By Governor Martin O'Malley (D)
This week, Lt. Governor Brown and I, along with several members of our Administration, had the chance to meet with leaders from throughout our One Maryland at the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Conference.
Tomorrow, I'll be sharing some thoughts at the MACo conference about an issue which is an important part of our vision for making our State stronger: securing our energy future. Specifically, things we can do together to make electricity more affordable and more sustainable as we look toward tomorrow. And, how together we can prevent rolling brownouts or blackouts, which our State could face in just a few short years if we don't take action in the here and now.
But together we are taking action, and this past year and a half we've accomplished much toward securing our energy future. Working together, we led the charge to hold the first ever cap-and-trade auction of greenhouse gases (to be held next month), we set some of the most ambitious conservation goals in the nation, and together we passed landmark clean cars legislation.
And, because we were able to reform the Public Service Commission so it actually serves the public (and not private special interests), we were able to reach a $2 billion settlement with Constellation Energy to help Maryland families the largest settlement in American history.
We've made this progress together, because together we've sought to practice a different type of politics the politics of posterity in which we've tried to make decisions, in some cases very difficult decisions, based on our shared values, our shared priorities, and our shared future.
Because of the stronger future all of us prefer for our posterity, we've come together as a One Maryland this past year and a half and made real and steady progress for Maryland families. Together, we've nearly closed the $1.7 billion structural deficit we inherited. Together, we've closed the Medicare donut hole for our seniors and expanded health care coverage to 100,000 million Marylanders. Together, we've held the line on college tuition three years in a row.
In addition, together, we've made an historic $5.3 billion investment in K-12 education, including $741 million for school construction (more than triple what our predecessors invested). These investments are part of the reason that the Milken Institute says we in Maryland invest more in our human capital than any State in the nation.
Because of these investments we've made together, communities like Salisbury are able to build new school buildings. And earlier today, I had the opportunity to join Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollit at a beautiful, brand-new school building in Salisbury: the James M. Bennett High School.
In Salisbury and across our One Maryland we're moving our students out of temporarily learning shacks into newer, greener school houses that are more conducive to learning. And together, we continue to make real and steady progress on a number of fronts toward our shared priorities: to strengthen and grow our middle class and family owned businesses and farms, to improve public safety and public education in every region of our State, and to expand opportunity to more Marylanders rather than fewer.