Gov. Wes Moore delivered his first State of the State speech Wednesday, laying out his plans for the state based on the concept of service.
To read The Banner’s full coverage of Moore’s address, click here.
Here are three key moments, ideas and promises from the speech, as prepared for delivery.
“This is a state where the opportunities are boundless, but the challenges are undeniable.
“It is also a state where there is no obstacle we cannot address, no challenge we cannot tackle, if we are intentional, move in partnership, and commit to promoting service as a state ideal.
“I only realized recently, Service, the word, comes from the Latin, servitium, which meant ‘slavery.’ It is fitting as the first African American to deliver this speech, in a building that was built by the hands of enslaved people, that we are now putting ‘service’ towards the good of all.
“The irony is that it is service that will help save us.
“On day one of my administration, I ordered the creation of the Department of Service and Civic Innovation. This was not a stunt. This was not because it sounded nice. This was because it is a fundamental part of who I am, and it’s in the DNA of this state.
“Our order consolidates and elevates the agencies of state government that support service opportunities. We need to follow it with legislation, The Serve Act, that will create a Service Year Option. While our young people give back, they also lay the foundation for their future success through job training and mentorship programs, and create a lifelong habit of service to our state. Something we so desperately need.
“Whether they’re preparing our state for climate change, tutoring our students, or caring for the sick, young people should have the option to perform important service today and build a foundation for our shared future.
“This is the first effort of its kind in the nation, and Maryland will lead the way.
“Some may ask, ‘Why is this important? Why should state government do this?’
“Because, and you’ve heard me say this before, service is sticky.
“Service, will save us.
“It will save us money, through a more strategic plan and better use of resources.
“Building a workforce of dedicated public servants saves us the expense of costly contractors and external vendors, and if properly managed, delivers us better results.
“Spending $100 million on inefficiencies and patchwork politics is not the way to run a government.
“We have the assets, we need to harness them. That’s what my plan does.
“It will save us time by adding urgency, because our people will be more involved in their state government and helping one another, expediting the changes we know we need.
“And it will save one another.
“At a time when civic bonds are frayed, where many feel more disconnected from their neighbors than ever before, service is the antidote to the epidemic of loneliness and otherness.
“Service is how we re-engage our people in the project of forming a more perfect state.”
State government vacancies
“Right now, Maryland’s government has nearly 10,000 vacancies, with just under 6,100 in the executive branch alone. That means needs are not being met. It means timelines for licensing and approvals are closer to the 19th century, than the 21st. It prevents our people from opening small businesses, from keeping our communities safe while welcoming back those who have paid their debts to society, from getting Marylanders the healthcare they need.
“This isn’t about creating ‘big government’. This is about creating a better one.
“That means eliminating and consolidating the positions no longer needed, and filling the ones we desperately do.
“It’s why I am proud that my budget makes state government a more attractive place to work, with competitive wage increases to fill positions like registered nurses, attorneys, and emergency response technicians.
“Because our workforce, both public and private, is the key to our state’s future.”
Ending child poverty
“No group deserves our help more than the children of Maryland. In a state with the highest median income in the country, one in eight children lives in poverty.
“How can we expect them to fill their minds with ideas, if they can’t fill their stomachs with food? How will they rise above their station, if they are in a constant state of deprivation?
“We can, and we will, end child poverty in the state of Maryland.
“That mission begins this year, right now, during this legislative session.
“Ending child poverty is not complicated; and the tools already exist to get us on our way. There is no partisanship when it comes to a child in need, so let’s not allow us to fall into our traditional corners on the issue.
“Permanently extending the enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit and expanding the Child Tax Credit is how we begin. This push will make nearly 40,000 families eligible for one of the most successful child poverty tools this country has ever seen. By reducing the number of children living in poverty, and the severity of poverty, we are changing what has long determined a kid’s future before they even get a say.
“And this helps everyone. For every dollar invested in credits like these, there are up to ten dollars in economic benefit and a range of improved outcomes for communities, from higher-quality childrens’ health to reduced crime rates.
“If we do this, and we raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and index it to inflation, we can lift more than 152,000 children in Maryland to the next rung of the economic ladder.
“We can get this done, and change the trajectory of our state for generations to come.
“We can set up our children to win the next decade, if we get rid of policies that don’t force hundreds of thousands of our children to lose.”