8-year-old Pr. George's girl to take over for Md. Gov. O’Malley on Tuesday


Maryland’s Tuesday governor for the day, Genea Harrison: “I wanted to have the opportunity to be in charge.” (Photo courtesy of Genea Harrison)

Smaller class sizes. A cleaner Chesapeake Bay. More jobs. And better infrastructure.

It could be the agenda for one of the gubernatorial candidates lining up for the 2014 race to succeed Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

But these priorities actually belong to 8-year-old Genea Harrison, and she’s already won her contest.

Genea, a student at Rosa L. Parks Elementary School in Prince George’s County, has been picked by O’Malley to be “governor for a day” on Tuesday based on an essay she wrote. Her work was selected from more than 200 submissions in a contest meant to encourage young women to pursue careers in public service.

“I wanted to have the opportunity to be in charge,” Genea said in an interview Friday when asked what prompted her entry.

She will have a full day on Tuesday, according to a public schedule released by O’Malley’s office.

After being sworn in, Gov. Harrison is scheduled to meet with the visiting Taiwan Ambassador Pu-tsung King and attend a meeting of women in the legislature and who hold key positions in the O’Malley administration.

Later that morning, Genea is scheduled to huddle with O’Malley’s speechwriters to put the finishing touches on an address she will deliver on stream restoration and environmental literacy.

And before the day is out, she is scheduled to swear in O'Malley's new transportation secretary, James T. Smith, and the new director of the Maryland Energy Administration, Abigail R. Hopper.

In advance of her big day, Genea said, some of her friends have already started greeting her with “hello, guv.”

“It makes me feel really happy that they know I won,” she said.

Her essay concluded with this promise: “If I was governor for the day, I would put the people first and think about what is most important to them and make the state of Maryland a better and safer place to live.”

Genea said she might consider a career in politics when she gets older.

“I would like to be mayor or president,” she said.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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