April 28, 2023, not only marked almost exactly one-third of the current year behind us, the date was also 100 days since the inauguration of Maryland’s first African American governor, and the 63rd State Executive since 1778.
Cynicism notwithstanding, politicians are known for exaggeration, hyperbole, and sometimes straight-up lying. As a non-politician until his recent electoral success, the record shows 44-year-old Westley Watende Omari Moore lived a life since his childhood between Maryland and New York City that evolved his life into one of service and other altruistic pursuits.
Wes Moore’s distinguished military leadership during his nine years in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of captain and serving in Afghanistan, demonstrates a trait that viscerally appealed to Maryland voters, a personal characteristic that could not be contrived. And Mr. Moore’s successful social entrepreneurship/philanthropic endeavors in New York also favored him.
Was Wes Moore elected by Marylanders who felt a visceral authenticity for his demeanor and inclusive agenda, making him well-received by voters? This is said with the benefit of 100 days of hindsight on the governor’s performance compared to his campaign rhetoric.
The results and the pace of the governor’s performance navigating his legislative priorities to his desk for signing is reaping dividends compared to his pre-election pronouncements.
Wes Moore supported the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future initiative during his run for governor. Moore proposed $500 million toward funding the Blueprint, which was increased to $900 million by state legislators. The governor signed the bill into law in April 2023.
Candidate Moore supported creating a “service year option” in schools, enabling high school graduates to complete a gap year “in exchange for job training, mentorship, and other support…” In February, Governor Moore introduced the SERVE Act to launch the “service year option program.” The SERVE Act was signed into law in April 2023.
Mr. Moore supported the renewable energy goals of the state’s Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019. He also proposed regulations to achieve 100% clean energy use by 2035 and net zero carbon emissions by 2045. On April 21, 2023, Gov. Moore signed legislation to codify a new 8.5-gigawatt offshore wind facility providing power for nearly 300,000 homes, to increase electric vehicles, rebates to businesses buying electric vehicles and achieve 100% clean energy by 2035.
In January 2023, Governor Moore proposed providing members of the Maryland National Guard with free health and dental care. On February 2, seventy-two members of the House of Delegates co-sponsored the “Healthcare for Heroes Act,” introduced at Governor Moore’s request.
Moore supported the right to counsel in eviction cases, weighing in that availing tenants’ legal access is “the just thing to do and it is the right thing to do.” On April 13, 2022, Maryland’s access to counsel for low-income renters facing eviction won two years of funding.
In 2022, Moore supported a bill to ban the possession and sale of ghost guns in Maryland. He supports creating a firearms database to help law enforcement track guns used in crimes. Wes Moore’s campaign against ghost guns came to fruition. The new criminalization law went into effect March 1, 2023. Public safety legislation, HB0824, which regulates the possession and permits to carry, wear, and transport firearms, is headed for Gov. Moore’s desk next.
Wes Moore supported the 2022 ballot initiative legalizing recreational Cannabis in Maryland, and another bill that would regulate marijuana possession. Recreational Cannabis becomes 100% legal July 1, 2023.
During his campaign, candidate Moore said that he would accelerate the state’s incremental increase to a minimum wage of $15 per hour by 2023. Governor Moore has signed a bill raising Maryland’s minimum hourly wage to $15 effective January 1, 2024.
In January 2023, during his first budget presentation, Governor Moore introduced the Family Prosperity Act, allocating $171 million to make permanent the earned income tax credit passed by legislators in 2021, and continue the Keep Our Heroes Home Act, which provides $33 million to expand tax exemptions for military retirement income. In April 2023, Governor Moore signed the Family Prosperity Act into law.
Candidate Moore campaigned that he supported restarting the Red Line rail project, calling for it to be “built quickly, cost-effectively, and with community input on stops, disruptions, and impact on local businesses.” Governor Moore is currently advancing the Red Line project.
Governor Moore has committed $20 Million to support Marylanders with COVID-19 water bill debt. Assistance will be distributed through 19 water systems statewide funded through the Water Assistance Relief Program.
Mr. Moore has been consistent. Captain Wes Moore’s creed: “I will never leave a fallen comrade.” Governor Wes Moore’s creed: “Leave No One Behind.” Soldier on, Governor.