It’s great to be here today with the good people of Gaithersburg. I can think of no better place to be than with my friend, Mayor Sidney Katz, the President of the Maryland Municipal League and one of the best Mayors we have in Maryland. (Applause)
There are few days that Lt. Governor Brown and I enjoy as much as travelling the State with your entire cabinet. They work for you. We’re old-fashioned in the O’Malley-Brown Administration. We think that since all of us have to pay taxes, our State government should be professional, competent, and help us get things done. (Applause)
When John Smith first set foot on this land, he declared that Montgomery County was, “without question, the most healthful and pleasant place in all this country.” We all still feel that way, and now with biotech you’re now even more healthful.
Montgomery County is home to more than 32,000 businesses, employing nearly 400,000 Marylanders, and it’s a place where great minds converge. It’s a place of tremendous diversity, and it’s a rare thing to have that diversity – the high number of PhD’s, the innovation, the science, and the discovery – all happening in one place with such a positive quality of life. That incredible spectrum of assets really comes together in this wonderful City of Gaithersburg.
We just came from the Archstone portion of Olde Town, a tremendous shot of vitality into the center of Gaithersburg. It’s exactly what we’re talking about when we talk about smart and sustainable growth. I also understand that the City of Gaithersburg passed an ordinance requiring all newly-built commercial offices in the city to be smart, green, LEED-certified buildings. Earlier today, we were at the Monument Office Building for our cabinet meeting – the city’s first LEED Silver-certified commercial building.
The other great thing about Capital for a Day is that your cabinet members get to join their counterparts at your local health department, your local office of economic development, your folks at parks, and join together to focus on the goals that we all share – to strengthen and grow the ranks of an upwardly-mobile middle class, to improve public safety and public education, and to expand opportunity.
That’s what we’re about. That’s our mission statement. The only way to do that in a lasting way for future generations is through the sort of partnerships that we have with dynamic and vibrant mayors like Mayor Katz and his council, as well as Ike Leggett and the Montgomery County Council. This is a very, very strong county and a strong State, in a country that is going to become stronger everyday now as we move forward.
One of the hallmarks of our character as a people is that during times of adversity, we rise and face it together. That’s what the Maryland 400 did in the American Revolution, that’s what Marylanders have been doing every generation since.
We’ve made some important investments in our shared future, even in tough times, with record funding for public education this year – $5.3 billion.
How do we compare to the first two years of the prior administration? I’m glad you asked. In the first two years of the prior administration, they provided $19.6 million for school construction in Montgomery County. Together with the hard work of your delegation, in the first two years of the O’Malley-Brown Administration we provided $98.6 million for school construction in Montgomery County. (Applause)
Our State has also now increased funding to our Community Colleges by about 37%, including a $1.4 million Maryland Economic Development Assistance Fund (MEDAF) conditional grant to Montgomery College, which will help pay for your new science and technology business park, as well as the Germantown Life Sciences Innovation Center.
Working together, we were able to move our ranking in terms of our biotech economy from 4th in the country to 2nd because of investments like this. When they looked at the criteria of what we invest and the talents and skills of our people, we weren’t 4th, we weren’t 3rd, we weren’t 2nd – we were number one. We were even ahead of Massachusetts in terms of what we invest in the talents and skills of our people, according to the Milken Institute.
Why do we do that? One reason and one reason only: to strengthen and grow the ranks of an upwardly-mobile middle class. That’s what takes us into a better and brighter future for our kids and for theirs. So they can grow up in a place that’s more just, more inclusive, and where there’s more opportunity.
That’s why it is my great honor to be here with you today in Gaithersburg, Maryland.