Governor Martin O'Malley Visits Upper Marlboro to Continue Town Hall Meetings On Education and the Economy
Discusses State Services to Assist Families in Tough Times; Discusses Efforts to Strengthen Safety Net for Marylanders
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UPPER MARLBORO, MD (February 11, 2009) – Governor Martin O’Malley today continued his Town Hall on Education and the Economy tour, the second in a series of town hall meetings at Dr. Henry Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro.
Governor O’Malley, Lt. Governor Brown talked with Prince George’s County and Montgomery County citizens about services the State provides to assist individuals and families in these tough economic times. Members of Governor O’Malley’s Cabinet were also in attendance to answer questions about State services that are available to Maryland citizens.
“It’s great to be here with all of you tonight in Prince George’s County,” Governor O’Malley said. “Tonight, we want to hear your thoughts, questions, and concerns. And we want to share with you some of the things we are doing in your State government to help our families find a way forward in these difficult economic times.”
“We understand how hard this national crisis has hit working families. Despite tough times, we are optimistic and so are my neighbors in Prince George’s County,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “Crime is down and test scores are up across the county. Governor O’Malley and I look forward to working with County Executive Johnson to protect the progress we have made, survive these tough times, and thrive for years to come.”
Governor O’Malley highlighted a number of services and initiatives the State provides for Marylanders struggling during these tough economic times, including:
- Foreclosure aid services;
- Assistance for seniors and people with disabilities;
- Higher education financial aid;
- The Maryland Energy Assistance Program;
- Transportation discount and credit aid;
- Employment services;
- Health services;
- Veterans’ opportunities; and much more.
A full list of State services that are available can be found at problemsolver.maryland.gov.
Governor O’Malley noted that although there is room to be optimistic, Prince Georgians, like others across the State, are struggling in these tough economic times. According to RealtyTrac, Prince George’s County with 3,621 events continued to have the largest number of foreclosure filings in Maryland, accounting for more than a third of all foreclosures statewide (36.1 percent). Montgomery County with 1,517 foreclosure filings (15.1 percent of the total) had the second highest number of foreclosures in Maryland. Notices of mortgage loan default issued in Maryland increased by 37.6 percent to 7,216 in the fourth quarter, representing 72 percent of all foreclosure events, by far the largest share.
During his address, Governor O’Malley shared an excerpt of a letter from a Prince George’s County resident, “Jane,” who was struggling to pay her mortgage. Jane has been on time with her mortgage payments for more than six years and she’s been trying for five months to get her lender to freeze the rate on her adjustable rate mortgage. So far she hasn’t received a response from her lender.
“I was told many things but I don’t think it’s fair to people like myself who took the initiative to initiate the process of asking for assistance before it’s too late,… Is anyone listening to what is going on with me? … I hope you will give me the assistance I deserve since I am an honest, hardworking citizen who is struggling to hold on to my home.”
Governor O’Malley said, “Jane, we are listening. We have neighbors like Jane in every part of our State. Resilient Marylanders who have worked hard all their lives and played by the rules, only to have the rug pulled out from under them. Who continue to be driven by faith and hope and just want to be able to provide for themselves and their kids. We are working very hard to stand up and fight for them.”
Even during these tough times, Maryland has made significant progress in public education and higher education, public safety, and healthcare. For example, Maryland has seen its second largest single-year homicide reduction in 25 years with 66 fewer murders, 34 fewer fire deaths; and 60 fewer lives lost on our roads to traffic accidents last year. Affordable healthcare has successfully been expanded 100,000 additional Maryland families, including 3,400 in Prince George’s, and 2,404 in Montgomery County; Maryland has conserved nearly 21,000 ecologically valuable acres through Program Open Space – quintupling Maryland’s progress by more than 16,000 acres versus the previous administration; and Maryland has seen four straight years of zero percent increase for in-state college tuition, expanding affordable higher education to more Marylanders rather than fewer.
To protect Maryland’s middle class families, over the last two years, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has: passed what the Washington Post called “among the most sweeping [reforms] in the country” to help Maryland’s most vulnerable neighbors, assembled more than 700 volunteer lawyers to aid at-risk homeowners, and negotiated agreements with six loan servicers to help borrowers and lenders find alternatives to foreclosure; created 33 One Stop Centers which provide résumé, computer training, and job search services; expanded opportunity to more women and minority business owners by increasing State awards to MBE firms; and recovered $1.2 million in unpaid wages owed to Maryland workers and passed the nation’s first living wage law.