By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
AFRO Contributing Editor,
Gov. Wes Moore has officially completed his first 100 days as chief executive for the state of Maryland. The first Black governor to lead the state took office on Jan. 18, alongside his wife, Dawn Moore and children, Mia and James.
Moore recently recounted his early successes in an exclusive interview with the AFRO.
“It’s going so well and I’m so thankful,” said Moore. “We’re moving fast in Maryland and I’m proud that everything we said on the campaign we’re getting done. If I said it, I meant it and people are now seeing how real that is.”
Since January Moore has signed off on a $63 billion budget, authored ten pieces of legislation, enacted a review of minority business enterprise goals and invested $122 million into local police departments across the state of Maryland.
“We now have the most aggressive frontal assault on child poverty– addressing things like the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit,” said Moore, of the Family Prosperity Act, which will permanently extend the Earned Income Tax Credit. The act will also remove the $530 annual cap for adults without qualifying children.
Qualifying children are generally those who are under 17 at the end of the tax filing year, are biologically related or are a foster child of the tax filer and have a valid Social Security number, according to the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS).
“We were able to address housing discrepancies,” Moore said, referring to his administration’s March 2023 move to unveil $13.4 million to support affordable rental housing units.
The allocation allows the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to provide $10.4 million through the Rental Housing Works Program and another $3 million from the Partnership Rental Housing Program supporting projects in Dundalk, Hanover and Edgewood, Md.
“In the first 100 days we were able to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which will lift 150,000 families along the economic ladder,” said Moore, of the Fair Wage Act of 2023’s, which will increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2024– well ahead of the initially projected date of 2025.
Moore also authored the SERVE Act, which creates a state-sponsored service-year option for high school graduates in Maryland. According to Moore’s office, the act also establishes the Department of Service and Civic Innovation.
“If you think about what we’ve been able to accomplish in just 100 days, we– as a state– are saying ‘it’s time to be bold and it’s time to move fast,’” said Moore.
During his first 100 days, the governor also committed $17.5 million for Baltimore City to expand the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Public Defender, helped allocate $8.8 billion for K-12 education in addition to $421 million to support Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Moore visited Baltimore to support federal investment into West Baltimore through Coppin State University, an HBCU.
Moore also joined the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, a group of governors who pledged to maintain women’s reproductive rights. In February, he announced support of a package of four core bills protecting the reproductive rights of Marylanders, supporting privacy for reproductive health records, shielding patients who seek reproductive care in Maryland from criminal prosecution, requiring four-year universities to offer reproductive health care and constitutionally enshrining the right of Marylanders to reproductive freedom.
Marylanders are reacting to Moore’s first 100 days.
“The first 100 days were very good and encouraging,” said Leon Clifton Purnell, a Baltimore resident. “I hope he does not get caught up with the same things the mayor has– that is, dumping money into programs that are doing nothing. The governor has stated that he wants to work closely with nonprofits and community organizations to get the help people need. I’m looking to see if he is still focused on this.
Del. Rachel Muñoz (R-MD-31) also reflected on the governor’s work thus far.
“It’s been very energizing and exciting, being there for the start of a new administration,” said. “I felt like he understood and listened to many of the points I made in a discussion about BOOST funds. And I walked out kind of understanding a new perspective as well.”
While she praised the governor’s work in the last few months, Muñoz also echoed the disdain voiced by many of the state’s GOP lawmakers, who criticized Moore’s approach to public safety policy.
“When it comes to violent crime, I think it’s objectively clear we did not do nearly enough to combat that in the state of Maryland,” said Muñoz. “He got all ten of his bills passed in some form or another– but none were substantive crime bills.”
Jakeya Jackson, a registered voter weighed in with her unique perspective as a Bowie State University graduate student.
“For 18 months Moore campaigned on the promise of ‘Leave No One Behind’ and his first 100 days has proven his commitment to that promise to be true,” Jackson. “I’m especially excited to see the governor’s unwavering support for reproductive justice and his bold investments in public education.”