O'Malley to address state lawmakers today
Gov. Martin O'Malley will speak to Maryland's 188 lawmakers and an audience of state dignitaries and citizens at noon today, delivering his fifth State of the State address.
O'Malley, a Democrat elected to his second term in November, spoke at his inaugural event about two weeks ago, and his remarks today are expected to hit many familiar themes, aides say. He called for unity in financially difficult times that have left the state with billion-dollar deficits at the beginning of each year. Campaign slogans "moving Maryland forward" and "one Maryland" also may return today.
The governor will no doubt highlight his legislative priorities, including pension reform, preparations for federal health care reform and Invest Maryland. But he may also set goals for his entire second term.
Del. Jeannie Haddway-Riccio, an Eastern Shore Republican in her first year as House minority whip, will provide the GOP response. Haddaway-Riccio said she would discuss points of agreement between the governor and the minority party but will also note many contrasts in policy choices.
Check The Sun's home page for links to video feeds of both speeches as they are aired. Haddaway-Riccio's is being taped earlier and will air on Maryland Public Televsion and other stations after O'Malley's address.
Last year, the governor hammered on job creation, mentioning the word "jobs" about 30 times. He also infused the speech with lofty lines such as this one: "... A dark thing that has penetrated deep into our collective soul ... that somehow we are destined to decline, backslide and fail."
Republicans reacted with skepticism in their response speech and follow-up interviews.
"There seemed to be a disconnect with sincerity and a disconnect with reality," said Del. Anthony J. O’Donnell, the House of Delegates minority leader. "People have struggled mightily over the past three or four years, as he has raised every kind of tax imaginable. And now he wants sympathy and to form some kind of bond with those people?"
Check out the rest of our O'Malley State of the State retrospective. It contains links to each of his addresses.