Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) took the oath of office for his second term Wednesday in a regal, yet scaled-back inaugural celebration designed to reflect the state’s tough fiscal climate.
Speaking from the steps of the State House in Annapolis, O’Malley acknowledged that “these next four years will not be easy,” and he called for shared sacrifice from the state’s residents and political leaders.
“In challenging times like these, a different level of leadership, determination, imagination and creativity is required of every single one of us,” O’Malley said from a stage decorated with bunting in gold, red and white — the colors of Maryland’s state flag.
O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) were sworn in at noon in the state Senate chambers in a private ceremony with their families, members of the General Assembly and political dignitaries before emerging for the outdoor public ceremony.
Throughout his 11-minute remarks, O’Malley invoked his inaugural theme of “We Are One Maryland” and urged elected officials to put aside political differences to address the state’s problems.
“There are some challenges that are so large that we can only really address them together,” O’Malley said. “We cannot allow our individual sense of entitlement to tear apart our shared sense of community.”
O’Malley also touted accomplishments from his first term, such as freezing in-state tuition at public universities, decreasing violent crime and restoring the blue crab population in the Chesapeake Bay.
The inaugural festivities attracted a long list of current and former elected officials, including Maryland Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D); members of the state’s congressional delegation; D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray; and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell. Also among the guests were former governors Parris N. Glendening, Marvin Mandel and Harry R. Hughes.
O’Malley won reelection in November over former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who did not attend Wednesday. O’Malley’s margin of more than 14 percentage points was one of the more decisive victories for a Democrat in a year that favored Republicans nationally.
The governor is scheduled to submit his budget Friday, and he has said he will propose a spending plan that closes an estimated $1.3 billion budget shortfall without raising taxes. O’Malley and the legislature are also expected to grapple with how to scale back the ballooning cost of the state’s retirement system for public employees.
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.
But there was plenty of pomp, with the singing of “Maryland, My Maryland,” an inaugural flyover and a 19-gun salute by the Maryland Air National Guard. O’Malley and his wife, Catherine Curran O’Malley, a District Court judge, also planned to host a receiving line for the public at the governor’s residence after the inaugural ceremonies.