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Wes Moore reflects on historic election as Maryland’s first Black governor

<i>Graeme Sloan for The Washington Post/Getty Images</i><br/>Maryland Governor-elect Wes Moore speaks to media during a press conference announcing transition details
The Washington Post via Getty Im
Graeme Sloan for The Washington Post/Getty Images
Maryland Governor-elect Wes Moore speaks to media during a press conference announcing transition details

By Michelle Watson and Jack Forrest, CNN

Wes Moore, the incoming governor of Maryland, reflected Sunday on the historic nature of his election as the state’s first Black chief executive.

“It is remarkable,” the Democrat said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Dana Bash, who pointed out that Maryland will also have a Black attorney general, treasurer and state House speaker. “I’m proud of the history that I’m going to make in this race of being the state’s first Black governor.”

“And also I’m proud of it because I know how complicated the racial history is in the state of Maryland and how complicated the racial history in the United States is,” he said. “Maryland is the state of Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass, and Thurgood Marshall, but I also know that the reason that I am now days away from becoming Maryland’s 63rd governor, is not only because Black folks voted for me.”

Moore, an Army veteran and former nonprofit executive, is only the third Black person to be elected governor in US history. He defeated Republican Dan Cox in November by 32 points in the deep-blue state.

Moore said people voted for him “not just because” they wanted to see him make history, “but because they knew that together, we could actually build a state that everyone could believe in and everyone could thrive in.”

“I’m a patriot and I was raised by patriots,” said Moore, who served in Afghanistan.

“Our country is worth fighting for, but fighting for your country does not mean hating half of the people in it,” Moore said. “And when we talk about patriotism, it means an ability to be able to lift everyone up — to fight for each other, to believe in each other — to believe that our country is great because we are inclusive.”

Moore will succeed Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who was term-limited and has been a critic of the hard-right direction his party has taken in recent years.

“I appreciate the fact that the governor … he was very against the MAGA movement from its inception — for years,” Moore told Bash. “He’s been calling the MAGA movement dangerous, which it is … and I thank him for that.”

Moore also said he doesn’t foresee a White house bid anytime soon, instead throwing his support behind President Joe Biden in 2024.

“I’m very excited for President Biden to run for reelection. We’re going to support him. I’m thankful for the amount of times he’s come to Maryland. We have a lot of partnerships we’re going to get done,” he said.

Moore pointed to work, wages, and wealth as three primary policy areas he wants to focus on in office.

“For work, it means we’re going to have an education system that is going to teach our students how not just to be employees but how to be employers,” he said, noting that he has pushed a “service year option” for every high school graduate in Maryland. If enacted, the state would be the first in the country to adopt such a program, which would provide job training and mentorship to young Marylanders.

“For wages, it means that we are going to ensure that people can have good wages again for the jobs that they have because we still have too many people in this state that are working jobs — and in some cases — multiple jobs — and still living below a poverty line,” he said.

Moore also said he wants Maryland to lead the nation in tackling the racial wealth gap and “making sure that people can own more than they owe.”

The incoming governor said that the best way to pay for state programs without raising taxes is to stimulate economic growth by introducing more job skill training to place people who are unemployed in open positions and offer child care to working parents.

“We have a dynamic economy, we’re just not preparing people to participate in that dynamic economy,” he said.

When asked by Bash if he was confident in his ability to implement state programs without raising taxes, Moore said, “I’m very confident.”

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