U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Letters From Ben

January 21, 2023

Maryland Has a New Governor

Dear Fellow Marylanders,

We have a new governor, and it feels wonderful.

On Wednesday, I had the honor of witnessing history as Wes Moore was sworn in as the 63rd governor of the State of Maryland and Aruna Miller sworn in as Lieutenant Governor. It was a large and electric crowd in Annapolis on a bright and sunny afternoon. This was a day eagerly anticipated by so many, me included.

Wes is a man of character who values public service, family and community. The son of an immigrant, he has served our nation in uniform, been a Rhodes Scholar, and has worked to support families and neighborhoods in need.

Taking his oath with one hand on a bible owned by Frederick Douglass and standing in the shadow of a statue of Thurgood Marshall, he understands the weight of history on his shoulders as the first Black man to serve as Maryland’s governor – and only the third ever elected across the entire country. But Gov. Moore also knows that the people of Maryland elected him to look to the future and lead our state to a better, stronger place where no Marylander is left behind.

Like Old Bay on a steamed blue crab, his vision for Maryland is spot on. As he said in his inauguration speech, “We do not have to choose between a competitive economy and an equitable one. … We should not tolerate an 8-to-1 racial wealth gap, not because it hurts certain groups, but because it prevents all of us from reaching our full potential … Maryland can reward entrepreneurs who take bold risks … and provide stability for families in need … This can be the best state in America to be an employer and an employee. It shouldn’t be a choice — and it isn’t a choice. The path forward requires us to do these things together.”

Our congressional delegation, Team Maryland, is ready to work side-by-side with Gov. Moore and his administration on the issues that will expand opportunities and make a meaningful difference in the lives of Marylanders.

From the American Rescue Plan to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to the Inflation Reduction Act and more, this is an unprecedented time of federal investment in state and local projects that are critical to supporting our communities and overall economic growth. In addition to opening the door to transformational transportation initiatives and resources for the Chesapeake Bay, we are committed to continuing support for federal-state partnerships that strengthen Maryland’s small businesses, community development, and workforce training, as well as programs that reduce costs for families through affordable housing and child care.

One of our highest priorities is to ensure the safety of Marylanders by creating a comprehensive strategy to prevent crime that coordinates the strengths of federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and concerned citizens. This was an important issue I discussed with then Gov.-elect Moore when he visited my Baltimore office last month. The Moore-Miller administration is fully committed to taking bold steps to preserve and expand safety, justice and equity.

As the governor said on Wednesday, Marylanders should not have to “choose between feeling safe in their own communities and feeling safe intheir own skin. … We can build a police force that moves with appropriate intensity and absolute integrity and full accountability and embrace the fact that we can’t militarize ourselves to safety. We can support our first responders who risk everything to protect us, and change the inexcusable fact that Maryland incarcerates more Black boys than any other state. We will work with communities from West Baltimore to Westminster to share data so we can keep violent offenders off our streets. And we can welcome people who have earned a second chance back to our communities.”

I could not be more excited about what is on the horizon for Maryland. It is exciting to once again have a governor, General Assembly and congressional delegation that are ready to work together to help the people of Maryland.

On Thursday, Gov. Moore got things off to a meaningful start by releasing $69 million approved by the General Assembly but put on hold by Gov. Hogan. With a stroke of his pen, he showed a commitment to families, reproductive freedom and health care providers. He released funding for climate solutions and conservation programs. He also signed executive orders setting ethics standards for his administration and created a new department to encourage community service.  

On Friday, the governor released his first budget, which aligns state resources with his policy priorities, especially for children and families. It includes $171 million to permanently extend the Earned income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit; accelerates the pace of raising Maryland’s minimum wage to $15 per hour; redirects $500 million to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future; provides $8.8 billion in funding for K-12 education, $15 million for public school teacher recruitment and retention, and $1.1 billion for much-needed school construction projects. 

In the Gov. Moore’s own words: “we do not have to choose between giving our children an excellent education and an equitable one. We will ensure that every student knows their state loves and needs them — and we will create policies to help them thrive. We will invest in our special education students, our English language learners, our LGBTQIA+ students, students experiencing homelessness, and every kid who needs a little extra help. We will see to it that mental and behavioral health challenges do not prevent our children from getting the education they need and deserve.”

This has been an exciting week. If you were not one of the thousands in Annapolis for Gov. Moore’s inaugural speech, I encourage you to watch it here. I have no doubt that it will leave you as inspired as I was.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to reply to this email and share your thoughts on this and any other topic.


               Ben Cardin