With a very emotional speech and in which he promised "bold policies", Wes Moore made history after being sworn in Wednesday as the first governor of African-American descent in the history of Maryland.
Pledged to work for greater inclusion and economic equity, Moore said he will also focus on improving education and fighting crime and climate change, to a cheering crowd of supporters at the Annapolis Capitol, the state capital.
It was actually a double ceremony. He was first sworn in in the Maryland State Senate chamber and then in a public ceremony outside the Capitol, before a large crowd.
Moore's public oath was administered by Maryland Chief Justice Matthew J. Fader and was followed by a 19-gun salute.
In both, he pledged "true allegiance to the state of Maryland," with his hand pressed over two Bibles, one belonging to his grandfather and the other belonging to legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who was born a slave in Maryland.
After being introduced by his longtime friend Oprah Winfrey to the Maryland House of Representatives, Moore noted that the state is one of the richest in the country, but also described it as "rich in assets and poor in strategy."
“It is time for our policies to be as bold as our aspirations and to confront the fact that we have been offered false choices,” Moore said.
“We don't have to choose between a competitive and a fair economy,” he added, “and we don't have to choose between a safe state and a fair state. Maryland can and will be both."
One of the most applauded moments of the speech was when Moore exclaimed: "We must govern on great principles and not on small differences."
The 44-year-old Democratic leader, who defeated his Republican rival Dan Cox – who was backed by former President Donald Trump – by a landslide in November, also vowed to fight criminal violence.
Many Marylanders have lost faith in the government's ability to keep us safe, he noted.
He then argued that the state can build a police force "that moves with appropriate intensity, absolute integrity and complete accountability, and accept the fact that we will not militarize to be safe."
Moore is a renowned writer and former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, a non-profit organization that fights poverty. He is also a Rhodes Scholar recipient and is a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan.
“This may be his first day as an elected official, but Wes Moore has been a public servant his entire life,” Winfrey said. “And there is much more to come. It's just getting started."
with an immigrant
Aruna Miller, Maryland's lieutenant governor-elect, was also sworn in on the same day. Miller, an immigrant from India who came to the US at age 7, is the first woman of color and the first immigrant to hold the position.
In her speech, Miller, who served as a two-term state delegate for Montgomery County, recalled how her parents took a leap of faith to come to the US "because they believed in the promise of America." She also said that she said she will work to "address the inequities of the past and build a Maryland where everyone can prosper."
Miller, who took the oath on a copy of the Bhagavad Ghita, one of the holy scriptures of the Hindu faith, was presented by her children.
HIS FIRST PROMISES
- New Maryland Governor Wes Moore said he will address the racial wealth gap, protect the Chesapeake Bay and fight pollution.
- In this regard, he announced that he will put the state on the path to generate 100 percent clean energy by 2035, saying that "clean energy will define our economy."
- In education, he promised "high-quality, highly inclusive schools."
- It also offered a one-year service option for all high school graduates.