WHEN I kicked off my campaign for governor last April, I made a strong statement to my neighbors in the Washington suburbs: "All of us in Prince George's County and in Montgomery County," I said that warm spring afternoon, "must recognize that Baltimore is indeed central to the well-being of this state, and that its LTC success or failure affects every single Marylander in very meaningful ways." Throughout this campaign, I have repeated that message in every corner of Maryland, because Baltimore is the heart of Maryland. If the city is allowed to deteriorate, the impact will be felt from Cumberland to Ocean City.
Later that week, Mayor Kurt Schmoke and I stood on the steps of Baltimore City Hall and together pledged a "partnership for progress" between the city and the state that can restore the greatness of Baltimore City and usher in a new era of progress for our entire state. I cherish that pledge, because it is at the heart of my hopes for our future.
For the past 12 years, I have been the county executive of Prince George's County, tackling many of the same challenges that Baltimoreans face everyday. We have increased the size of our police force by 40 percent, more than doubled per-pupil funding for education, and revitalized our older, urban communities -- creating thousands of new jobs and almost doubling average household income.
I will be a governor who will fight for Baltimore. I believe that the city's future can be bright. We can revitalize its decaying neighborhoods, restore vitality to its economy, improve its schools and make its neighborhoods safer. I have introduced a comprehensive plan to move Maryland forward, a plan which offers great hope to Baltimore City. It is not based on increased welfare or transfer payments, but on creating good-paying jobs, improving schools and making neighborhoods safer.
At the heart of my vision for economic growth is a plan to offer tax credits to businesses that offer jobs in older communities like Baltimore, where the need for new jobs is greatest. We have employed this strategy in Prince George's County, directing investment to our older communities inside the Washington beltway. By doing so, we have created new jobs in that area, revitalizing communities that had fallen into disrepair, and bringing new hope to their residents.
That is the kind of leadership that I will offer Baltimore and all of Maryland, when I am governor. We will work with the business community to create good jobs. We will expand community policing, putting more officers on the streets where they work with local residents not only to catch criminals but also to identify problems and prevent crimes before they occur. And we will make education our top priority: encouraging innovation through school-based management, improving classroom discipline and shifting budget priorities to invest more in the education of our children.
My Republican opponent, Ellen Sauerbrey, has been one of the most anti-Baltimore legislators in the entire General Assembly. She voted against projects that were important to the city, like Camden Yards. Her cynical political promises would rob the city of funds to improve its schools, strengthen its police force and care for its senior citizens. Repeatedly, she has sided with pro-gun extremists against police officers by opposing such common-sense measures as a ban on deadly assault weapons. She has steadfastly opposed a woman's right to choose, and wants to take money out of our public schools to pay for her private school voucher program. She has proposed such anti-Baltimore steps as merging the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Maryland at Baltimore, and her tax-shift proposal would cause Baltimore property taxes to skyrocket.
The choice in this election is clear. I will fight for Baltimore and for things that all Marylanders believe in. Ellen Sauerbrey will not, I hope that Baltimoreans will join me in this fight for our future, so that we can move Maryland forward, together.
Parris Glendening is the Democratic candidate for governor.