By LUCAS HIGH
ANNAPOLIS—In his seventh State of the State address on Wednesday, Gov. Martin OMalley urged lawmakers to continue pushing forward on gun control, job creation and death penalty repeal, issues that some say OMalley is using to position himself for a run at national office.
OMalley dedicated roughly equal time in his approximately 30-minute address to congratulating lawmakers for past results on education and job creation, and urging them to support his policy choices moving forward.
The theme of O'Malley's second-to-last State of the State was better choices, better results.
When the national recession hit, wiping out jobs and revenues all across our country, other states tried to cut their way to prosperity, OMalley said. But in Maryland, we made better choices.
Those better choices include instituting new performance metrics designed to make government more efficient, constraining spending and investing in education and innovation, OMalley said.
OMalley, who recently proposed some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, renewed his call for a ban on assault rifles and tighter background check requirements for firearm purchasers.
While violent crime in Maryland is down 25 percent since 2006, we lose far too many American lives to gun violence, OMalley said.
I thought it was the best State of the State speech hes given, said Todd Eberly, assistant professor of political science and public policy at St. Marys College of Maryland, calling the address well-crafted and well-delivered.
While Eberly believes that OMalley will finish the legislative session with some pretty significant accomplishments, he doesnt expect Maryland lawmakers to agree to gun control bills as strict as those recently passed in New York. O'Malley's proposals are similar to the bills passed in New York.
Following the speech, Republicans took the opportunity to point out the half-dozen foreign diplomats in attendance, citing this as evidence of OMalleys desire to attract a national audience.
Rather than focusing on the specific needs of Marylanders, the policies OMalley spelled out in his speech had more to do with Democrats national agenda of taxes and gun control, said Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-Upper Shore.
Hes coming for your money
hes coming for your guns, Pipkin said.
OMalley wants to use the current legislative session to take on another controversial issue: repealing the death penalty.
The death penalty is expensive and it does not work, OMalley said, adding that it cannot be administered without racial bias.
Maryland, which currently has five inmates on death row, has not executed a prisoner since 2005. In 2009, state lawmakers passed a bill restricting the use of the death penalty to cases where DNA evidence, a confession, or video evidence of the crime is available.
If OMalley can push his proposals through the General Assembly, Maryland will become the 18th state to completely abolish the death penalty.
Climate change and alternative energy, namely wind power, are also high on OMalleys list of priorities for 2013. He has proposed multi-billion dollar taxpayer subsidies for the construction of a new wind power farm off the coast of Ocean City.
Climate disruption is real, OMalley said. It is physics, pure and simple.
OMalley also called Marylands traffic the worst in the country and vowed to help bring the states transportation network into the 21st century.
He applauded Marylands students, educators and school support staff, calling attention to the states fifth consecutive annual ranking by Education Week as the top public school system in the country.
This jobs budget invests to improve public education and to build new schools, OMalley said. It accelerates the transition from chalk and textbooks in our classrooms, to iPads, laptops, smart-boards, and 21st century digital learning tools.
As OMalley, 50, enters the back half of his second term as governor, major speeches like the State of the State address take on added significance. OMalley, who chairs the Democratic Governors Association and was prominently featured at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, is widely believed to have national political aspirations.
His name has been mentioned along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as possible 2016 candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Today wasnt just a State of the State speech, it was an I want your (presidential) nomination speech, Eberly said.
For the Governors complete remarks, as prepared for delivery, visit