The work begins for Wes Moore, who won by pledging to leave no one behind.



The coalition that Wes Moore rallied with a promise to “leave no one behind” expects a lot from the Democrat who will be Maryland’s first black governor.

Universal preschool. End child poverty. Increase teachers’ salaries. Launched a statewide paid family leave program. Acceleration of the increase in the minimum wage. Reviving the canceled $1.6 billion Red Line transit project. Closing the racial wealth gap. Subsidize childcare. Extend historic tax credits for the working poor and some undocumented immigrants. Purchase of electric school buses. Creation of a year of service. Fortifying a ousted state workforce. Launch more ambitious renewable energy projects. Development of vocational training programs.

A partial list of Moore’s campaign promises to tackle systemic issues easily runs into the billions of dollars. Annapolis Democrats with similar goals moderated their ambitions under Republican term governor Larry Hogan.

But even with a single party poised to control the workings of state government, prioritizing plans and finding the money to carry them out will require a tightrope performance from Moore, who has never held public office and s is presented as a unifier. The staff he brings together will inherit both vast cash reserves, including a $2 billion surplus, and an uncertain economy that could undermine Moore’s program.

What is at stake is a goal he set himself in the hours following his first election.

In Maryland, black people are poised to hold four critical positions of power

“I want to make sure our long-term legacy is not that I made history,” he said on election night. “I want it to be something that comes up after people talk about the other things we’ve done.”

In an interview Wednesday, he said he was assembling a team that “will be like the state of Maryland” to make the state “more competitive but also more equitable” and to fight poverty, create safe communities and strengthen public schools.

In his first legislative session this winter, he wants to introduce a service year option for high school graduates and start tackling child poverty.

He also wants to be careful.

“There is not a single dollar of state resources that I will allow to be spent recklessly,” he said. “Everything has to have a demonstrated societal return on that investment. … We have a real responsibility to be good stewards of Maryland taxpayers’ money and knowing, thinking about the things that we’re going to invest in the long term is going to create the greater return for society.

Some leading Democrats have warned that the state’s fiscal position is more precarious than bloated balance sheets suggest.

“The party’s over,” Comptroller Peter Franchot said in September after fiscal forecasters predicted the state’s historic surpluses would be even bigger than expected, warning that “close examination of this well-crafted report shows that the last years of jaw-dropping income surpluses are firmly in the rear view….History shows that long periods of economic expansion are followed by fiscal contractions.Indeed, what goes up must come down.

At the moment, expectations for Moore are atmospheric.

“We’re very optimistic,” said Rich Norling, the political chairman of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club, of Moore’s goal to go beyond Maryland’s already aggressive plan to reduce carbon emissions. . “There is a lot of implementation needed and capacity building within the state government. During the eight years under the Hogan administration, much of the state government was allowed to wither away.

Cathryn Paul, director of public policy at immigrant advocacy group CASA, said the organization’s No. 1 priority is to extend health care to everyone, regardless of immigration status.

Paul said the immigrant community has rallied to get Moore across the finish line and wants to make permanent a three-year, $65 million initiative that allowed non-citizens and undocumented immigrants receive the state earned income tax credit.

Paul said that as proud as she is to have a black governor who is also the son of an immigrant, she intends to ensure that policies important to the immigrant community move forward.

200 years after the birth of Harriet Tubman, Maryland finally has a black governor

“Even though I absolutely love Wes…he’s a governor we’re not going to stop holding him accountable,” she said.

Larry Stafford, executive director of Progressive Maryland, said he was very optimistic about Moore’s plans to address child poverty, which includes an investment of $100 million a year. baby bond program. Moore wants to accelerate the $15 minimum wage to take effect two years earlier, but Stafford hopes inflation and housing costs will cause Moore to adopt the $22-an-hour minimum wage next.

“Now we have a governor who is responsive and open to meeting the needs of working families,” he said.

Republicans, many of whom resigned themselves to Moore’s victory after far-right GOP nominee Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick) won the July primary, expects a lot from Moore for rural areas as well. “I appreciate the slogan that he won’t leave anyone behind,” said Maryland House Minority Leader Jason C. Buckel. But he was skeptical that there will be no disappointment.

“Governor-elect Moore has never held public office before. He’s certainly never had to do public budgeting before,” Buckel said. “It’s very easy to promise the world to interest groups, and if the money was there for every goal, we’d do them all.”

State workers’ unions complained that Hogan had cut state agencies, soliciting a campaign promise from Moore to fix it. The retired Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City), who oversaw House budget negotiations during the Hogan era, said Moore should first take on the costly and unglamorous mission of bolstering the workforce of the State.

“You have these very important goals,” she said. “You won’t get there until you restore, in some cases, very damaged agencies.”

As Laura Weeldreyer, the executive director of the Maryland Family Network, listened to Moore’s acceptance speech on Tuesday night, she heard a new promise to add to the top of the list she expects Moore to fulfill: a even greater expansion of free pre-kindergarten on top of a planned $4-billion-a-year overhaul of how education is delivered in the state.

“He said very boldly that we were going to do free pre-kindergarten for everyone,” she said. This is in addition to previous pledges to support the state’s child care network and implement a long-sought statewide family leave program, estimated at about $500 million a year. , but the details of which have not been settled.

Each of these policies had been phased in by Maryland Democrats in the General Assembly, but it will be up to the Moore administration to see them through over the next four years.

Warren G. Deschenaux, former executive director of the state’s Department of Legislative Services, said Moore takes the helm at a time very different from anything he’s seen in his more than three decades of work on the Maryland budget.

“Every year, and it had been a lot of years, we were always working backwards, managing the shortage,” he said, predicting that the federal government’s surplus and gains would be “sustainable for four years. “.

“If we have a recession, we’ll need some of that money just to keep going,” he said. “It is possible that we think we are richer than we will be.”

Many people have been willing to offer advice to politicians for the first time. At a virtual fundraiser with former U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton last month, Moore received what he described during Zoom as a “masterclass,” with more than 100 people tuning in.

Clinton spent about 15 minutes offering advice to a rookie governor, including staying connected with citizens; be selective in appointments; and knowing its emergency response system “from top to bottom” because “literally you could be ushered in and there would be a flood or a bridge collapse”.

Clinton also warned against overpromising.

“You have to tell people, listen, it’s not going to be easy,” she said. “We are trying to change a lot of things. But if you stay with me, we’ll get through this together and make things happen. No dazzling big promises, just somehow we roll up our sleeves – I need you as my partner.


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