Chestertown Capital for a Day Meet and Greet
June 17, 2008
Thank you all. Mayor Bailey, thank you for showing me around your town all day, and also thank you for your awareness of what your State government is doing, and the impact that has on our quality of life throughout our State.
I also want to thank Jay Falstad from the Queen Anne’s Conservation Association for organizing today’s event. Jay, thank you very much.
I appreciate all that you do to keep the Eastern Shore the Eastern Shore. Last month, we had occasion with the cabinet to travel to Hagerstown and we declared Hagerstown Capital for a Day. Today, we declare Chestertown Capital for a Day. I think it speaks very clearly about the strengths of our One Maryland… everything that we’ve seen today as a cabinet.
Here at the White Swan Tavern, where I’m told General George Washington once stayed, Lt. Gov Brown and I wrapped up our first official day of campaigning as a ticket. We announced in the morning and then we were here that evening.
We have a sacred responsibility, I believe, to safeguard the beauty that we have, the history that we have… the touch of the divine that we have here on the Eastern Shore – one of the most beautiful places not only anywhere in our State but anywhere in our country, possibly anyplace in the world.
And working together you have been able to maintain it against some really big pressures.
We just came from a terrific lunch at Bethel AME Church. The retiring pastor, Reverend Jones, took me upstairs and showed me the furniture on the pulpit, which dates back to 1874. That’s the sort of history that’s a part of this place, and it is no wonder that Progressive Farmer Magazine named Kent County The Best Place To Live in Rural America.
Mayor Bailey went through some of the things we’ve been doing together on the environment. It is amazing isn’t it? The consciousness that has grown in a relatively short period of time about the imperative that we have, the responsibility and the opportunity that we have to find solutions to the sort of climate change that can have such a devastating effect on life on this planet.
We’re doing some good things together. The Washington Post said that our Administration has ushered in an eco-friendly era, and that disparate factions are actually working together. One of the great gifts to the rest of the country is that Maryland-way of coming together across party lines – coming together in a State that’s America-in-miniature across many different regions, and finding our way through our diversity to agree to move forward.
That’s really what the seal – the ploughman and the fisherman together – is about. Not only finding that harmony with nature, it’s about finding that harmony with one another. And it is that harmony – that consensus, to use a word from the arena of politics – that allowed us to pass the Clean Cars legislation. It’s that consensus that allowed us to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. It’s that consensus that created the Climate Change Commission. We came this close to actually passing a bill, and in the meantime, in the effort we were leaders nonetheless.
Secondly, we have the strands of an energy policy coming together in our State, led by that thing which is most immediately within our grasp, and that is conservation. Reducing the amount of electricity that we use by 15% by 2015 is the leading step to take control of our own energy future.
We also created new green standards, as the Mayor mentioned, for all State buildings and schools. It’s Kent County, frankly, that’s leading the way, renovating residence halls at Washington College to harness the power of geothermal technology.
Fourth, we resurrected the Office of Smart Growth, and we’re going to be moving it shortly much closer to the Governor’s office so that we can drive the coordination and things that we need to do in order to live in a more sustainable way on this land that hugs such a fragile estuary.
Also, we had a hearing only about a year ago where we rejected that Four Seasons Project on Kent Island at the Board of Public Works. We also reformed and upgraded our critical areas legislation, really, for the first time in 30 years since Governor Hughes first enacted it.
We also passed the Stormwater Management Act. We are making strides to clean up our tributaries and rivers through our Waterway Improvement Fund, funding three grants for Kent County totaling $199,000.
We’ve done a number of things like the Oyster Restoration Act, as well as the creation of the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund – which ramped up in a tough economic year to $25 million. The following year we hope it will go up to $50 million. We’ve nearly tripled our funding for cover crops in our State in a relatively short period of time. (Applause).
We promised we would use Open Space dollars for the open space and that’s what we’ve done. It’s an old concept, it’s a simple concept, but it’s one that we adhere to. We’ve included $1.3 million for community park and trail improvements in Kent County.
We’re also protecting our pristine forests and farmlands – in fact we’ve signed a forest agreement with Virginia and Pennsylvania to move forward into the future.
I want to thank the Maryland Environmental Trust and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy for the good things they’ve done. Thanks to their partnership, we also fully funded the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation.
Now that’s not an exhaustive list. And there’s certainly many more things that we need to do. And together we’re going to do them.
There’s a beautiful Native American proverb which Secretary Griffin turned me on to which goes like this: “How we treat one another is reflected in how we treat the Earth.”
How we treat one another is reflected in how we treat the Earth.
It just might be in that sort of seasonal awareness, the circles that all primal people keep, it could just be that how we treat the Earth just might well usher in a new era as to how we treat one another too. I really feel myself lucky and blessed to serve the people of such a great State. Especially at these times when people throughout the country are looking inward, wondering if we have what it takes to be a great people. We do, and you’re showing the rest of the country how, and I really thank you for all your good work.
Thanks a lot.