Md. Gov. O'Malley Says State Is Stronger, Progressive in Final Address

Joshua Garner | 1/23/2014, 8:30 p.m.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley delivers his final State of the State address at the State House in Annapolis on Jan. 23.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said Thursday during his final State of the State address in Annapolis that his administration has produced a stronger, leaner and more innovative state.

During his nearly 30-minute farewell speech, the Democrat stressed that despite challenges facing him when taking office in 2007, the state has progressed and, in some cases, flourished under his leadership.

"Our state is stronger and growing stronger by the day," he told a crowded room of legislators at the State House.

O'Malley rattled off a list of accomplishments and challenges his administration steered through after he defeated former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich (R) in 2006, contending that he walked into office facing a $1.7 billion deficit and barreling toward a recession that would ultimately cost Maryland thousands of jobs.

"Our state revenue took a huge hit," he said. "Parents lost their jobs. Children lost their homes."

Still, he said, Maryland weathered the storm, trimming $9.1 billion in spending from its budget, stashing $800 million in its rainy day fund and nearly eliminating its structural deficit.

"We are not just one Maryland. In many cases, we are number one Maryland," he said. "This is what the people of our state have achieved."

But state Republicans downplayed O'Malley's accomplishments, arguing that the state's metropolitan areas largely reaped the benefits, rather than rural ones.

"The policies of this governor and this administration have benefited those major metropolitan areas and the rest of the state has been harmed," Senate Minority Leader Sen. David R. Brinkley (R-Dist. 4) of New Market told reporters shortly after O'Malley's address. "Look, he's won, for the most part, on the outcome of that. … But we still have to pay the bills."

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