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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Wes Moore Takes Oath as Maryland’s First Black Governor

Wes Moore, a former nonprofit executive, former Army captain and author was sworn in as Maryland’s new governor on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Annapolis, Maryland. Moore, 44, is a Democrat. The honorable Steuart L. Pittman, Jr., County Executive of Anne Arundel County, served as master of ceremonies during Moore’s inauguration. Justice Matthew Fader swore in Moore as the new governor placed his hand on a Bible that once belonged to abolitionist Frederick Douglas, a leader who also hailed from Maryland. Fader, the Maryland Supreme Court Chief Justice, also swore in Maryland’s new Lieutenant Governor, Aruna Miller.

Aruna Miller, right, is sworn in as Maryland’s lieutenant governor
Photos: Andrea Blackstone and Tyler Stallings

“To my friend and Maryland’s 63rd Governor Wes Moore, I am humbled to join you on this journey to serve the state we love for the people we love in a place we call home,” Miller said.

Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller spoke about being an immigrant who arrived in the United States at the age of seven years old.  Moore made history by becoming Maryland’s first Black governor. Miller broke another barrier becoming the first South Asian woman who was elected to become lieutenant governor. Moore was born in Hyderabad, India. She thanked Marylanders for helping to lead the state into the future.

Daughters of Maryland’s new lieutenant governor, Aruna Miller
Photos: Andrea Blackstone and Tyler Stallings

A 19-gun salute, inaugural flyover and performances that included Morgan State University’s choir singing “God Bless America,” and Bowie High School Marching Bulldogs livening up the crowd at the top of the inauguration were a few elements of entertainment mixed with the celebratory event. Pittman, who endorsed Moore, provided a serious reminder. He explained that he was looking for a leader who would listen, and a human being that reminds people what it means to be human.

“We found one and that is why we are here today,” Pittman said, drawing cheers and claps.

Governor Wes Moore and Oprah Winfrey pray
Photos: Andrea Blackstone and Tyler Stallings

Pittman added that he watched Moore build a team that catapulted him from single digit support when he had when he endorsed him to the most votes of any governor in the history of Maryland. Pittman stated that when the crowds disperse on Wednesday, the work begins.

Moore’s remarks included acknowledging Maryland’s former governor, Larry Hogan.

“We are grateful and thankful for the kindness that you and your team have shown throughout this entire transition period. Thank you for eight years of great service to a state that we both love,” Moore said.

Governor Wes Moore greets excited students who attend Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys after the inauguration.
Photos: Andrea Blackstone and Tyler Stallings

Maryland’s new governor continued his inaugural address while recognizing individuals who supported him to achieve victory. He provided insightful remarks while reiterating the importance of leaving no one behind in Maryland.

“Today is not an indictment of the past. Today is a celebration of our collective future. And today our opportunity to begin this future is so bright, it is blinding, but only if we are intentional, inclusive and disciplined in confronting challenges, making hard choices and seizing this opportunity in front of us,” Moore said, also reminding Marylanders to serve.

Oprah Winfrey and actor Chris Tucker were among celebrities who attended the historic inauguration. Winfrey shared that she first met Moore in 2010 when she interviewed him about his bestselling book. The American talk show host, producer and philanthropist reminded that Moore has been committed to helping young people find purpose and direction in their lives. She added that the new governor “has always believed that everyone deserves an equal shot at success and opportunity to live well.”

Tyler Stallings, junior reporter for The Baltimore Times, interviews actor Chris Tucker.
Photo Credits: Andrea Blackstone and Tyler Stallings

After Moore was sworn in, Tucker remarked that he felt great, privileged and honored to be in attendance during Moore’s historic moments. While stopping to greet fans, he shared that he hopes to talk to Moore from time to time. He added that he will provide a smile, whenever he has an opportunity to see the busy new governor of Maryland.

 Grandmother Edna Williams, a Baltimorean and storyteller who savored the moment for the African American community, joyously witnessed history. She sat in the crowd documenting and sharing it with the help of her cell phone. Williams explained that she had ridden a bus early in the morning. The 75-year-old likes to see young people working.

Williams mentioned other Black leaders who preceded Moore while making monumental steps up. She held up a program about former president Barack Obama’s ball that she attended in 2009 in one hand. In the other, she beamed with pride while gripping information about Wes Moore making history.

“I’m just enjoying my day,” Williams said with a wide smile.

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