MD lawmakers convene one week ahead of Governor-elect Moore inauguration

 

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – They’ve done it 444 times before, and Wednesday the gavel came down for the 445th time to mark the start of the Maryland General Assembly. Eastern Shore lawmakers say they’re eager to get to work under a new administration.

“It’s an exciting year. We’ve got a new governor and new administration. There’s an opportunity to build new pathways to create opportunities for us on the Lower Shore,” said Delegate Carl Anderton.

New Administration

Exactly a week before Governor-Elect Wes Moore is set to be sworn in, lawmakers packed into Maryland’s State House to start the legislative session. Moore’s inauguration will mark the first time Maryland has had a Democratic governor since Former Governor Martin O’Malley left office in 2015.

“We have a Democratic governor this year. So, there’s concern as to what’s to come. But, certainly for the first day, I’m optimistic and excited to be here,” said Delegate Wayne Hartman.

Over the last several weeks, and into the next, Moore has made, and will make, additional appointments to his administration.

“It’ll be different, and we probably have different priorities. But, I’m optimistic for the new governor,” said Delegate Charles Otto. “I look forward to seeing who he appoints. He’s appointed some good people from the General Assembly into his administration already. So, I look forward to working with him.”

Watching the Budget

With a state surplus of almost $2 billion, Eastern Shore lawmakers are keeping a close eye on how Moore will use the budget.

“Much of this surplus comes from a federal influx of dollars through multiple programs through COVID-19. So, I want to be careful, because I think we have rough roads ahead,” said Delegate Chris Adams.

Monitoring the budget, also means making sure that Eastern Shore priorities are met, say lawmakers.

“Our focus this year is mainly on the budget, of course, with a new administration,” said Del. Anderton. “I’m back on the Appropriations Committee. So, we’ll be digging deep into the budget and trying to make sure that all the priorities that are requested locally are funded.”

Eastern Shore Priorities

But, while money matters, legislators say Eastern Shore priorities matter even more.

“I am excited to work with the new administration, knowing that we are aligned with some of our policies, the majority of policies. I look forward to hearing again from my constituents, saying, ‘Hey, where do we need to move and twist and make changes if necessary?'” said Speaker Pro Tem Sheree Sample-Hughes.

Fellow Democrats are optimistically waiting to see if Moore will follow through on promises made in his campaign.

“Knowing that they are in line with what the citizens of my district in particular, they have stated that they are interested in making sure that the economy is thriving, making sure that education still is a priority for the state of Maryland, and moreover, making sure that our senior population is not left out of the process,” said Speaker Pro Tem Sample-Hughes.

Lawmakers say Moore’s frequent visits to the Eastern Shore during his campaign paint a promising picture for its priorities. But, legislators add, they will be keeping him accountable.

“I am encouraged that the governor-elect has been down. I’ve seen him in Ocean City with Mayor Meehan, I’ve seen him at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and I’ve seen him making the rounds in Salisbury,” said Senator Mary Beth Carozza. “I do believe that those of us who represent the Eastern Shore will have to work even harder to make sure that our priorities are moved forward under the new governor.”

Looking Ahead

Several lawmakers tell 47 ABC they plan to attend Moore’s inauguration in Annapolis on January 18th.

47 ABC’s Hannah Cechini will be at the swearing-in ceremony. Catch the story here on 47 ABC.