Wes Moore sworn in, makes history as first Black governor of Maryland

(The Center Square) – Wes Moore was sworn in as the 63rd governor of Maryland Wednesday, making history as the state’s first Black governor.

Moore, a Democrat, was sworn in Wednesday afternoon at the state capitol in Annapolis, accompanied by his wife and two children. Residents and officials from across Maryland gathered outside the state capitol for the inauguration. Oprah Winfrey, a vocal supporter of Moore during his campaign, was also in attendance.

"This state is something special," Winfrey, who moved to Baltimore for a TV job in her 20s, said during the inauguration Wednesday. "It's a place where so many others have done and will do exactly what I did – plant the seeds of their wildest dreams and watch those seeds grow into reality."

"Maryland is full to the brim with opportunity – it was back then, it is now," she added. "And i know that with Wes Moore as your governor, Maryland's best days lie ahead."

During his inaugural address, Moore discussed the state’s past, noting that the capitol that was built by slaves and is situated “just blocks away from the Annapolis docks, where so many enslaved people arrived in this country against their will.”

“We have made uneven and unimaginable progress since then,” Moore said. “It is a history created by generations of people whose own history was lost, stolen, or never recorded. And it is a shared history – our history – made by people who, over the last two centuries, regardless of their origin story to Maryland, fought to build a state, and a country, that works for everybody.”

Moore also laid out a vision for the future in his address, expressing desires to protect the Chesapeake Bay from pollution, invest in education, attract top industries and address violent crime. Moore said he wants to set up data sharing among communities to “keep violent offenders off our streets,” offer a year of service option for high school graduates and “put Maryland on track to generate 100% clean energy by 2035.”

“I am asking you to believe that Maryland can be different. That Maryland can be bold. That Maryland can lead,” Moore said. “It is time for our policies to be as bold as our aspirations, and to confront the fact that we have been offered false choices. We do not have to choose between a competitive economy and an equitable one.”

Moore, a combat veteran and former nonprofit executive, defeated Republican challenger Dan Cox in the November election, securing nearly 65% of the vote. Moore succeeds Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who assumed office in January 2015, and served as governor for eight years.

Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller, a former Maryland delegate, was also sworn in Wednesday. Miller is making history as the first Asian American to serve as lieutenant governor of Maryland, and the first South Asian woman to serve as lieutenant governor nationwide.

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