Thank you all very, very much. It’s really an honor to be here today.
Mayor Bruchey, I’d like to thank you for your hospitality. On the way here, I was looking at some beautiful Victorian homes and noticed how people take such pride in keeping and maintaining the architecture on them. Everything that I have seen really looks terrific today. You can sense when you are on the streets that there is pride and spirit in this place, and that there are better days ahead of us as we continue to work together.
Hagerstown is a “hub city,” and it is one of our State’s fastest growing natural areas. I am proud to announce it as the State Capital for a day on this 8th day of May, 2008.
Many governors actually wake up every morning, sip their coffee, open up the newspaper and read about jobs leaving their state. But here in Maryland, we are actually gaining jobs, and Washington County is a big part of that. Last year, we gained 1,800 new jobs and, though there are always challenges, Washington County saw $130 million in new investment and 1.3 million square feet of new industrial and commercial construction.
In many ways, Washington County’s growth is a metaphor for progress in our entire State and what we can do for our country, so it seems only fitting that we begin our Capital for a Day tour here in Hagerstown (Applause).
We have brought our State capital here to Hagerstown today, and in the coming months we are going to have our Capital for a Day program in Pocomoke City, Cumberland, Chestertown, and Gaithersburg as well. The good news is that the lobbying corps does not follow us to any of these places (Laughter). It is simply your delegates, your mayors, the people involved in the local school system, and so many others.
We have tremendous potential across Maryland, and there is one thing that unites all of us – whether it is the local government, whether it is the municipal government, whether we are representatives that come up to Annapolis for the session, whether we are in the federal government, there is one thing that unites us – that is the map of this great State that we call Maryland. Everything that we do, regardless of what revolves around the government, should always be about strengthening and growing our middle class, providing public safety, public education, and expanding opportunity.
So, we are very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together as a people in this State as One Maryland.
One of the things that unites us as a people in Maryland is something that the founders called the yearning to secure the “blessings of liberty,” not just for ourselves, but for our posterity. In other words, what unites us as Marylanders is a future plan – something that we have had since the earliest days in the Maryland 400; it’s something that those veterans had with whom we met earlier this morning. It is that future preference and belief in the things that we share – in the dignity of every individual, in our responsibility to advance the common good, and that what we do today really does matter to the future.
When we do that, we are able to do work that not only honors our grandparent’s grandparents, but it actually makes our children’s children’s lives better, more secure, safer, and filled with more opportunity.
So, I want to thank you for coming out today. We have been able to restore, for the most part, fiscal responsibility to our State. We had to do some things that might be unpopular in the short term. But in the long term, the people of our State expect a government to make decisions not based on passing popularity, but based on long term measures for our children and theirs.
That is what we have thought and that’s why we’re able to secure record investments in school construction. Over the past two years, in Washington County alone, we have invested $9.4 million dollars in school construction (Applause), which compares to the $4.4 million invested here in the first two years of the prior administration.
We want to do be able to do more every year, whether it is investments for teachers, nurses, firefighters, police and rescue workers, and more investments like these in our future.
Again, we are so glad to be here in Hagerstown. We are also proud to honor local emergency service workers and keep the memories of those 9/11 victims alive in Hagerstown City Park (Applause). So today, I am proud to declare Hagerstown the “Capital for a Day.”
Thank you very much (Applause).