An interview with Martin O’Malley
April 7, 2017
Last week, The Courier had the opportunity to interview Martin O’Malley, who rose onto the national stage in 2016 during his run for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Previously, O’Malley served as Mayor of Baltimore and the Governor of Maryland.
Jacob Marx: What should students of Monmouth College know about you?
Martin O’Malley: I was born and raised in the great state of Maryland. My parents used to tell us that the only thing wrong with politics is that not enough good people try. So I first came out to Iowa for Gary Hart, who rose that year as the voice of a new generation and very nearly won his party’s nomination to challenge Reagan in 1984. So that opened politics to me. I came home and finished up law school and worked as a special prosecutor for a few years before running for office myself. I served two terms on the Baltimore City Council and when no one else was running for Mayor who could do what needed to be done, I decided to run. That year, Baltimore had become the most violent and abandoned city in America and I said to people vote for me and together we will save lives because in our city there is no such thing as a spare American. So we did a lot more on drug treatment and better and more effective policing, just out of the survival imperative we brought people into the information age. Then I ran for governor of Maryland in 2006 and was a two term governor. We made our state the number one state for public education and held the line and didn’t allow a single pennies increase in college tuition during the recession while also driving violent crime down to 30 year lows. I ran for President and had a very thoughtful campaign in an election year that wasn’t very thoughtful. After, I campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 19 states. Since the election, I have been speaking and helping the Democratic Party rebuild at the state level. I firmly believe we need to win back our state legislatures and state governor mansions if we are going to be the majority governing party.
JM: What is your take on your time in Iowa in 2016?
MO: Recently, there was a poll in Iowa that showed me at 18% for potential candidates for next time, so I think that it is evidence, alongside name recognition, that many people gave us a very serious look but the national press never gave it to us. It was very difficult for me to get oxygen, but the people in Iowa treated me fairly.
JM: What has been your favorite memory from working Iowa?
MO: Well, there are many. The thing I liked the most was meeting and being with people. Some of the stories made it into the very little time that they allotted me at the debates. One of them came from a woman whose son survived two tours of duty in Iraq in the Army in Burlington, IA who told me “I know you will be on the debate stage and the conflicts in Iraq and Syria will come up, but would you please tell your fellow candidates not to refer to our troops there as boots on the ground. My son is more than a pair of boots on the ground. He is my son and he is an American soldier.” Stories like that and the others in Iowa were some of the best parts of the campaign. I felt honored to be able to deliver that message on the debate stage. I was also able to meet some of the people whose kids were the victims of gun violence in our country and having them see my candidacy as a vehicle for bringing about more positive policy change while also creating memories and friendships I will always have. Lonnie and Sandy Phillips lost their daughter in the Aurora shooting transformed their grief and became very active on the campaign trail so we were able to raise that issue as well.
JM: Are you going to run in 2020?
MO: I just might. I continue to believe that this is a very vulnerable spot as a nation, but there are better days ahead. We will see what the future holds.