Governor Strolls Main Street North East After Hearing About Local Issues from Commissioner Lockhart & Mayor Bunnell at Cabinet Meeting

From the Office of Governor Martin O’Malley

NORTH EAST, MD (August 27, 2009) – Today, Governor Martin O’Malley, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Maryland’s Executive Cabinet joined Cecil County Commission President Brian Lockhart, Delegate David Rudolph, other local officials in Cecil County, declaring it Maryland’s “Capital for a Day.” The monthly program brings the State Capital to every corner of Maryland through a series of events across a diverse selection of Maryland cities, towns and communities.

“I want to thank the people of Cecil County for their hospitality today. I’m proud to bring members of our Cabinet to this beautiful corner of our State, and officially proclaim it Maryland’s ‘Capital for a Day,’” said Governor O’Malley, making his announcement during a Cabinet Meeting held at Fairwinds Farm in North East. “It’s important for families across Maryland to know that their government is working for them – putting families first and fighting to expand the safety net for working families during these difficult economic times. Strengthening our local partnerships is absolutely critical to the progress of areas like Cecil County.”

“Now more than ever, it is important that we protect the partnerships that have made progress during difficult times possible. Over the last three years, we have made difficult decisions but because of our partnerships with local and municipal leaders in Cecil County and across the state, we are confident that we will get through these tough times more quickly than other states,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “I thank the people of Cecil County for inviting their state government into their community and look forward to continuing our shared efforts to protect, preserve and improve Maryland’s quality of life.”

Even in difficult economic times, development and progress continues in many parts of Cecil County built on the foundation of a strong partnership with the State. The County has received more than $110 million in FY2010 for K-12 education, representing a 15 percent increase since FY2007, and more than $13.7 million for school construction over the last three years. These investments are paying off. In 2008, every grade in both reading and math outperformed their previous three years scores on the Maryland School Assessments.

“Capital for a day provides a tremendous opportunity for Cecil County officials to connect with the Governor and his Cabinet face to face on issues critical to the county and towns, “ said Brian Lockhart, President of the Cecil County Commissioners. “It allows the governor and cabinet to see first hand the opportunities and challenges we face.”

“It is our honor to have Governor O’Malley and his cabinet visit and declare Cecil County Maryland’s Capital for a Day,” said Delegate David Rudolph. “I believe that by visiting our county that all of the state officials, including the governor, will learn a great deal about our county, our great history, out citizens, our needs, and our desire to work in partnership with the State to address those needs.”

Governor O’Malley began the day with an official Cabinet Meeting at Fairwinds Farm in North East, a signature event at all “Capital for a Day” events throughout Maryland. The Cabinet Meeting also included person testimony from Commissioner Lockhart, Mayor John Bunnell of Cecilton, and Delegate David Rudolph on specific local issues and challenges.

Later, Governor O’Malley joined Lieutenant Governor Brown and several Cabinet Members for a visit to the Cecil County School of Technology. There, Governor O’Malley met with students and took questions about future career opportunities. Joined by Superintendent Shaffer and Principal Erbe, the Governor are from the school buffet and heard from faculty, staff, and students about the curriculum offered at the school and the types of careers the students are preparing for. The School offers unique programs such as Carpentry, Electrical Trades, Natural Resources, and Welding & Metals Technologies, which is recognized as the best program of its kind in the State.

Governor O’Malley then walked Main Street with local economic development officials, meeting with local merchants and shop owners along the way. The Governor stopped in shops including Herb’s Tackle Shop, 5 & 10 Antiques, Saffron Creek, Serendipity and others. The tour, which began at Town Hall, ended at Highborne Café on Main Street, where he and members of the Cabinet met with local small business owners for a small business “check-in.” The ground discussed challenges to small businesses in the current economic climate, and services the State can provide to struggling businesses.

The O’Malley-Brown Administration has made progress for Maryland’s small businesses, even in difficult economic times. Last year, Governor O’Malley launched a highly successful program to partner with State agencies, health insurers and small businesses so that more families working in our tremendous small business community can gain access to premium health insurance benefits. In addition, the O’Malley-Brown Administration is committed to Maryland’s women and minority-owned businesses, increasing State awards to MBE firms by more than $300 million since taking office.

“Capital for a Day,” a program launched by Governor O’Malley in 2007, brings the State Capital to every corner of Maryland through a series of monthly events across a diverse selection of Maryland cities, towns and communities. Previous “Capitals” have included Calvert County, Westminster, Hagerstown, Chestertown, Leonardtown, the Port Towns of Prince George’s County, Cumberland, Pocomoke City, Gaithersburg and Ellicott City.

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