The AP Interview: Governor Wes Moore reflects on the first 2 months

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said Thursday he is taking aim at “the most comprehensive attack on child poverty” ever to occur in Maryland during his first legislative session, addressing a wide variety of issues in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press. .

The governor, a Democrat, spoke about concerns in the banking industry after the second and third largest bank failures in US history, his support for President Joe Biden, his thoughts on slavery reparations, the expansion of the use of electric vehicles and police reform during the interview, among other topics.

Two months into his term, Moore, who is Maryland’s first black CEO and the third black governor elected in the nation, highlighted the historic nature of his November landslide victory. He said the portrait of him will look “a little different” than the ones of the white governors on the walls inside the Maryland Capitol.

“I received more individual votes for governor than anyone else on these walls,” said Moore, a Democrat. “But I also know that Marylanders didn’t vote for me because they wanted me to make history. They voted for me because they believed in our vision.”

His proposal to extend and expand tax credits for low-income residents is making headway in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. His push to speed up raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is also moving forward, but so far without a provision he proposed to create automatic increases over the next few years to adjust for inflation.

Here’s what the governor had to say about some key issues facing the nation and the state he’s governing:


After the Silicon Valley Bank collapsed, Moore, who was an investment banker, said Maryland hasn’t had any significant impact. He said a big reason for that was in part the federal government’s quick moves to ensure that depositors were not harmed and covered.

“You have to make sure you have support for your small regional banks,” Moore said. “The second thing, however, is that we want to make sure that depositors don’t get hurt by all of this.”


Moore said he’s excited about the partnership the state of Maryland has right now with the White House and Biden.

“I want that partnership to continue,” Moore said. “And I’m not just supporting the re-election of President Biden; I plan to help where he can.”


As the city of San Francisco considers how to address the thorny question of how to atone for centuries of slavery and systemic racism, Moore said she understands why people continue to debate the issue “because the consequences that we saw from the transatlantic slave trade still continue. be real in people’s lives now.”

“I also know that we have to act now so that we can address the issues of housing insecurity and food insecurity, the racial wealth gap, educational disparities — the things that we know right now that we can do,” Moore said. We have an obligation to move with a sense of urgency, so that we don’t continue to see families who have historically been disadvantaged many times continue to be disadvantaged by the policies we are still implementing.”


Moore has fully supported Democrats in the legislature to enshrine abortion rights in the Maryland Constitution and other measures to protect abortion rights in the state.

“As long as I am governor, Maryland will be a safe haven for abortion rights,” Moore said.


The governor announced this week that Maryland will move forward with a requirement that all new vehicles sold in the state be electric by 2035, as California has decided.

“It will be difficult? Yes. Is it bold? Yes. Will Maryland make it? Absolutely, we will,” Moore said. “And it means we’re going to focus on things like electrification of the grid, so we actually have the infrastructure to be able to manage it.”


Moore said he supports an expansion of the police reform laws passed two years ago in Maryland. Part of those reforms requires the Maryland attorney general to investigate police-involved deaths, but leaves local prosecutors with the decision to prosecute. Advancing legislation in Maryland would give the attorney general the authority to prosecute officers independently.


The governor said he supports legislation moving forward in the state Senate to end the statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit against a public or private entity for child sexual abuse.

“I support the bill, because I think that in order for us to really work to do what’s right for that person and for that victim, we have to make sure that there are laws that address the fact that that pain still lingers,” Moore said.


Moore, who met with the General Services Administration last week about Maryland’s intense competition with Virginia for the location of a new FBI headquarters, said he is confident the administration will listen to concerns raised by him and members of the state’s congressional delegation that the assessment process has been unfair to Maryland. Maryland officials say the Virginia location is more expensive and will take longer than either of the two Maryland sites being considered.


Moore emphasized that he has already appointed the most diverse Cabinet of Secretaries to run state agencies in Maryland.

“I think Maryland is on America’s mind right now, because I think about what we can do within the state of Maryland and show that democracy can be not only participatory, but inclusive,” Moore said. “And that’s what makes it strong.”

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