Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), however reluctantly, is trying to steer Maryland’s debate over expanding gambling to a conclusion in coming weeks, he made clear in a story in a Sunday’s Washington Post.
At one point during an interview last week, when asked if he enjoyed the debate, O’Malley shared an anecdote about his late father, who practiced law in Montgomery County.
The governor said he remembered asking his father, who was working on a probate matter at the time, if he was enjoying his work.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Enjoy?’ He said, ‘There are many things I enjoy. I enjoy you. I enjoy your mom. I enjoy your brothers and sisters.’ And then he said, ‘This is called work, and that’s why they pay you for it.’”
“So I don’t ask myself whether I enjoy it or not,” O’Malley said, referring to the debate over adding a full-fledged gambling casino in Prince George’s County and table games a existing slots locations. “There are other things I enjoy, and in order to enjoy those things, and to accomplish other things, I do things this world requires of me. That’s kind of my attitude about this gaming thing.”
During the interview, O’Malley also said he sympathizes with others who have said there are “more pressing” issues to consider besides gaming, citing two initiatives of his that failed during the 90-day legislative session: bids to increase transportation funding and to jump-start the state’s wind-power industry.
“I feel that way, too,” O’Malley said. “That’s why I didn’t put up [a gaming bill] as an administration bill, and that’s why I sent every signal that I had no intention of dealing with this again.
“That’s why I charged across the battlefield, alone, holding up the flag of the gas tax in the hope that my political blood sacrifice might inspire [legislators] here to find a way forward,” he said. “Instead, they found a way to beat each other over the head over this contentious issue of gaming. And so, any hope of addressing our transportation needs went by the wayside, along with wind and other issues.”