This election year is unique. For me I’ve been focused on the national agenda which seems to be more votes of passion than votes of common sense. In a year when many areas are nominating candidates like Alvin Greene, Christine O’Donnell or Sharron Angle, the Maryland Race impacts me with to solid candidates for Governor. Without having a liberal or conservative agenda, I’ve look at both Maryland Governor candidates.
Here are quick facts on former Governor Bob Ehrlich
Governor Bob Ehrlich is business friendly. Governor Bob Ehrlich visited business supporters as big as Redskin’s owner Daniel Snyder down to the Economic Development Training Institute (EDTI) whose focus is training and growing small businesses.
In his first tenure, Governor Ehrlich had “Five Pillar”; Fiscal Responsibility, Education, Health and The Environment, Public Safety, and Commerce. With a business focus Governor Ehrlich prided himself on making Maryland a business friendly state as he helped foster an environment keeping Maryland unemployment 0.5% below the national unemployment average.
I was surprised to find that Governor Ehrlich left over a billion dollar deficit with the highest spending increase of any recent Maryland Governor. With one of Governor Ehrlich’s five pillars being Fiscal Responsibility, his administration’s financial legacy left much to be desired.
I was very impressed with both his nomination of Michael Steele as the Lt Governor. I was even more impressed with Ehrlich as he established cabinet position for people with disabilities. Under Governor Ehrlich the Secretary of Disabilities became a ground breaking cabinet level Disabilities focused position for Maryland.
During Governor Ehrlich’s tenure, the first Maryland Charter School was opened; however, education was never fully funded. Governor Ehrlich championed Chesapeake Bay initiatives now know as the flush tax.
Governor Ehrlich stance on health care has not changed since leaving office. As is evidenced by his veto of the “Wal-Mart Bill” , Governor Ehrlich believes big business should have a right to provide or not provide heath care.
Governor Ehrlich’s focus on public Safety was supported by his funding for community based ex-offender job training and investment in police IT infrastructure upgrades. Law enforcement in turn endorsed govern Ehrlich both in 2006 and 2010.
Personal Experiences current Governor Martin O’Malley
Viewing current Governor O’Malley on the same five pillar upon which Bob Ehrlich’s campaign stood shows interesting results.
When considering fiscal responsibility, Maryland is 1 of 8 states now with a triple A bond rating and has a budget that has a negative growth rate (mean the state plans to spend less tax payer money on a year over year state budgeted basis).
As I looked into Education, I was first surprised to find the Governor O’Malley help past spending programs and initiative to help build state higher education institutions like Morgan State University. I was surprised to see that MD public schools have ranked #1 in the nation for the past two years. I was even more surprised to see Maryland as 1 of 8 states awarded funds in the Federal “Race to the Top” competition.
With respect to health and the environment, Governor O’Malley helped preserve over 31,000 acres of land. Former Republican Congressman Wayne Gilchrest endorsed O’Malley for his stewardship and commitment to the environment. Under the O’Malley administration over 200,000 whom didn’t have health care now have access to health care. Included in that 200,000 is over 100,000 children.
On Public safety, there is no competition. Governor Ehrlich gets the union endorsement’s consistently. Yet and still crime rates have reach their lowest levels since 1975 under O’Malley’s administration.
With a focus of Commerce, the US Chamber of Commerce listed Maryland 4th of the states that are most enterprise friendly. The chamber also stated, that Maryland was among the nation’s leaders in growing jobs.
Personal Experiences with Governor Ehrlich
I didn’t pay much attention to Governor Ehrlich during his initial tenure. I noticed he was a regular on “The Sports Junkies” and appreciated his input. Micheal Steele however was everywhere. Lt Governor Micheal Steele seemed to be a nice guy at the time. He most certainly had a presence in the community.
Current candidate Ehrlich is everywhere. I hear about him at the various highly publicized locations. I’ve also seen him at smaller less public events. One such event was a cookout with a small business focus. The cookout was held by EDTI. It was certainly a surprise to see Governor Ehrlich at such a modest event with little press.
Considering there was little press and fan fair, I was shocked about the Governor’s involvement with EDTI’s cookout. I was the first person the Governor spoke to as he entered the event because I was exiting the event to make a phone call. The Bob Ehrlich made his impassioned plea for support. He then took time to speak to every single person that had something to say. This was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and he spent at least and hour taking pictures and talking to every potential voter about their thoughts and concerns. I specifically waited till the end to speak to him after people finished their photo ops. Governor Ehrlich’s time and consideration for this event impressed me.
Personal Experience With Governor O’Malley
I was blessed when Governor O’Malley came in office to visit Annapolis for a church event. I took my son with me to view some of the political process up close and personal. He was amazed by the building and all the people. I met with the governor as he left the event. My son had a chance to have a conversation with him.
Now, I don’t remember Governor O’Malley’s exact words to my son. Yet I do know he poured into my son in a positive manner. In that moment, my son was inspired to take pictures. Eventually my son to a photo of me that is to this day the best photo I’ve ever taken.
I have no concern whom for whom people should vote. I do have a concern that people are informed about the candidates and the political process. In this day and time when its easy to have apathy while others have passion. I think of those whom suffered bleed and died just for me to have the right to vote. So I encourage everyone to get, get informed, and vote. I hope this helped give some insight on the Maryland Governor’s race.