My fellow Marylanders, thank you for coming together today to mark a new day in Maryland. And thank you for the work we will do together to make our state stronger. Stronger, together, as one Maryland.
One Maryland united by our belief in the dignity of every individual. One Maryland united by our responsibility to advance the common good. One Maryland united in our understanding that there is a unity to spirit and to matter and that what we chose to do in our own lifetimes does in fact matter.
Today, with great humility and resolve, we gather on the steps of our historic State House where, in 1783, Gen. George Washington resigned his command of the Continental Army. ...
My friends, like Washington, we find ourselves living here in Maryland during another time marked by peril and possibility.
Some of the perils that we face - budget deficits, polluted waters, drug addiction and crumbling infrastructure - are of our own recent making. But other perils, like global warming, the global economy, global terrorism and global migration, are powered by additional forces - many of which are seemingly beyond our reach. But all of these perils demand that we take responsibility to advance our common good.
Yes, we have choices to make, as one Maryland. Choices about our shared future. Choices between the perils and possibilities of our present. Already possessing the strength, we must now find again the will - the will to make a better, stronger future for our children and theirs.
For against the peril of terrorist threat and the incessant foreign chemical attacks of cocaine and heroin, we have the possibility of improving our homeland security efforts, of making our port a leader, we have the possibility of using our technology and talents to deter and prevent attack and the possibility of reforming our public safety institutions to save lives. Maryland is one of America's wealthiest states; it's time to make us one of America's safest and most secure.
With family paychecks imperiled by the pressures of the global economy and too many manufacturing jobs moving overseas, we have the possibility of building a new, creative economy in Maryland based on science, security, technology and healing - while also protecting our farmers, our watermen, our small towns and our Maryland traditions.
We have the possibility of building an economy based on the talents, and the skills and the brainpower of the people of Maryland. Yes, we have the possibility of joining with our neighbors in the District of Columbia and Virginia to form a powerhouse regional economy capable of competing and winning on the world stage.
In the face of rising energy costs, and electric bills and the peril of our addiction to foreign oil, we have the possibility, my friends, not only of restoring the regulatory framework of our State, but we also have the possibility of becoming a world leader in the development of clean and renewable energy, alternative fuels, green building technologies and cleaner-burning cars.
With the Chesapeake Bay's very survival imperiled by poorly planned sprawl and a multitude of other manmade ills - from storm water runoff to broken sewer systems - we have the possibility, my friends, of rescuing this natural jewel. To fuse science and government and personal responsibility together to expand buffer zones, cover crops, open space and oyster beds, and of harnessing the growth that is coming to rebuild our cities and towns. Together, we will preserve our quality of life, and we can also preserve the Chesapeake Bay.
With our children's economic future imperiled by an inadequate system of national education that is producing too few science, technology, engineering and math graduates, we have the possibility, in Maryland, to build the best system of public education in the country from K to 12 to college and beyond. Where working parents will never have to tell their children: "There is no way our family can ever afford college." The opportunity of college should be affordable to all.
With the soaring costs of health care imperiling the health of working families and threatening the solvency of responsible small businesses throughout Maryland, we have the possibility of rolling up our sleeves and finding ways to expand the affordability of health care coverage for our people. Working parents shouldn't have to go begging with a tin cup if their children fall gravely ill.
Yes, my fellow Marylanders, in so many ways - health care, education, transportation, public safety - we live in a time framed by peril and possibility, but defined, ultimately, by the responsibility we take through our own actions to choose a better, stronger Maryland.
As of this moment, honoring your trust, I take responsibility as one person for doing all that I can to make your government work again. I take responsibility for restoring our regulatory framework so that your government can stand up to powerful, wealthy special interests if ever they try to profiteer on the backs of the working people of our state.
I take responsibility for doing all that I can to make your government, your government open, transparent and accountable. I take responsibility as one leader for never trying to divide our people by race, class, religion or region. I take responsibility as your governor for setting a tone of mutual respect inside the halls of government - and for working with leaders of both parties to find common ground to advance the common good.
But, my friends, there are things for which each of us must take responsibility, as individuals; otherwise the work of our government and our leaders in government will be absolutely futile. Safe neighborhoods. A strong and growing middle class. Educational achievement. Financial fairness. Protecting the beauty of God's creation. Caring for the sick. Responsibility for ourselves, our families, our neighbors. These are the things for which each of us must take responsibility.
And so as we rise as one Maryland to meet the perils and possibilities of our own times, we do so knowing that Maryland's strengths are more than equal to the challenges before us. ...