This time around, O'Malley plans more subdued inauguration

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 18, 2011; 11:31 PM

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will be inaugurated for his second term Wednesday and will host a receiving line for the public after the ceremonies, his office announced.

O'Malley (D) and his wife, Catherine Curran O'Malley, a District Court judge, plan to start greeting guests at Government House, the governor's residence in Annapolis, about 2 p.m.

The reception is part of what aides are billing as a toned-down inauguration day to reflect the state's tough fiscal times and the fact that O'Malley is a sitting governor. The state is facing a $1.3 billion budget shortfall next year.

O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) are scheduled to be sworn in at noon in the state Senate chambers in the State House, as directed by the Maryland Constitution. That event is by invitation only.

The governor and lieutenant governor are expected to emerge at 12:30 for a public ceremony, which will include remarks from both.

O'Malley won reelection Nov. 2 over former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) by more than 14 percentage points, double his margin of victory when he faced Ehrlich in 2006.

O'Malley's office is encouraging people wishing to attend the inauguration to park at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium on Taylor Avenue. Shuttles will transport spectators to the State House for the outdoor ceremony, aides said.

In a nod to the state's fiscal condition, a traditional inaugural parade has been canceled, and the "black-tie optional" ball that O'Malley hosted after his 2007 swearing-in has been replaced by a "business cocktail attire" gathering at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore.

The governor is expected to submit a budget later this week. He has said that his spending plan should be viewed as "the first word, rather than the last word" on taxes and spending cuts.

In a conversation with reporters after a Democratic Party luncheon last week, O'Malley called the budget plan the most difficult he's crafted since becoming governor four years ago and acknowledged the plan would include cuts to education.

"Will we be able to shield it totally from any cuts?" O'Malley said. "That's probably impossible. But we will be able to protect it as a priority."

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