Shortly after stepping offstage at his victory party in Baltimore on Tuesday, Gov.-elect Wes Moore responded to questions from local reporters about his win and what comes next. Here’s a transcript of the Democrat’s remarks to the reporters, lightly edited for clarity.

This has been a long journey. You just had a big party with lots of supporters. What are the emotions you’re feeling in your gut right now?

A lot of emotions: thankfulness, humility, excitement. We’re just, we’re ready to get to work.

I think for this, for the past year-and-a-half we’ve been talking with Marylanders about what their hopes are and putting together, I think, very detailed plans as to the things that our administration would do if we were given the opportunity and now that now that they have given us the opportunity, I know that we are ready to produce and we are ready to perform. We’re ready to really move in partnership with Marylanders to address these Maryland issues.

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So I’m humbled, and I’m just very excited, ready to get to work.

What was that moment like when you saw it on the screen?

At first, I wanted to make sure it was right. But once we saw that everybody had called it and the numbers show that we didn’t just win, you know, we’re going to win with a mandate. A message was sent by the people of this state that they are ready for us to move fast.

There was a lot of emotions because I had my family with me. I had my mom right there, the kids. And this is a this is a journey that we’ve been on nonstop for the past 18 months.

And so it felt great that this was the conclusion, but I think that at that moment it also really hit me that this is real and we’re ready to get to work.

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What kind of conversations have you had with your children about your historic win, especially being a Black father and a father of Black children?

It’s interesting because my daughter is actually one of the first one to bring it up to me. And where she said, you know: “They were saying that you’re going to be the first Black governor in the history of this state.”

And, you know, the thing that I’ve always tried to teach my kids is both understanding their history, understanding the history of the state, understanding the the unevenness of the history of the state. But I think that there is a power that I want to show them is that while progress is not inevitable, it is possible.

And I want them to understand that what they’re seeing with their dad is a continuation in the building on of something that people have been working on for a very long time — that I might be the first person to cross this bridge. I also just know that I’m not crossing it alone. And I’m very cognizant of the shoulders and I’m standing on as I’m crossing.

You declared victory, obviously. Delegate Cox has not conceded. Does that cause any concern for you in the in the coming days?

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Everybody has called it. Everybody has acknowledged that we have won already. The only person who doesn’t seem to acknowledge that is Delegate Cox.

I was very thankful to receive a wonderful and a kind and a gracious call from our current governor, Larry Hogan, who called to congratulate me on the win and call to congratulate me on, as he called it, the overwhelming victory.

My opponent in this race said that he had not decided he was going to concede before the election. He still has not acknowledged the results of the 2020 election. So I don’t plan on waiting for that call. I’d love to hear from him at some point on the concession, but if that call never comes, it’s OK. I’m gonna get to work regardless.

Have you thought about what you would say to him if he does call you?

I haven’t.

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Do you have a message to those who did not vote for you?

I’m excited to be your governor, too.

And honestly I think that the message that I would have to people who decided not to vote for me is [look at] how we campaigned, where we went all over the state, literally every single jurisdiction in the state of Maryland we visited on multiple occasions. We did the work, and we went everywhere, asking people for their support, asking people for their vote.

And I meant what I said when, you know, when people say, well, who do you need in order to win? My answer was easy: everybody. And that’s exactly how I plan on governing, as well.

Can we go back to the history aspect of it? Tonight was the first time I’ve heard you kind of lean so forcefully into what this history actually means for you. Do you feel like this is a weight off your shoulders? Or do you feel like the pressure’s just begun because now you’ve actually got to get to work, you’ve got to prove something now that you got the job?

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I think the pressure of being able to get to work and get it done is something that I have felt long before long before Election Day. We’ve got real things we’ve got to address — and quickly — in the state of Maryland, and we’re not going to have time, in order to kind of process what all of this means.

So the thing I know that I’m really excited about is I want to make sure that our long-term legacy is not that I had made history. I want that to be something that gets brought up after people talk about the other things that we accomplished as the governor of the state of Maryland. And then have the final thing say, “and by the way, he was the first black governor in the history of the state of Maryland.”

And I just know that if you look at the pace that we campaigned on, I want the people in Maryland understand that is how I move. And that is the pace in how we plan on governing in the state of Maryland. We’re going to move fast, and we’re going to be bold in the state of Maryland.

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Government doesn’t always work that quickly, though. I mean, have you have you thought about what it would be like when you have to work with the legislature that may not want to move as quickly as you?

Yeah, I have. You know, I’m thankful for the fact that we’ve been able to build a really strong coalitions during the campaign. You know, if you think about our campaign, we received we have a broad coalition of support — everyone from literally from Progressive Maryland to the police union, right? From business leaders to the unions.

And the thing I want people to understand with that is the reason that we plan on moving fast and the expectation that I’m going to have, that we and our team and our administration is going to move fast, is because we are building a broad coalition and we’re building a broad table.

And frankly, we’re fighting on behalf of people and we are advocating for people who are tired of being patient. And it’s time that we have a government that moves with the kind of speed that people were asking for us to move at that speed it will actually require.

You talked about being an underdog. Here we are now. Was there a particular moment or moments when you felt like things started to turn around? Or where you could kind of see that this was going to happen?

I tell you what one of the most important moments for me in the campaign was when was when [running mate] Aruna Miller said yes. I have a deep level of respect and admiration for the lieutenant governor-elect.

And I knew that when I was going through the process of trying to decide who I wanted to be my partner in this work, there was really two gating criteria questions that I had.

One was: If something were to happen to me, who’s the person that I trust to lead the state that my children were gonna grow up in?

And the second thing was: Who was the person that I wanted to be my partner in this work? And I could not have a better partner in this work than Aruna Miller, and I think that the moment that I knew that Aruna was going to be my partner in this work, I slept pretty easily that night. Because I said: “You know what? We’re really on pace to win this.”

You said the work starts tomorrow. Specifically, what do these next couple of days look like for you?

I think in the next couple of days ... we’ll be talking more about what does the transition and transformation team for the Moore administration look like?

Because we know that there is a relatively short period of time between now and also between inauguration and we are planning on not letting any of it go to waste.

And so we’re going to start getting to work now, and start continuing the work about how are we thinking about the inauguration for the Moore-Miller administration and making sure that when that inauguration happens, we are going to be fully ready to go.

pamela.wood@thebaltimorebanner.com

Pamela Wood covers Maryland politics and government. She previously reported for The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and other Maryland newspapers. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, she lives in northern Anne Arundel County.

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