By Doni Glover, Publisher
(BALTIMORE – November 13, 2022) – How will Wes fare? Already, the mainstream press is questioning his ability to govern 40,000 state employees and the political machinations of Annapolis. The Sun noted his lack of political experience – “aside from a few internships and a yearlong fellowship in Washington, D.C.”
Is running a government different from running a huge nonprofit? Yep! Different from serving as a Captain over 190 or so soldiers in a war zone with real bullets flying? Sure is.
No, Wes didn’t take the standard route to politics. No, he did not. He did not start off running for State Central Committee, and then Delegate to state Senator and then for Governor. No, sir. No, mam.
He instead accepted a White House Fellowship under then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The Secretary of State, for the record, is the chief adviser to the President on foreign affairs. (I don’t know about you, but I’d take the White House gig over State Central Committee any day of the week.)
And while some were winning their race for House of Delegates, Wes was an investment banker putting his Oxford education to use on Wall Street, publishing 5 books, making connections with people like Oprah, and sharpening his negotiation skills.
The Late Congressman Elijah Cummings often spoke about the first time Barack Obama told him he was running for President. Cummings replied “President of what?”
The presumption was certainly that Obama was not talking about becoming the President of these United States. But, he was. And he did. And Cummings supported him.
Wes Moore, no doubt, ran across a lot of doubters, too. Early on, I was one of them. And then, the light came on. People I highly respect insisted that I listen. So, I did. I listened to his heart, and I found it to be good. I listened to his sincerity, and it was real. Then I watched who he had around him. And frankly, it was a peculiar group – something no one had ever seen.
I imagine that people on the outside do not realize that Wes Moore has been planning his ascension for the past decade. This was not by happenstance. This was not a whim. This was a well-thought-out plan conceived by Wes with Dawn’s (his wife) blessing and endorsed by the likes of Professor Larry Gibson, the campaign manager for Kurt Schmoke, Baltimore’s first elected Black mayor.
I personally think it is safe to say that Moore took Larry Hogan’s exact same situation and made it work for him, too. So, for Pete’s sake, let Wes and Dawn enjoy Thanksgiving before we start hitting him on who will run education. He hasn’t even been sworn in yet.
Surely, someone like Briana Ross, Maryland’s 2021 Teacher of the Year, is the caliber of person Moore is considering to run the state’s Department of Education, for instance. Maybe Wes could lure one of our heavy hitters from the business community, like Joe Gaskins in Prince George’s County, to help get the state much closer to the 29% MBE participation goal in contracts for the 70 state agencies. Ruth Ann Norton is a person who is also necessary right now. Her advocacy for the health and safety of Marylanders over the years is unparalleled. I am unequivocally a fan of her efforts to reduce lead poisoning of children in Baltimore City.
There are countless individuals who may finally get their chance to show up and show out for Maryland. The pandemic on top of a recession has made life quite difficult for many Marylanders, so we have a lot of work to do. While there are certainly those doing better than ever in our great state, there is also poverty. It is urban and it is rural. Not everyone is looking forward to the holidays. Truth is, some people struggle just to make it through the day. Medications can be costly. Many still don’t have health care.
Wes has more than a lot to focus on, but I think we should let the man breathe for a second. There will be plenty of time to look at his moves.
Other transition teams are already in place. Moore’s was recently announced. Right now, people are jockeying to get close to him. I imagine he is taking his time. Soon, in classic Moore-esque fashion, he’ll come on the TV, give us that million-dollar smile as he pans the audience, do that signature head move, and then tell us how he plans to lead.
You know, it wasn’t that long ago that some people were like “no way”. The rapper Mike Jones comes to mind. “Back then, they didn’t want me. Now I’m hot, they’re all on me.”
Stay humble, Wes! Continue to run your race. You made me proud when you outraised the field. That, for me, said everything. Money is the lifeline of politics. You stared that monster in the eye and growled back louder. They said you couldn’t get Prince George’s County because Baker had the Council tied up. You and Dawn organized even better and landed the most powerful endorsement of County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. They said Franchot had a “Black Agenda” and had the support of some homerun hitters in the wealthiest Black jurisdiction in Maryland, and you outmanned their campaign at every turn – including the churches with the likes of Jerome Stephens, a loyal Moore supporter. They said Perez was coming up on the outside in the final lap with certain unions in tow, and you responded with even more volunteers, including some great-grandmothers on the phone bank telling all their family and friends to support the first Black governor.
Manny Price, a politico out of East Baltimore, reminded me today that Wes embodies everything that is great about Maryland, including the fact that so many white people put race aside and voted for the better man. So many people put down their thoughts of race because Dan Cox is not what we are about. We do not tell women what to do with their bodies. We do not support traitorous behavior. We respect people’s rights. We don’t mandate a mantra of exclusivity for the privileged few, but one of inclusivity for all Marylanders. Manny reminded me that we all should have a newfound hope in what can happen next. For the first time ever, we see change right in front of us. Obama was one thing. Now, the Obama-esque baton has been passed.
I love Maryland. Go, Wes and Dawn!