Thank you very, very much Mr. President.
It is an honor to be here to honor two of Maryland’s greatest public servants. Two leaders who fought, their entire lives, for the hopes and dreams and aspirations that all of us share. And who helped renew our faith in our belief that government can actually work. That our government can serve people. That our government can make people’s lives better.
And it’s so great to be here as we rightly honor my friend, my father-in-law, and my mentor Joe Curran. And as we honor my friend, my mentor, and my sometimes tormentor William Donald Schaefer.
William Donald Schaefer
William Donald Schaefer was an icon to everyone who loved the City of Baltimore. He had that hard-working, can-do grit that called upon all of us to do it now and to get it done. To put excuses on the side and forge ahead.
Under his steady hand, we rebuilt that beautiful front door on what was stagnant backwaters. We built the glistening Inner Harbor as a symbol of pride and hope for generations to come, which says so much about the renewing spirit of Baltimore.
Although he will certainly be remembered for the bricks and the mortar and the things that are important for rebuilding a city. He also, probably more importantly, rebuilt a sense of hope and a sense of renewal in our city. He told us that we were good people and that it was our city to save or to lose – challenging everyone to remember that Baltimore, in many ways, is capable of greatness, and still is.
As Governor and then Comptroller, he brought the very same commitment to our State – a tireless leader. And even when people disagreed with him, they always knew that at least he felt firmly and sincerely whatever it was that he felt – and he continues to stand up for what he believes in.
Joe Curran has been a force for progress in our state for five decades. Throughout his years of service, he has set a standard for honesty, for decency, for integrity in government, and for respect for others who may disagree with us.
He really was a person who, as a committee chairman, sometimes drove the Senate President crazy because he always let everyone have their say – respecting every person.
To borrow from Arthur Schlesinger, he “saw power not as an end itself, but as a means of redeeming the powerless.”
In the face of some of our greatest challenges and injustices, he held fast to the idea of what our State and our country could become – a place that respects the dignity of every individual and advances the common good.
I think his life of principled service tells all of us that every person matters. Every person in our state matters. And that God wants every partial victory.
I don’t think Maryland has ever produced a more universally admired public servant, or a better statesman, than Joe Curran.
So in closing, we are very grateful to our two honorees for your commitment to the people of our state. We have been blessed be your good work and your caring hands.
Together, they have improved our lives and thereby improved the life of our State.
Thank you both for what you’ve done for all of us.