By Catherine Pugh,
Special to the AFRO
The ballroom at the Waterfront Marriott hotel in downtown Baltimore could not have been more jovial on Nov. 8. It was teeming with campaign volunteers, well-wishers, people who wanted to be a part of history and those who made the trek just to get a glimpse of Gov.-Elect Wes Moore, the first Black man elected to the office in Maryland.
Moore did not disappoint.
Bounding up on the stage, the crowd immediately erupted into applause and chants at the sight of the next Maryland governor. Moore embraced his entire family, his wife Dawn, his mother and two children.
Moore highlighted how the state of Maryland has fallen in love with Dawn. “People across the state made so many requests of her that she would sometimes have to respond, ‘Can I send my husband?’”
The governor-elect thanked everyone– including Gov. Larry Hogan (R) –who called to congratulate Moore shortly after news outlets announced the 44-year-old was the winner of the gubernatorial election. The new Maryland governor praised his campaign staff, led by Ned Miller, and chief of staff Tisha Edwards.
“We started from the bottom sixteen months ago and I am forever indebted to them,” he told the audience. “Thank you! Thank You! Thank you, Maryland, for an improbable night and what an amazing journey.”
The historic night was not for Moore, alone.
“This state is blessed to have a lot of firsts tonight,” he said, noting that voters picked Aruna Miller to be the first woman and immigrant of color to serve as lieutenant governor. Brooke Lierman was also elected to be the first woman to serve as state comptroller and Anthony Brown will be the first Black attorney general in Maryland.
After calming the crowd, Moore declared that his team will immediately target public safety, illegal guns and violent offenders. They will also fight for protections that have come under attack by the Supreme Court and other detractors.
“We will protect abortion rights and access and we will empower women to make decisions about their own reproductive health a decision he says, that should be made between a woman and her doctor,” said Moore. “We will build a first-class education system starting with free Pre-K for every single child in Maryland who needs it.”
Moore said that under his administration, the state “will invest in apprenticeship programs and trade programs” in efforts to ensure that “every young person knows there is a pathway to their long term economic viability and long term economic success.”
“We will make Maryland a true hub of innovation and economic growth. A place where small businesses can thrive, and unions are strong and we will not choose one over the other,” Moore continued.
The military veteran closed his speech with praise for his grandmother, who recently passed at the age of 95 years old.
Moore told those gathered how his grandmother came to the United States from Cuba, served as a school teacher for forty years and dedicated her time and energy to help his family after his father passed away.
“She has the best seat in the house tonight,” he quietly told his well-wishers of his grandmother, Winell Thomas.
Moore then welcomed his running mate and other newly elected officials to the spotlight.
Standing next to each other, the victors of Election Day 2022 in Maryland began to resemble the United Nations. Some of the state’s top elected officials came to the microphone to thank Marylanders for electing them to specific offices for the first time in Maryland’s history.
Attorney General-Elect Anthony Brown
Congressman and former lieutenant governor Anthony Brown approached the stage with his wife and 95-year-old mother. “I know you all are wondering why I did not bring a chair for my mother,” he said. “Take a brisk walk with her in the morning and see who comes back winded,” Brown joked.
He will be the first man of color to serve in the role in Maryland.
“Over a year ago my campaign team and I came together. I accept this responsibility of being your next attorney general. As the people’s lawyer you gave me your commitment,” Brown said as he addressed the crowd. “I look forward to doing what I was born to do. Serve! Maryland congratulations…we have broken barriers.”
Maryland Comptroller- Elect Brooke Lierman
Former House of Delegate member Brooke Lierman became the first woman in Maryland to be elected as state comptroller.
“I will work to make sure I am not the last,” she said. “This is our time to do the work.”
Lierman thanked her mentors, including U.S. Senator Barbra Mikulski and the late Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, for believing in her success and paving the way for greatness.
Lt. Gov.-Elect Aruna Miller
Lt. Gov. – Elect Aruna Miller is the first Indian-American and woman of color to be elected to the post of lieutenant governor.
She came to this country at seven years old from India. She is also the first woman of Indian descent to have been elected to a position as a member of the State House of Delegates.
In 2019 she ran for a congressional seat in District 6 and lost. The setback only toughened her skin and will to serve and make a difference in the lives ofMarylanders.
“I am humbled,” Miller told the audience.
Miller said she has always believed in the greatness of her running mate.
When she and her husband first met Wes Moore, they both agreed that he would become the first Black governor.
“I thank Governor-Elect Wes Moore for putting his trust in me,” said Miller. “Thank you again, Maryland, and thank you for supporting me. We look forward to doing the work.”
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