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Maryland Governor Wes Moore isn’t just sitting back this election season in hopes that Black voters will participate. Instead, the Alpha man is hitting the streets speaking to voters all over the country about why he believes that this election is crucial for preserving freedoms and creating a better society. 

Last week, Gov. Moore spoke with some Michigan students ahead of the state’s Primary election to talk about the issues facing Black Americans. During the virtual event, Moore, who is also a Biden-Harris National Advisory Board member, highlighted specific topics important to Black voters such as gun safety, climate change and reproductive health care.

Gov. Moore recently sat down with NewsOne for an exclusive interview where he provided insight into his perspective on these important issues. 

During the interview, he discussed the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to advance gun safety measures and reduce gun violence. 

Regarding climate change, Gov. Wes Moore emphasized the disproportionate effects on communities of color and highlighted what he called an aggressive approach taken by the Biden Administration to address environmental injustice.

“Baltimore City is the seventh hottest heat island in the entire country. That’s because of environmental injustice,” said Gov. Moore.

“The reason that we have to center our work on climate change and center our work on really focusing on environmental injustice is because it has such disproportionate impacts, particularly on black communities, communities of color and historically underserved communities.”

Wes Moore also discussed the importance of reproductive healthcare access, protecting privacy rights and passing legislation in partnership with the Biden administration to defend women’s healthcare rights.

“This attack is real,” said Moore while explaining how his Republican counterparts have handled reproductive healthcare. 

When asked about Donald Trump, the Governor didn’t hold his tongue, reminding voters about Trump’s past actions and hateful rhetoric.

“If he said it, he meant it,” said Moore.

Moore also touched on the conflict in Gaza and acknowledged that the issue was complex, but believes that President Biden is focused on finding peaceful solutions.

“This is challenging, and it is difficult,” said Moore. “And I know that for a lot of people in communities, they’re just hoping that people will listen to them; will understand their pain, will understand the complexity of this issue and be willing to act on it.”

Gov. Wes Moore launches his yearlong service program for young people on October 27 in College Park, MD.

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

Check out the full Q&A below.

NewsOne: Can you tell us ways the Biden-Harris administration has planned to advance gun safety measures, and what accomplishments can be highlighted in terms of reducing gun violence in communities across the United States?

Wes Moore: I think that this administration has been remarkable partners to us within our state to highlight the fact that the number one killer of young Black men in our communities is gun violence; that we have a very real challenge, and it’s something that oftentimes has been generational, oftentimes has been ignored, and we have not been able to address it with a real measure of seriousness, because up until this administration, there has not been a level of movement or momentum to be able to deal with common sense gun regulation that can make our community safer.

And so I look at what’s happened in our state, where we just launched a center for firearm violence and intervention. The first time in the history of the state of Maryland that we launched it. That’s focusing on things like getting illegal guns out of our communities and off of our streets. That happened in partnership with the Biden administration. It happened because the Biden administration pulled us all together and said to all the governors that you all should follow this lead and the momentum that’s being built around it.

Maryland ended up becoming the first state in the country that ended up doing that. And so in this administration, I see an administration that does understand that putting together common sense gun legislation and common sense gun laws, real accountability for repeat violent offenders, making sure that there are consequences to people who would make our communities less safe, making it that it should not be so easy for our young people and for anyone in our communities to get their hands on a firearm.

A topic that doesn’t get enough recognition or just eyes, in my opinion, is climate change. And I know climate change is a big deal to younger voters as well. Can you talk a little bit about some policy initiatives from the Biden administration centered around environmental justice?

These issues are impacting communities of color and impacting black communities harder than anybody else. I look in my state of Maryland, that Baltimore City, the children of Baltimore City have double the asthma rate of anybody else in the state. That Baltimore City is the seventh hottest heat island in the entire country. That’s because of environmental injustice.

I think we have to be able to move aggressively on this and this idea that the reason that we have to center our work on climate change and center our work on really focusing on environmental injustice is because it has such disproportionate impacts, particularly on black communities, communities of color, and historically underserved communities. And if you look at what the Biden administration has done by passing the IRA, the Inflation Reduction Act; that was the most aggressive piece of climate legislation in the history of this country.

When you’re looking at the ability to invest in everything from solar and wind technologies, making sure that we’re incentivizing offshore wind production, and by the way, making sure that it’s MBEs [Medicaid Budget and Expenditure Systems] and minority-owned businesses that are being incentivized to be the ones who own the companies. You can do this by both addressing the environment and also actually addressing economic injustice as well.

I’m really proud of the fact that this administration has been so thorough, so thoughtful and so aggressive in addressing the issue of climate change, not just because it sells politically, but because they understand the impact of climate change has been disproportionate.

In what ways has the administration worked to address disparities in reproductive health care access and outcomes, particularly among marginalized communities?

Yes, reproductive health care; it matters and it needs to be defended. And we have seen how this attack on basic reproductive care and basic women’s health care has continued to come under assault. We saw what happened with the repeal of Roe v. Wade, but we also saw that that was just the first shot across the bow. Just last week when you have judicial rulings in Alabama banning IVF [in vitro fertilization]. So, we see that the opponents to it are going to be aggressive and they’re going to be creative so that just means that we have to be aggressive and creative as well in terms of the protection of women’s basic rights. 

Right now in the state of Maryland, abortion rights and reproductive rights are actually going to be on the ballot to be able to place it in our constitution. So these are all things that are being done in partnership with the Biden administration, because this has been an administration that no matter how much pushback that we have received from extremists within the Republican Party, that we’ve been able to have an administration that’s really serving as a core partner to protect women’s rights and protect women’s health care, because the decisions that are being made, the very difficult decisions that are being made, we believe, and the administration believes that’s a decision that no judge nor any politician should have a say in.

What can the administration do to ease some of the concerns voters might have around the conflict in Gaza?

This is a difficult issue. And I think that anyone who thinks it is not or thinks it is simple; you don’t want to be naive about it. It’s complicated because we’re asking our hearts to be big enough to hold a few ideas in them, right? Our hearts can be big enough to say that what happened on October 7 is abhorrent. Not only was it a murderous spree that we saw on October 7, there are still hostages right now to this day, who still have not been reunited with their families. There are still people, there are still family members who still are wondering if their family members are alive or the type of treatment they’re receiving.

We also know that the group that perpetrated this, Hamas, is a group that has a long history of not just violence, but we know is not going to be a legitimate partner in the hope of a peaceful two-state solution, which is what we all should be going for. And our hearts are also big enough to know that the thousands of lives that have been lost, many of whom are women and children, that that is unacceptable as well.

You can’t just have belief in a two-state solution on one side. It means both sides must actually agree with that and be willing to fight for that. So this is challenging, and it is difficult. And I know that for a lot of people in communities, they’re just hoping that people will listen to them, will understand their pain, will understand the complexity of this issue and be willing to act on it. I think that for the frustration that people have; it’s not only understandable, it’s justified, and it’s something that a lot of us share. 

The level of focus on making sure that we can get this right, the focus on coming up with peace and zeroing in on humanity is something that I know the president believes in. And I know the president is pushing for and aiming for.

How does the current political landscape, including the actions and rhetoric of former President Donald Trump, influence the urgency and importance of this election?

The thing we’ve learned about the ex-president is if he said it, he meant it. This is not him just talking his policies back up, his rhetoric repeatedly. And so when he talks about things like Muslim bans, when he talks about things like how immigrants are just trying to rob from this country, when he calls entire people and he says they are murderers and rapists and some of them are good people, let’s remember that these were not just words. He then had policies that reinforced his rhetoric. If he said it, he meant it.

You cannot overstate what’s at stake in this election. In our president right now, we have someone who does see us, who’s willing to fight for us, who’s willing to understand the complexity of the world we live in and try to add a measure of clarity and support to it that this is a president who is going to fight for our freedoms.

And whether we’re talking about freedoms as in abortion rights or freedoms as in trying to make sure we have fair housing for people, or freedoms in terms of ensuring that we can have employment and work and wages and wealth for all of us, versus he’s running against somebody who is going to be spending the next seven months fighting for his own freedom, trying to keep himself out of prison.

We have to be really clear, not just what’s at stake in terms of what can happen if this does not go well, what’s going to happen to our families and our communities and our histories, but also the type of opportunity we have now to do something special. We can’t forget about this moment and this chance we have to actually do big things and create a better society for all of us. And so that’s why I am so all in for the president at this moment.


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