WASHINGTON, DC (March 16, 2011) – Governor Martin O’Malley joined by members of the Executive Cabinet travelled to Capitol Hill today to formally present Maryland’s 2011 federal priorities to the State’s Congressional delegation. Hosted by Senator Barbara Mikulski, Chair of the Maryland Delegation, and attended by the full Maryland Congressional delegation, Governor O’Malley presented priorities that create jobs and opportunity, protect the public’s safety, advance environmental sustainability, protect the health of all Marylanders, and help rebuild Maryland’s infrastructure.
“To make our children winners in the fight for our economic future, we must make the tough choices to spur innovation and create and save jobs, while improving public safety, public education and our quality of life,” said Governor O’Malley. “Together with our federal partners, we can advance these initiatives and be a winner in this new economy.”
Governor O’Malley outlined the state’s federal priorities to reflect the Administration’s 15 strategic goals. The goals were created during the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s first term to improve the quality of life in Maryland. They are broadly categorized in four key areas – creating opportunity, security, sustainability and health, reflecting the challenges and opportunities we face as a state in the 21st Century and in the new economy.
“These are tough times – Marylanders are stretched and strained. I want them to know I’m on their side, and so is the rest of the Maryland delegation,” Senator Mikulski said. “We have to make smart decisions to keep our innovation economy moving. We need to fight for jobs today and train our workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. I’m proud to work with Governor O’Malley to meet the day-to-day needs of Maryland and the long-term needs of our nation.”
The Governor highlighted specific areas for federal action, including:
Creating Jobs & Opportunity
Governor O’Malley outlined a number of important initiatives related to job creation and expanding opportunity, including the multi-year reauthorization of surface transportation programs that focus on transit-oriented development, improving passenger, and commuter and freight rail infrastructure.
In addition, Governor O’Malley urged support for President Obama’s call to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in order to leverage record state investments in the education of our children, and supplement the reforms laid out in Maryland’s Race to the Top Award.
Governor O’Malley also proposed the creation of competitive grants through the Workforce Investment Act for the innovation economy, preparing workers for high-growth, high-demand industries such as cyber security and biotechnology and investment in BRAC related projects and jobs.
Additionally, the Governor asked members to protect federal agencies that provide research grants and support federal programs and initiatives that spur innovation such as the America COMPETES Act and the Obama Administration’s Startup America.
Advancing Public Safety & Homeland Security
Governor O’Malley urged the maintenance of funding for the Byrne-JAG program, which will help achieve the Administration’s goal of reducing violent crime by 20% by 2012 and reducing violent crime against women and children by 25% by 2012 <http://www.statestat.maryland.gov/GDUdomestic.asp> .
In addition, Governor O’Malley urged the maintenance of funding levels for Maryland’s share of key Homeland Security Grant Programs so the state may continue to make progress on becoming a national leader in homeland security and preparedness.
Advancing Environmental Sustainability
Governor O’Malley outlined three legislative priorities to advance the Administration’s many sustainability-related goals. Passage of the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act would help ensure that Bay restoration efforts remain a high priority for the EPA and that the watershed states are held accountable for successful implementation of their plans to achieve the pollution reduction targets. To achieve the Administration’s goal of restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay by 2020, the Governor urged support for critically needed nitrogen reduction technology for the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant.
In addition, Governor O’Malley encouraged extending incentives to attract offshore wind development to waters off Maryland’s coast, an initiative the Governor is also pursuing on the state level.
Advancing the Health of Marylanders
The Governor requested maintenance of funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program at the level of $5.1 billion recognizing the impact of the economy and high costs of all sources of energy on vulnerable households.
The Governor’s full presentation to the delegation can be viewed here.
A complete list of priorities the Governor submitted to the Delegation is available here.