Wednesday, 06 February 2013 07:09

State of the State address: Maryland’s Number One!

Stone, Minnick didn’t regard O’Malley speech as being “leftist”

by Bill Gates

    Some Republican legislators described Gov. Martin O’Malley’s State of the State speech last week as “leftist” and the governor himself as “extremely left-wing.”
    The two conservative Democrats who are the deans of the 6th District delegation didn’t agree.
    “I’ve heard worse,” said Del. Joseph “Sonny” Minnick. “I didn’t see much ‘left-wing’ about the speech.
    “It was definitely a Democratic speech, but I don’t know if it went that far left. Knowing the members of the General Assembly, the majority of them agreed with it.”
    In the State of the State speech delivered on Jan. 30 and broadcast nationally on C-SPAN, Gov. O’Malley highlighted Maryland’s number-one national ranking in several areas.

    In the speech, O’Malley said Maryland was first in the country in education for the last five years in a row, as well as tops in the nation in: holding down college tuition costs; innovation and entrepreneurship; human capital capacity; children’s access to dental care; Ph.D. scientists and researchers; research and development; businesses owned by women; and median family income.
    (Human capital capacity, which is measured by the Milken Institute, apparently measures the potential of a state’s workforce.)
    “I don’t know what’s leftist about Maryland being number one in education for five years in a row, as well as other areas,” Sen. Norman R. Stone said. “It was a real upbeat state of the state message.”
    The governor also pointed out Maryland has retained its AAA bond rating despite the recession, and outlined his intention to pursue gun control legislation, a repeal of the death penalty in Maryland and to encourage the wind-farming industry.
    “I’m surprised the governor didn’t say anything about a gas tax,” Minnick said. “He left that out completely, despite talking about the situation with the state transportation fund and the need to repair roads and bridges that are in danger of falling down.
    “I’m very surprised he didn’t promote a gas tax.”
    Some believed O’Malley was also using the State of the State address to highlight his accomplishments in Maryland before a national audience as a sort of audition for the 2016 presidential race.
    “I think he kind of set the stage for a run for president,” Minnick said.
    “You’d better ask [O’Malley] about that,” Stone said. “But it’s no secret he has that ambition.”
    O’Malley has proposed licensing handgun owners and banning assault rifle-type weapons.
    Minnick said he has received, he estimates conservatively, over 3,000 e-mails from constituents over the proposed gun-control legislation.
    The majority of them are opposed to further gun control, he said.
    “Some support my position, which is to have a strong mental evaluation for anyone applying to buy a gun,” Minnick said. “If you have a condition like bipolar disorder, you shouldn’t own a gun.”
    Both Stone and Minnick are opposed to repealing the state’s death penalty.
    O’Malley’s speech also described large construction programs which would create jobs, such as school construction, and affordable rental housing.
    “It was important for the state to keep that triple-A bond rating, for those capital projects,” Stone said. “We’ve been recovering job losses faster than the states around us, so I don’t know what’s left-wing about that.”