Advice for the grads

It’s graduation season, so that means elected officials are donning their caps and gowns and imparting words of wisdom that they hope the graduates will remember.

Gov. Wes Moore is in the midst of a double-graduation weekend, having delivered the commencement address at Coppin State University on Friday, to be followed by a speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Sunday. He’s also been tapped for Howard Community College’s graduation next week.

At Coppin, the Democratic governor implored graduates to consider serving their communities as their next step. And he said Baltimore needs Coppin grads to serve and uplift the city.

“I know there are some people who don’t know about the city, who don’t understand the city, but constantly have the city in their mouth,” Moore said. “I know there are those who want to profit — financially or politically — by making people scared of Baltimore. I know there are people who have worked to make Baltimore a descriptor of something nefarious and something dark.”

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But he said Baltimore is full of love and heart and can be a unifying place. “Now is the time for us to band together and unleash the full potential of this city,” he said.

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House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones traveled to Princess Anne on Friday for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore graduation and also struck a theme of service, saying graduates can help “build a state that all of us can be proud of.”

Jones noted that when she graduated college with a degree in psychology years ago, she never imagined she’d become the first woman and person of color to become speaker of the Maryland House.

“I didn’t know that my life would be defined by public service,” she said.

Former Gov. Larry Hogan is out of office but still on the list for graduation invites.

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American University’s School of Public Affairs invited the Republican to give a speech and receive an honorary doctorate of public affairs.

The Republican former governor encouraged the grads to be persistent, look for common ground with others, treat people with respect and think outside the box.

“If you are relentless, passionate and have a positive attitude, success isn’t guaranteed, but it will exponentially increase your odds of success,” Hogan said.

Hogan also is lined up to speak at an apprenticeship program graduation next week for the IEC Chesapeake chapter of Independent Electrical Contractors trade association.

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Hogan isn’t the only grad speaker in his household. His wife, artist Yumi Hogan, gave remarks and received an honorary doctorate this month from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, where she previously earned her bachelor’s degree in painting.

At the University of Maryland School of Social Work convocation ceremony on Friday, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin got big cheers for his role in impeaching President Donald J. Trump and investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Social workers, he said, can make a difference in society.

“We’re sending you off to do nearly impossible work under conditions of sharp political polarization and dramatic economic inequality and you will almost certainly be underpaid for your indispensable and excellent and intricate service to our communities,” said Raskin, a Democrat. “And yet, I cannot think of anyone in America in a better position to help our society and shape a positive American future than the members of your graduating class.”

Have you spotted a pol speaking at graduation? Drop us a line and let us know how they did.

Raskin: Cancer-free and raising money

Speaking of Raskin, the congressman made an announcement this week, but not the one political-watchers were hoping for.

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He was called onstage at a Maryland Democratic Party event celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and said the only announcement he had to make was that his latest scan showed he was cancer free.

The political world has been waiting to see if the popular congressman will jump into the race for the U.S. Senate seat that will be open in 2024 with U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin stepping down at the end of his term.

Will Raskin join the Democratic field, which already has several candidates including deep-pocketed U.S. Rep. David Trone, establishment favorite Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and rising star Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando?

Raskin is reported to be spending the month of May making up his mind. One thing is for sure — he’s raising money.

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Next week, Raskin hosts a “nationwide Zoom celebration and campaign fundraiser,” featuring Stevie Van Zandt, the bandana-wearing member of the E Street Band who sent head coverings to Raskin during treatment.

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Changes in the House

Jones announced new Democratic leadership roles in her chamber this week, among them:

Del. Marc Korman is moving from House of Delegates majority leader to chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee, one of several new leadership assignments announced this week. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

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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