Kensington resident, state senator and vocal critic of the incumbent governor Richard Madaleno announced his candidacy for governor of Maryland on Monday.
Madaleno, if elected, would be the first openly gay governor in history of Maryland.
“I am running for governor, and I am going to win,” said Madaleno to applause at the Universities of Shady Grove.
Madaleno focused on his support for public education. Madaleno put a personal touch on his views on education. He said that as a child he had a speech impediment and that the teachers at Burnt Mills elementary taught him how to overcome it.
“We will achieve pre-k for every student in the state, and we will invest in our public colleges and universities, from our community colleges to Coppin State to College Park to make the dream of a college degree without debt a reality,” said Madaleno.
On health care, which he describes as a human right, Madaleno targeted the opioid crisis. According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, drug overdoses in the state increased by 65 percent from 2015 to 2016. This surge is due in large part to a 70 percent increase in opioid overdoses during the same time span.
“While there are economic, medical and social issues feeding this epidemic that we need to address, before and above all else, we must ensure that our fellow Marylanders in the grips of addiction get rehabilitative care and that their families and communities are supportive,” said Madaleno.
Madaleno represents the 18th District in Montgomery County. As a legislator, he said, he played a leading role in the passage of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which recognized same-sex marriage in the State of Maryland.
Earlier this year, Madaleno sponsored a successful bill to reimburse Planned Parenthood for its services if federal funding was cut.
Madaleno currently serves as the vice chairman of the state Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee. The committee reviews Maryland’s $43.5 billion budget.
“We need a governor who will fight tirelessly for the critical policies we need not just for the next two to four years but for the next 20 to 40 years,” said Madaleno.