not militarize ourselves for safety” and pointed out that “Maryland incarcerates more African-American boys than any other country in this nation.” He stated that he was a governor “who knows what it is like to be handcuffed on my wrists…I experienced this when I was eleven years old.” It’s hard to be there for families as they mourn those who have been victims of violence. There is no need to choose between a secure or just state. ”
Moore pledged Maryland that it will be 100% renewable energy by 2035 and would create thousands of new jobs by focusing its efforts on wind power. Moore said that not all children need to attend college to succeed and cited his military service and community college. Moore said that he believes things went well.
Like most inaugural speeches, Moore lacked actual policy and cost numbers. He mentioned a specific plan to create a high school graduate service year. He promised that he would succeed despite the doubters who claimed he won’t be able to overcome “toxic partyism.” However, Annapolis has no problem, as Democrats hold every state office and chamber. After eight years under the Hogan administration, Moore will have to rein in his party’s aspirations. And even Hogan could not block much of the Democrats’ agenda during that time.
Recognizing that position of near-total power, Moore promised that “we have a unique place and space to do something special.” Moore stated that Moore was in an unusual and powerful place, which he could use to translate his successful term as governor and impressive resume into future presidential campaign discussions. This party has had trouble finding the next John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama among its young ranks since 2016.
Let us continue to march ’til we win. The victory is not today. This is your chance. This is the time to show love and leadership. This is our chance to be compassionate.
This is our chance to be fearless for the future. Maryland, it’s our moment. It’s our time to create a state for all those who have gone before us. A state that honors the sacrifices they made, and that doesn’t leave anyone behind. It isn’t a slogan.
This is the realization of a dream. Maryland now is the time to lead and work together. God Bless you and Thank You. ”