On Feb. 1st, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore gave his State of the State Address to a packed house that featured members of the general assembly, state and local government leaders, and congressional delegates. With a full Democrat controlled House, Senate, and now governorship for the first time since 2014, Moore laid out his healthcare-related goals for Marylanders for the next four years.
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“It is time for our state to be bold, but that doesn’t mean we are being reckless,” Moore said.
Moore started out his speech by addressing what he saw on the campaign trail and what Marylanders were worried about, which included the economy, safety, affordable childcare, and navigating Maryland’s “maze” of behavioral health crisis and trauma.
“For almost three years, I have traveled our state, talking to Marylanders from every region, every race, every creed, in many of your districts, and I listened to what they had to say. Some of the voices we heard are here today, but all of the voices I heard ring in my heart, my head, and my memories,” Moore said.
He spoke about how Maryland’s government is lacking in its workforce, and how it has nearly 10,000 vacancies, with just under 6,100 vacancies in the executive branch. Due to the workforce shortage, Moore explained that the needs of his constituents are not being met. These needs include licensing, approvals, and getting Marylanders the healthcare they need.
“This isn’t about creating ‘big government,’ said Moore. This is about creating a better one.”
Moore said his budget makes the state government a more attractive place to work, with competitive wage increases to fill positions like registered nurses, attorneys, and emergency response technicians. He believes this budget line increase for Maryland’s workforce is important for both the public and private healthcare workforce..
“It’s why I am proud that my budget makes [the] state government a more attractive place to work, with competitive wage increases to fill positions like registered nurses, attorneys, and emergency response technicians,” Moore said.
Moore also noted how either higher education or real-world experience was key to supporting Maryland’s healthcare workforce, and said making these paths more accessible for Marylanders is a priority. Moore introduced Jefferson Vasquez-Reyes, a freshman at Montgomery College and a child of immigrants, whose family had to forgo their education due to war and homelessness in El Salvador.
Moore explained that when Vasquez-Reyes was 12 years old, he had to become his mother and grandmother’s patient advocate during hospital visits. This allowed Vasquez-Reyes to witness doctors who understood their family’s culture, said Moore, underscoring the importance of having culturally competent providers. He said Vasquez-Reyes is on a pathway to become a doctor thanks to state funding.
Moore finished up his speech by noting how people are stepping up to serve to accomplish “Marylanders’ collective goals.”
“In the last two weeks, 2,833 people have applied to join our administration. More than 1,589 Marylanders have raised their hand to join a board or commission,” said Moore. “Untold numbers are getting involved in their local governments, their civic organizations, and creating new ones we will soon know. People are signing up to serve, and I want them to keep signing up.”
Moore finished up his State of the State by saying he wants to reward, celebrate, and elevate a culture of service.