ANNAPOLIS - “The state of our state is strong and we are growing stronger still. ”
With that the Governor Martin O'Malley outlined his priorities for his second to last legislative session.
There were several themes here.
First jobs and job creation.
O'Malley outlined proposals for expanding alternative energy like wind power, helping small business and rebuilding the state's infrastructure including mass transit projects and improving highways.
"We could create thousands of jobs thousands of jobs and alleviating traffic congestion at the same time we can figure this out together." O’Malley says.
Money and jobs that some say could be put to good use in their area.
In Howard County we're right in the middle of the Washington metro whether it's MARC train expansion green line expansion makes sure that we have capacity in our roadways as well. ” Howard County Executive Ken Ulman says
But Republicans say this is the same old song; promises of job creation but nothing but obstacles to real growth.
“When you have the fourth highest tax rate in the country and you have spent a term really discouraging small business and the ability to build jobs in this state it seems a bit hollow to come here today and make it a check point in a speech." Republican State Senator E.J. Pipkin says.
The governor also outlined measures for stricter gun control a complete ban on assault weapons and registration for all hand guns.
He also is putting his weight behind ending capital punishment in Maryland.
“When things are not working and are expensive we should get rid of them The death penalty is expensive and does not work and we should stop doing it." The Governor says.
This is the seventh year in a row that such a measure has come up but supporters both local and national say the momentum is behind it.
“I think we've come to the conclusion that we can punish people to life without parole and do away with the death penalty it's ineffective it's racially disparity it's jurisdictional disparity and it could kill an innocent person. ” Former death row inmate and critic of the death penalty Kurt Bloodworth says.
But was the speech about the state of the state of Maryland, or the state of his political legacy and future?
That depends on who you talk too.
"It's a rehash of the last eight years he didn't say anything new just regurgitation his former speeches and former ideas fortunately I’m glad I didn't have a larger breakfast" Republican State Senator Nancy Jacobs says.
The governor's other big issue is establishing a wind farm off the coast of Ocean City.
He says alternative energy could yield lots of jobs.
When we asked Republican Senator E.J. Pipkin, he said quote...
*Wind is the dumbest idea ever.*
It's going to be a long session.
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Shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon, state representatives and senators from 32 U.S. states filed out of the Fred W. Smith National Library at Mount Vernon.