Governor Martin O'Malley Delivers Keynote Address at 2008 Maryland Municipal League Convention
ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 24, 2008) – Governor Martin O’Malley, focusing on public education, public safety, community development, and the importance of state and local partnerships, delivered the keynote address tonight before over 1,000 state, county, and local officials from over 120 municipalities attending the 2008 Maryland Municipal League Convention’s Inaugural Dinner.
Governor O’Malley, a former Mayor of Baltimore, spoke from experience to the audience of local officials who rely on strong state and federal partnerships to manage the challenges facing their respective jurisdictions.
“Because we understand how important your work is, we are doing all we can at the State level to support you,” Governor O’Malley said. “Since Lt. Governor Brown and I took office, we’ve provided $4 billion more local aid than did our predecessors during the comparable period, an increase of 47 percent. We are working very hard to create and maintain partnerships with all of you, believing, as Dr. King taught us, that we are all ‘caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.’”
Despite the difficult economy, Governor O’Malley highlighted several areas where Maryland outpaces the rest of the nation. “Although these are difficult times, we’re starting to see some rays of light seeping through those economic storm clouds. Here in our One Maryland, job growth has outpaced the national average by 400 percent in the previous year. Our unemployment rate is 26 percent lower than the national rate, and exports out of the Port of Baltimore are up 32 percent in the first quarter.”
Governor O’Malley also addressed an issue many of the local officials in the audience grapple with daily: public safety.
“The fight against crime is the same as the fight for equal opportunity or the battle against hunger and deprivation. It is the fight to preserve that quality of community, which is at the root of our great nation – a battle for the quality of our lives,” said Governor O’Malley. “In this fight, we’ve been able to come together as One Maryland during these past 16 months and make real and steady progress. By working together with State, local and federal officials, today, homicides are down 19 percent. Just think about what this means beyond the numbers and the statistics – what it means for every parent who won’t have to bare the most unconscionable and tragic pain a human being ever could face, that being the loss of a son or a daughter. Just think about what it means for every child who won’t have to grow up without a big brother or a big sister.”
“Because we recognize the importance of these partnerships, our Administration has been able to award 688 GOCCP grants in the past year – totaling nearly $49 million – despite difficult economic times. In addition, we’ve provided $18 million more in public safety aid to local authorities versus the previous administration – an increase of 11 percent.”
Focusing on a key priority of the O’Malley-Brown Administration, Governor O’Malley discussed the local advantages of smart growth policies, and promoted the announcement today of five new “Main Street Maryland” communities. “When we invest in our main streets and concentrate growth in a sustainable manner, we not only help clean our air by reducing traffic-related emissions, we also give parents more time to help their kids with homework or coach little league, because they are spending less time in their cars commuting to work. And we also help preserve the aesthetic character of our communities for future generations.
“One of the best initiatives we’ve undertaken together is our Main Street Maryland program, in which we assist local communities with revitalization efforts of their traditional downtown business districts -- and we also help with the revitalization of nearby residential districts. Working together, we’ve made our State a national leader in their efforts. That’s why we are proud that, earlier today, we announced an expansion of Main Street Maryland to five new communities: Chestertown, Berlin, Princess Anne, Middletown, and Annapolis. So we continue to move forward toward this vision.”
The Main Street Maryland program strives to strengthen the economic potential of Maryland’s traditional main streets and neighborhoods. Using a competitive process, Main Street Maryland selects communities who have made a commitment to succeed and helps them improve the economy, appearance and image of their traditional downtown business districts.
Governor O’Malley called on the audience to work in unity to advance the shared priorities of the people of Maryland. “If we choose to be responsible; if we choose to cast aside the politics of partisanship and personal attack; if we resist the shortsighted convenience of angling for short-term political gain, then together we can bring about that safer, stronger, and more sustainable future all of us prefer. If together, we choose to answer that calling for our highest angels and choose to practice the politics of posterity, then together, through that ‘single garment of destiny’ Dr. King spoke of, we will bring about that better future. We will bring about that stronger future. We will bring about that safe future. We will bring about that more sustainable future. We will bring about that smarter future. We will bring about that more peaceful future all of us prefer.”
A voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan association controlled and maintained by city and town governments, the Maryland Municipal League (MML) works to strengthen the role and capacity of municipal government through research, legislation, technical assistance, training and the dissemination of information for its members. Through its membership in the National League of Cities MML offers legislative representation in Washington, urban research programs, and a national municipal government information exchange. MML is the only statewide organization in Maryland composed solely of municipal officials and devoted to the promotion of all branches of municipal administration.