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Gov. O'Malley inaugurated

renews 'One Maryland' pledge

January 18, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

ANNAPOLIS - Championing economic creativity, environmental protection and respectful governing, Democrat Martin O'Malley became Maryland's 61st governor Wednesday.

O'Malley, the former mayor of Baltimore, said the state can make itself safer from terrorist attacks and illegal drugs, use more alternative energy and keep sprawl from ruining the Chesapeake Bay.

O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, a former delegate, took their oaths of office in the Senate chamber at the State House, before both the House and Senate, at about 12:15 p.m.

More than an hour later, during a public inauguration ceremony outside the State House, O'Malley - joined by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Maryland's two U.S. senators and other prominent Democrats - repeated his vow and addressed several hundred well-wishers and legislators.

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The election of O'Malley returns the governorship to Democrats after four years under Robert Ehrlich, a Republican. Democrats control both the House and the Senate.

Three Washington County legislators - two Republicans and a Democrat - said they heard good things from O'Malley on Wednesday.

Del. Robert A. McKee, a Republican, and Del. John P. Donoghue, a Democrat, applauded O'Malley for his "One Maryland" theme, a continuation from his campaign. McKee and Donoghue noted that Casper R. Taylor Jr., a former Democratic House speaker from Allegany County, previously had the same message.

McKee said he was pleased by priorities set by O'Malley, including health care, education, transportation and public safety.

Donoghue agreed and complimented O'Malley's interest in compromise and consensus.

"Rhetorically, I was very impressed," Republican Del. Christopher B. Shank said. "He sounds very appealing themes."

However, Shank, the House minority whip, said two-party government is healthy and Republicans will stick to their ideals.

"We will keep our legislative role as the loyal opposition," he said.

Inauguration Day started with a prayer breakfast in Prince George's County.

Later in the morning, choirs from across Maryland sang outside the State House.

After a swearing-in ceremony in the Senate chamber, O'Malley and Brown spoke during a public celebration.

Pelosi, a Baltimore native now representing California, cracked the crowd up with a geographic slip.

"Martin O'Malley demonstrated, as a great mayor of Baltimore, that he will be a great governor of California," she said.

When the audience laughed, she did, too, and corrected herself.

In the afternoon, an inaugural parade wound around State Circle, near the State House. Washington County was represented by the Williamsport High School Blue Band, which played a John Philip Sousa march.

The day's planned finale was an inaugural gala in Baltimore.

Getting ready to leave for the gala, Democratic Hagerstown Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer, a lawyer, said by phone, "I would have loved to have been there this afternoon (for the swearing-in), but I had court."

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