The text of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s first State of the State address today, as provided by his press office:
Senate President Mike Miller; Speaker Mike Busch; Members of the General Assembly; Lt. Governor Steele; Chief Judge Bell; Judge Vaughan; Attorney General Joe Curran; Treasurer Nancy Kopp; Comptroller William Donald Schaefer; members of Congress; county executives and mayors; special guests; friends and fellow Marylanders:
What a tremendous honor it is to be standing before you today as Marylands governor. I am so happy to be here, back with my friends in the Maryland General Assembly. There are so many good, hard-working people on both sides of the aisle, all eager to do whats right for the citizens of Maryland.
I served here for eight years -- a tremendous experience for a young legislator. Ill always cherish the time I spent here. I made great friends and benefited from great mentors. Many still serve in this body, and others have joined my administration. I experienced how the legislative process works, as well as the importance of principled cooperation. I observed and participated in serious debates about issues that matter to every citizen: crime, drugs, education, healthcare, transportation, tort reform, the Chesapeake Bay, and juvenile justice.
The Maryland General Assembly represents everything that a citizen legislature should be: diverse, collegial, effective, informed and vigilant. Serving here prepared me for the challenges and demands of being an effective public servant.
To all the freshmen members of the Assembly, I encourage you to savor this experience. I also encourage you to make the most of it. You can do that by getting to know some of the veteran members. Neither party has a monopoly on talent in this legislature.
Many of the people in this room represent the best of public service: I would like to single out seven of these long-serving members today. Together these members have won 126 races and served a total of 225 years in this historic Assembly.
Please stand as I call your name.