Incoming Gov. Wes Moore (D) told Montgomery County, state, political, business, nonprofit and community leaders, they would have a better relationship with Annapolis in the next four years.
Hundreds gathered in the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center for an annual legislative breakfast hosted by Committee for Montgomery, a coalition of community leaders “that advocates to the Maryland State Government for Montgomery County’s needs through collective action,” according to its website.
Moore, the headline speaker for the legislative breakfast, said through a Zoom call, that he was looking forward to working with county leaders, and that the Lt. Gov.-elect Aruna Miller (D), a Montgomery County resident, would be a strong advocate for getting things done locally.
A panel of County Executive Marc Elrich (D), State Sen. Ben Kramer (D-Dist. 19), Del. Julie Palakovich Carr (D-Dist.17), County Council Member Andrew Friedson (D-Dist. 1), and Eric Luedtke (D) — the incoming chief legislative officer under Moore — also said they were excited to see an improved relationship with Annapolis in the next four years.
Luedtke said he and colleagues were looking for a “100% complete reset” between the governor and Montgomery County officials. Kramer agreed.
“In my 17 years in the state legislature, I don’t think Montgomery County has been better positioned than they are right now … I feel nothing but strong, positive vibes coming from this administration,” Kramer said.
Officials said that that administration would lead to more funding — and thus, more results — for everything from economic development to transportation projects to education.
Friedson highlighted a recent partnership announced between county government and the University of Maryland to bring a health computing center to North Bethesda. But he said that state aid will be needed to make the project as effective as possible.
“For it to do what we said it’s going to do and what we hope it’s going to do, we need massive state support to take it to the next level,” Friedson said.
County officials were also bullish on the fact that Moore’s presence in Annapolis will bring more funding for transportation projects, including bus rapid transit countywide.
Elrich said one of the reasons economic development has been lagging in the county is because of the lack of transportation opportunities — which connect people from where they live to where they work.
In order to implement bus rapid transit around the county, it’s likely going to take around $1 billion, Elrich said. He added that Virginia has been making investments in this area, including the Silver Line extension and bus rapid transit routes in every northern Virginia county.
“This is an investment that Virginia makes all the time, and this is one of the things that makes us not competitive with Virginia … The county has to contribute. I sat on [county] councils where for years, the mantra was, don’t put any county money into this, because then the state will never give us anything. And what we succeeded in was getting no money from the state, no money from the county, and no transit.”
Along with economic development and transportation, the new administration is also fully committed to funding the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, Luedtke said. That legislation, passed by the state legislature, aims to reform the state’s education system, with everything from raising teacher pay to funding universal pre-K, to creating more opportunities for vocational and career training.
Luedtke said funding that plan is important, because so many people pitched into the drafting of the bill: educators, PTSA members
, and other officials that work in schools every day.
Moore and Miller have said that some aspects of the Blueprint need to be accelerated, like providing more resources for child care across Montgomery County and Maryland as a whole.
“You talk to any of the business owners in this room, and they will tell you there’s a workforce problem. If people don’t have access to high-quality and affordable childcare, they can’t go to work,” Luedtke said.
Moore and Miller will be sworn in as the governor and lieutenant governor on Jan. 18, 2023 — a week after state senators and delegates reconvene on Jan. 11.