By Martin O’Malley
A few months ago, we announced the first-ever “Governor for a Day” contest to encourage young women to pursue careers in public service. Throughout my life, I’ve benefited from being surrounded by strong and talented women–from my mother, wife, and daughters; to the women of the O’Malley-Brown Administration; to my days working for Senator Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in Congress and first ever woman to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In Maryland, our diversity is our greatest strength and the accomplishments of women are an integral part of our progress as a people. Together, we’ve made the better choices to support our women-owned businesses, appoint a record number of exceptional women to the bench, provide better health care to those previously uninsured, and drive down violence against women.
One-third of all businesses in Maryland are owned by women, the country’s highest percentage, according to the National Women’s Business Council. Our State has the second lowest wage gap between working men and women. And in FY2012, Minority Business Enterprise participation reached 25.2 percent, marking the first time the State achieved its goal of 25 percent program participation. Over the past five years, awards to women-owned firms increased 59 percent, from $322.9 million in FY2007 to $550.8 million in FY2012.
But there is still work to be done. That’s why I launched this essay contest: to make sure young women know that they can be anything they want…including governor.
After receiving more than 200 essay submissions from young women under 13 explaining why they want to be governor of Maryland and what they would do if they were “Governor for a Day,” we are pleased to announce the winner.
Meet Genea Harrison.
Genea is an eight-year-old student from Prince George’s County who is heading into the fourth grade at Rosa L. Parks Elementary. She has a younger brother named Marley and a pet dog named Sheba. Her favorite color is pink, and her favorite subject is science. When she grows up, Genea dreams of being a science teacher…but would also settle on being a fashion designer.
We chose Genea after reviewing many highly-qualified and diverse applicants because she represents the better choices each of us can make to create a stronger Maryland for generations to come. In her essay, she tells us about her choices for progress—choices that include investing in education, public safety, job creation, and the environment.
Congratulations, Genea! I’m pleased to officially swear you in as “Governor for a Day” on July 2, and we look forward to a full day of gubernatorial activities. Thank you to all the young applicants who took the time to submit an essay. You give us all hope and remind us that every decision we make counts toward the better future our children deserve.
Below is Genea’s winning essay:
“Governor for a Day”
By: Genea Harrison
Rosa L. Parks Elementary
I would like to be governor for a day to help improve the State of Maryland. The governor has a lot of important roles such as being head of the executive branch of the government of Maryland, the commander-in-chief of the state’s National Guard, and is responsible for the state’s budget. The governor serves a four year term and is elected by the people. Some other important things that the governor is involved in are education, the safety of the people, the environment, and jobs.
As the governor I would help improve public schools by making classes smaller. This will help students have more time to learn with their teacher. I would like to add more after school activities and make them free for all students. This will help students improve their learning skills and keep them out of trouble. I would also like to include Spanish classes to elementary schools so that you can start learning another language at a young age.
As the governor I would bring more safety to the people by supporting the police and fire departments. I would also make free training classes for children to learn how to protect themselves from bad people. Another way that I can make Maryland more safe is by making sure kids can’t get a hold of drugs.
As the governor protecting the environment is important to me. I would plant more trees and not let people cut down trees in certain areas. I would also educate people about pollution and recycling and would put more trash and recycling cans around the cities. I would also help people make their homes more energy efficient to save on electric and heating bills.
Another important thing is protecting the Chesapeake Bay from trash and pollution for the fish and crabs.
The last important thing I would like to do is help create jobs and provide job training for people. I would help create jobs by creating work for people to do like fixing roads and buildings. I would provide job training by creating workshops for people to attend to learn new jobs like computer and office training.
Being the Governor of Maryland takes a lot of work and time thinking of ways to improve the state. If I was governor for the day, I would put the people first and think about what is most important to them and make the state of Maryland a better and safer place to live.