Governor O’Malley Receives Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service
September 20, 2007
Narrator: Martin O’Malley, the eldest of six children, was born to a loving Irish Catholic family in Bethesda, Maryland. His enthusiasm for life and the people around him was evident early on and would lead to a lifetime passion for history, Irish culture and music.
Governor O’Malley: I have two older sisters and three younger brothers and my parents, Tom and Barbara O’Malley, are two of the most decent and loving parents that any person could ever have.
Narrator: Martin attended Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C., whose mission is to educate its students to help those less fortunate. Martin embraced the Jesuit philosophy by tutoring impoverished neighborhood children through the Eagles Program.
Dr. Warman, Gonzaga College HS Play Director: As a student and as a student actor, he was always extremely respectful and polite and dignified and gentlemanly, and yet lots of fun.
Danny Costello, Former Band Mate: The band, Shannon Tide. Well, again, we were -- I was a JV football coach and Martin was playing the tin whistle. We had a couple practices and I said, yeah, this is a lot of fun, you know, maybe in the summertime when a lot of the regular bands don’t play at the bars, there might be an opening and maybe we can get out there, we learn some tunes. And Burt said, Next week. I said, What do you mean, next week? We have a job next week.
Narrator: After high school Martin enrolled in Catholic University, still devoted to the ideals instilled in him by his parents, he chose to take time from his studies to join in Senator Gary Hart’s bid for the presidency.
Senator Gary Hart: As an individual, I think whether he’s Governor -- whether he was Governor or not, or Mayor or not, people would like Martin. He’s a very attractive personality, I think that’s self-evident. And he likes people, he likes to be around people, enjoys people.
Narrator: Hart’s campaign offered Martin the opportunity to get involved on a national level. His leadership qualities allowed him to rise through the ranks and truly stand out amongst his peers. Soon he was helping run the campaign, with responsibilities rare for someone of his age and experience.
Again Martin interrupted his studies and was appointed the State Field Director for Barbara Mikulski’s primary and general campaign. He would play a crucial role in Mikulski becoming the first woman elected to the Senate from an Old Line State. The campaign would not only be a success because of Mikulski’s victory, but because Martin first caught the eye of the beautiful and intelligent and Catherine Curran, who was out campaigning for her father.
Judge Catherine. O’Malley: Well, he’s not very complicated, but he’s very smart and that was one of the first things I liked about him when we were dating. He seemed like, you know, he had passion and motivation and he was certainly very confident. But he was also very funny and, you know, he makes me laugh all the time. He’s got a great knack at telling jokes and just finding humor in a lot of things in life, which is what, I think, helps us, you know, get through any of our difficult times. It helps everybody. So that’s the one thing that really made me fall in love with him, is his wonderful sense of humor.
Martin is -- he’s a very -- he’s a wonderful man. I’ve just been lucky to have him as a husband for these 17 years coming up in about a week.
Governor O’Malley: Governing and campaigning are two different things and campaigns can be very, very hard and very, very grueling, especially on family members.
Joe Curran, Former MD Attorney General: You’d see him, you know, out of City Hall, you’d see him in the neighborhoods, you see him at the neighborhood associations. You’d go to events and he would be talking to, you know, the community, rather than just doing, you know, a radio spot somewhere or a TV spot somewhere. And that was important.
Narrator: In 1999 Martin announced he would be running for Mayor. He won the race and wasted no time rallying the citizens to take part in improving Baltimore.
Mike Cryor, Chairman, MD Democratic Party: Some years ago when we were doing the Believe Campaign here in Baltimore and I had the pleasure of serving as co-chair for that campaign, he spoke before a large audience of members of the business community, virtually all of them were poor or white. And he talked about the fact that a young African American boy had been killed a few days before and how little concern and outrage had been expressed by the community, particularly the white community. And he felt that it was a shame that that child could not generate the same level of concern had that child come from or been a white child, there would have been far more outrage, far more concern. And that was a measure of how far we had yet to go.
Bill Clinton: There’s a reason Time Magazine named Martin one of America’s best mayors; his dedication to safer streets, quality schools, and making Government work better. I’ve seen him at work, fighting for the right kind of change, always pursuing middle class families’ interests before the special interests.
Governor O’Malley: It allowed us to turn around a lot of problems that many of us in the City and in the State have thought were absolutely intractable in the City.
Mike Cryor: CitiStat, I think, has revolutionized not only Baltimore’s accounting of its investment and progress, it’s frankly been a model for other cities around the country. I think around the world. We’ve had people come to Baltimore from many, many places who are fascinated with the ability to measure and to hold both the City and others accountable for what they propose to do.
Narrator: During this time the statistics showed an under-funded school system. Martin took responsibility personally and established a powerful rapport with the children of Baltimore, making it easier for them to achieve and succeed through their education.
Mike Cryor: Now that he’s Governor, he actually has a little more time at home. It used to bother me that he couldn’t get home as often as he wanted to be and the boys are growing up and he’s had an opportunity to take vacations and to spend time. And I’ve seen him relax, to grow and to benefit from the time away and the time with family. They are certainly the most important thing to him. That’s always been obvious.
Joe Curran: His delivery is great. His facts are solid. And that may come from the fact that he’s been on the stage so many times. I mean, when you’re on stage before sometimes dozens, sometimes hundreds, sometimes even a thousand or more people, there’s a stage presence and he has that. So that when he’s talking in a political campaign, he has a great advantage over the other party, because he’s done it, you know, again and again and again.
Tommy D’Alessandro, Former Mayor: I don’t believe that Governor O’Malley’s career in politics is going to end at Governor. Physically he’s strong enough, politically he’s strong enough that I think in the future he will make an imprint on the national scene. I hope that I’m around to see that come into fruition. I wish to congratulate the Woodrow Wilson Foundation for bestowing this honor on a very, very worth recipient.
Governor O’Malley: You see, I think, in the spirit and the character of the people of Baltimore, the character of the greatest city in America.