Former National President & CEO Secures Democratic Nomination, Proves Progressive Solutions On Education, Medicare-for-All, And Criminal Justice Resonate With Marylanders
Silver Spring, MD — TODAY, Tuesday, June 26, Ben Jealous, former National President & CEO of the NAACP, secured the Democratic nomination for governor with a decisive margin. Jealous’ victory follows more than a year of campaigning, in which he received nearly 40 endorsements from labor unions, progressive leaders and organizations. Jealous also raised nearly $3 million with 99.99% of contributions coming from individuals and more Maryland donors than any other campaign.
Jealous campaigned on a progressive platform, including detailed plans for Medicare For All, fully funding schools and criminal justice reform that would create savings to fund universal pre-k and tuition free college. In his remarks to supporters after polls closed, Jealous spoke of the “Promise of Maryland,” detailing his experience and vision to create more progress for Marylanders on the economy, healthcare and education than has been made under Larry Hogan. Jealous contrasts his vision for real solutions in real time with the incrementalist approach of Hogan, which has left Maryland lagging its neighbors in wage and economic growth, rising healthcare premiums and underfunded schools that have fallen from first place to sixth in the nation.
Jealous’ remarks, as prepared for delivery, below:
»Thank you Maryland. I am proud to stand before you as your Democratic nominee for Governor.
I am the son of two teachers who were civil rights workers here in Maryland. One a black woman who grew up in West Baltimore’s McCulloh Homes housing projects and who traces her roots to slaves turned statesmen in Virginia. The other a white man whose family from New England fought and bled in the Revolutionary War. My parents left Maryland in 1966 because their interracial marriage was illegal.
We have come a long way since those days, and a long way in this campaign.
Today we have come together, from all corners of Maryland, to send a message to the Republican Administration in Annapolis – that their time in power is coming to an end.
Voters in Maryland now face a clear choice. Larry Hogan’s “go along to get along” politics and his policies on almost every issue stand in direct contrast to my vision for Maryland.
Tonight I want to talk to you about the Promise of Maryland.
The story of my parents is the Promise of Maryland. A multicultural and interracial state that is determined to move forward, and refuses to go back to a time where we turned people against each other because of what they look like, who they love, or what name they call God, if any at all. I am a living testament to that progress.
We won this primary because we talked with people about how to achieve the Promise of Maryland. We have detailed proposals:
on fully funding education and creating tuition free public college;
on building an economy that works for everyone and revitalizing our great cities;
on Medicare for all;
on ending mass incarceration and the opioid crisis;
on stopping the unnecessary terrorizing of immigrant families
· and moving as quickly as possible to create a clean energy economy.
These plans and my track record of getting big things done in Maryland are the reason we were endorsed by teachers and nurses, and more unions and progressive organizations than any other campaign.
Now I know people will look at the results today and try to discern the meaning of our victory. Well let me tell you now what I have been telling voters for months.
I am not running to the left. I am not running to the right. I am running towards the people of our state. Healthcare, education, ending mass incarceration, ending the student debt crisis, and protecting the environment are people issues. And unlike Larry Hogan, I have the vision, the plans, the experience, and the courage to risk my own political standing for progress.
Voters will have a choice between an economic vision which does too little for too many while the future slips away, or my vision to build a clean-green economy that works for everyone. We can lead the nation in building an alternative energy future.
I know there is skepticism that Larry Hogan can be beaten. Well, we’ve got a message for those who think this race is already over. Larry Hogan is going to lose in November because he is not ready to run against someone who knows how to build a true people-powered grassroots campaign.
The reason the Baltimore Sun in 2013 named me “Marylander of the Year” when I was President of the NAACP was because of the leadership I demonstrated in three campaigns of consequence:
In the movement to end the death penalty in our state – which we won;
In the movement to pass the Dream Act in our state – which we won;
And in the movement to achieve marriage equality in our state – which we won.
We won each of those campaigns because we refused to accept incrementalism. Instead we created unprecedented grassroots coalitions to win every fight.
It is time to lift our gaze and see how much we can achieve if we begin to pursue the Promise of Maryland.
The Promise of Maryland means our public schools will be first in the nation again, as they were before Larry Hogan took office. We will fulfill Annapolis’s broken promise and insure that the casino money actually increases education funding.
The Promise of Maryland means that we will grow jobs and wages as fast or faster than our neighbors and the nation. We need leadership in the governor’s office that understands we are falling behind in the growth of jobs, wages and the race to the future. We can’t settle for old ideas and empty platitudes at a time when so many people are struggling.
And the Promise of Maryland means that healthcare in this state will not be a privilege but a right for every person. As Governor I will not rest until we pass Medicare for all.
We need strong leadership in these troubled times.
It is not enough for Larry Hogan to symbolically oppose Donald Trump.
Standing up to Donald Trump means standing up not just to his outrageous words and actions, but standing up to his outrageous policies and the agents who implement them.
You are aiding and abetting Donald Trump if you invite his Education Secretary Betsey DeVos into our state – while expanding vouchers and not fully funding our public schools.
You are aiding and abetting Trump if you are silent when he appoints Scott Pruitt, who threatened to destroy the Chesapeake Bay Plan before he was even confirmed as Administrator of the EPA.
And you are aiding and abetting Trump when you stand shoulder to shoulder with his Attorney General Jeff Sessions on his call to return to the war on drugs, on mandatory minimum sentences, and allowing him to send ICE agents here to tear immigrant parents away from their children.
We need a governor who knows how to lead, not someone who thinks that the test of leadership is a popularity contest.
Some will question whether I have the experience to lead as Governor since I am not a career politician. Well, I’ve managed organizations or been a CEO or partner in a business since I was 26 years old. I think experience is a great thing, but experience doesn’t mean a lot if you can’t bring people together to get big things done. I know how to lead, and more importantly I know where to lead. We can’t settle for Larry Hogan’s low expectations anymore. It’s time for us to realize the Promise of Maryland.
I have been tested in my capacity for leadership. I became the youngest President and CEO in the history of the NAACP and led it to greatness during the depths of the recession. I guided it into an era of unprecedented growth. We mobilized 1.2 million voters to help reelect President Obama, and we were called the unsung hero of that campaign.
And when I was a young organizer working in Mississippi, a governor there tried to shut down a public historically Black college and to turn it into a prison. I stood up to Governor Fordice and we won by confronting him and his policies the same way we must confront Trump – by opposing him in the public square, not in the shadows.
Our goal is to not just win an election but to build a movement, which will allow us to lead into law the new agenda that this state so desperately needs.
And to achieve that kind of victory, I could have no better partner than my running mate Susie Turnbull. As Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, Susie spearheaded an unprecedented organizing effort to elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2010. While the Democratic vote and turnout went down throughout the East Coast in that Tea Party wave election, Democratic turnout went up in Maryland. Susie knows not just how to ride a wave, but how to build a wave election, and that is what we will do together.
One of the greatest experiences in this campaign for me has been listening to people. As I travel the state, I have listened to young people. I was back in the housing project in West Baltimore where my mom spent half her childhood. And I asked a little boy about the same age as she was when she left – seven or eight years old – what do you want the next governor to know? And he looked at me plainly and he said “I’ve seen too many dead men”.
I was on the Eastern Shore, sitting with a 13-year-old girl in an upper middle-class family’s backyard – 100 people were there – and she walks up, long ponytail, she’s holding a tennis racket. I said what do you want the next governor to know? She said, “In the last 12 months I’ve buried three kids I went to school with to the opioid epidemic.”
I’ve sat with families of immigrants – hard-working people – in our state. What do you want the next governor to know? “My children wake up at 2 o’clock every morning in a cold sweat, to check to see if I’m still here.”
I’ve sat with workers, and said what do you want the next governor to know? “I work three jobs because I decided it’s more important to feed my children and to keep a roof over their head than it is for me to be home with them every evening.”
This campaign is about seizing the moment to build a movement to make sure that everyone moves forward, no matter what happens in Donald Trump’s Washington.
Before we close, I want to recognize the Democratic candidates who ran with me:
Rushern Baker – for his lifelong commitment to public service and his leadership, and his inspiring love and devotion to his wife Christa;
Rich Madaleno for being a pioneer in the quest for equality;
Valerie Irving for her commitment and service to working people;
Alec Ross for his insight into the new economy;
Jim Shea for his dedication to our community;
Krish Vignarajah for showing everyone the achievement that a woman who came here as a little girl and a refugee from Sri Lanki can attain in an America that welcomes immigrant children, instead of putting them in cages.
And I want to recognize one more candidate who is not with us tonight. Kevin Kamenetz was a devoted husband, father and leader. His commitment to the people of Baltimore County was great. Our prayers continue to be with his wife Jill and their two sons. We miss his wit and wisdom and we will never forget him.
I also want to say thank you to all those who have contributed so much to this movement. First, thanks to our campaign staff – to Travis, Megan, Kevin, Rich, Erica, Sydney, Tara, April, Bryan, Julia, Lisa, Keanu, Kaitlyn, Damon, Tristan, Jerusalem and Manjiri for working tirelessly to achieve this victory. Thanks to those who have helped us raise the campaign funds from more individual contributors than any other campaign. Thanks to the enthusiastic volunteers who gave their time and effort to our cause and who are the key to our victory in November. And thanks to the dozens of organizations and individual leaders who together forged a winning team in this campaign.
I want to thank my parents Fred and Ann Jealous, for everything they have done for me and for how they have inspired me in life. Thanks to my partners and the team at Kapor Capital for their help. And the most special thanks goes to my two great kids, Morgan and Jack, who I love more than anything in the world. Thank you to all of you. I ask for your help. The victory we achieve in this general election will be the beginning of a MOVEMENT to realize the Promise of Maryland.
Abraham Lincoln told us a century and a half ago that “The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it.” And that is our challenge today.
We can together create a future where we pursue the Promise of Maryland.
The promise that our kids will again receive the best public school education not just in America but in the world;
The promise that we will be a beacon of freedom and tolerance to the nation and the world;
The promise that we will pull together as a community to insure that every child is cared for, every senior is protected, every woman is respected and every person is given the opportunity and freedom to achieve their God given potential.
The promise that healthcare will be a right for all and not a privilege.
And the promise made by RFK, MLK, Juanita Mitchell, and Barbara Mikulski a long time ago, that we will finally bring an end to poverty in this, the richest state in the richest country on Earth.
That is the future I can confidently predict we will create, beginning November 6th, when the Promise of Maryland becomes our aim and our ambition.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the free state of Maryland.
Susan Turnbull’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, below:
I’m Susie Turnbull and it is official – Ben and I are your ticket for Governor and Lt. Governor.
I am so honored to be standing here right now and to accept our Democratic Party’s nomination. It has been a spirited race and it is now time for all of us to come together and unite as one Democratic Party and one Maryland.
This is an unlikely place for me tonight because for over forty years I was often standing behind the stage and through all those years my husband Bruce has been standing at my side. I am a lucky woman and have been blessed with an amazing family — our sons and their wives and now three amazing grandchildren and my entire extended family of relatives and friends have been my safe place and last fall encouraged me to take this leap … Thank you all.
I want to share a story with you which really goes to why I said Yes to Ben to be his running mate. Like most of us my husband and I have aspired to have the best for our children and grandchildren and when we think about that, we focus on education because that is the gateway to everything else. Last summer my husband and I sat in a park with our family and we ran into what other families run into – thinking about how our children will fund future college education. Most people won’t have the opportunity that this daughter of an immigrant cab driver and a store clerk had for affordable higher education. That has to be fixed.
Fast forward three weeks – the first time I sat down with Ben Jealous. It was like he had been there in that park with us. When he talked about his plan for college affordability – he had me at hello – as a new friend and as a supporter. From that moment on he had my vote.
He connected with me on a deep level. It was the first of many times that I have witnessed how Ben interacts with people and how he listens and takes time to hear people’s concerns and to offer help and advice.
He has empathy and compassion.
He inspires people not only by his words but by his actions. Ben Jealous is going to be a remarkable Governor and he will bring our State together to do big things again.
For us this race hasn’t been about “winning a nomination,” this race is about having the opportunity to serve the people of Maryland and to help make the changes in policy that will enrich people’s lives.
This is not just about my children or grandchildren this is about all our children and Ben is the person who “gets that”. He will fight against inequity and discrimination whenever it rears its ugly head.
At a time when right wing extremists control every branch of our federal government, we need a governor with the courage and experience to ensure that Maryland moves forward no matter what happens in Donald Trump’s Washington.
We need a Democratic Governor.
We need Ben Jealous as our Governor.
And to people who think Larry Hogan’s so-called popularity will help him in November, Ben and I know that being “popular” doesn’t mean anything if you lack the courage to use that popularity to make people’s lives better.
He hasn’t made people’s lives better.
• Our schools have gone from #1 to #6 under Larry Hogan. His “Popularity” hasn’t changed that.
Ben and I will make the changes needed to educate our kids.
• Health Care Premiums have risen by double digits each year Hogan’s been in office, while the opioid epidemic has only gotten worse. Hogan’s “Popularity” hasn’t fixed that.
Ben and I will move Maryland towards a health care system that works for all.
And we all know Hogan’s not used his popularity to stand up to Donald Trump in a way to move Maryland forward and protect our values.
Ben and I are ready for this challenge. We know how to turnout voters and win, but most importantly, we know how to organize and build coalitions that ensure that the government works for everyday people.
It is what we are about.
This election is about our State’s value and priorities.
Let’s stop and think about this for a moment. We have the opportunity to change the trajectory of our state. Instead of a slow consistent decline in one area after another, lowered expectations and accepting this as the new norm.
Instead we can seize this moment create history so that Maryland can be all that it can be and ought to be.
And with your help that is exactly what is going to happen.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Ben Jealous on this topic contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Paid for by Friends of Ben Jealous, Jason Small, Treasurer