Maryland Gov.-elect Wes Moore launched his transition effort on Thursday, meeting with outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan in Annapolis and announcing his next steps in College Park.
“This is a great day because this is an actualization of what we’ve been talking about for a very long time,” Moore said at the University of Maryland, where he announced that Lt. Gov.-elect Aruna Miller would take the lead role in the transition process.
Moore and Miller promised that their transition team and their future administration would reflect the diversity and needs of the state, and would also be transparent and inclusive.
“The Moore-Miller transition team will begin the people’s work to help create a Maryland where we leave no one behind by elevating engagement and transparency,” Miller said, referencing the campaign’s military-inspired slogan of “Leave No One Behind.”
Joining Miller as co-chairs of the transition team are: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks; Shelonda Stokes, president Downtown Partnership of Baltimore; former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman; and Mary Tydings, who was the campaign’s treasurer. Cleo Hirsch, who led the COVID response for Baltimore City Public Schools, will be the transition team’s executive director.
Moore and Miller said there would be specific subcommittees announced and opportunities for Marylanders to weigh in. They set up a website at mooremillermd.com.
An author and nonprofit CEO, Moore is a first-time candidate who lacks governing and political experience. But Miller brings expertise in Maryland government from her eight years in the House of Delegates representing part of Montgomery County. She served on the Appropriations Committee, which scrutinizes state agencies and the state budget, and the Ways and Means Committee, which handles a variety of issues, including taxes.
“My involvement in the state legislature, I think, will help build relationships as we move forward,” Miller said.
Moore and Miller spoke about moving fast, but offered no timeline for when the transition team would submit its recommendations. They’ll be inaugurated on Jan. 18.
The governor-elect and lieutenant governor-elect spoke about the transition at the University of Maryland’s new School of Public Policy building as a few dozen students stood and watched. Two students asked about how the needs of young people would be addressed in the transition and how they could get involved.
“One thing that we’re very cognizant of is the reason that we are here is because it was young people who saw this campaign and who saw us before anybody else did,” Moore said. He promised his administration would restart an office for children and said the team would look for interns. “We’re taking resumes right now,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Moore met privately with Hogan for about an hour. The outgoing Republican governor said he gave some advice and tips to the incoming Democratic governor — including to enjoy the victory even as tasks and demands start piling up.
“It’s a huge whirlwind, getting ready to take over the administration with the inauguration coming up and all of that, and sometimes you get so busy doing the work and focusing on what you have to get done that you don’t actually enjoy the moment,” Hogan told reporters at the State House following the meeting. “So, I said to make sure you and your family take time to take a deep breath and enjoy this historic moment.”
Hogan and Moore appeared relaxed as they spoke with reporters. Despite their political differences, both pledged to work toward a smooth transition. As the governor and governor-elect met, so did their key staffers.
“We’re excited about the road ahead and I’m excited to be able to move and work in partnership with you all as we’re going forward,” Moore said.
Hogan said he’d already given his personal cellphone number to Moore and told him: “I’m just a phone call away.”
Attorney general transition
Moore wasn’t the only newly victorious candidate to get to work on transitioning from campaigning to governing on Thursday. The state’s next Attorney General, Democrat Anthony Brown, launched his own transition team.
Brown’s transition co-chairs are Donna Hill Staton, a lawyer and consultant who previously was a deputy attorney general, and Donald B. Tobin, who recently stepped down as dean of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
Brown, who will take over from retiring Attorney General Brian Frosh, said the transition co-chairs would be “invaluable advisors.”
“Throughout my campaign, I emphasized the need to break down barriers for everyday Marylanders — in health care and housing, in opportunity and education, and in policing and our criminal justice system,” Brown said in a statement.
Comptroller-elect Brooke Lierman, meanwhile, also announced some of her transition plans. She’ll be taking over duties as the state’s chief tax collector from fellow Democrat Peter Franchot, who mounted an unsuccessful run for governor.
Lierman said her transition team will hold online and in-person meetings to gather input from Marylanders. She said she hopes to continue to modernize the office and improve the customer experience.
Lierman named a nearly all-female set of leaders for her transition team. The chairs are former Treasurer Nancy Kopp, state Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk and Candace Dodson-Reed, who was the campaign treasurer and is a top official at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The honorary chairs are state Sen. Susan Lee, Alsobrooks and Franchot.
Lierman said she was asked why she picked all women as her transition co-chairs.
“I said: Why not?”