Friday, January 5, 2007

CAMBRIDGE, Md. — Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley has taken a low profile since his election victory, saving the specifics of his agenda and instead talking about the importance of team work.

After giving a legislative preview Thursday on the Eastern Shore to a group of county officials, Mr. O’Malley said he is in no hurry to start ambitious plans for the General Assembly session that begins next week. Mr. O’Malley also said he is not even sure he’ll have a whole Cabinet named by his inauguration Jan. 17.

“I can’t ever remember regretting moving too slowly” on big decisions, said Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat who is mayor of Baltimore.

Mr. O’Malley said he has mostly been interviewing candidates for state jobs and performing other behind-the-scenes tasks.

“It’s not terribly flashy or headline-grabbing stuff,” he said. “But it’s the hard work of making government work.”

Mr. O’Malley also repeated his claim that he’ll be less combative with lawmakers than outgoing Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican.

“I don’t see this as some sort of pickup basketball game where one side always wins and one side always loses,” he said.

In his remarks to the roughly 350 county officials, Mr. O’Malley acknowledged Maryland faces a budget deficit in future years because state spending could outstrip tax revenues.

He also said jokingly that he would be more popular if he assured the officials that state dollars for local school construction and other projects would not be in danger.

The officials also were at the annual meeting to hear about the upcoming legislative session from House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat, and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Calvert and Prince George’s counties Democrat.

Mr. O’Malley said he would call for better use of tax dollars to clean the Chesapeake Bay and that state government may try to address global warming.

State officials, he said, should “square our shoulders to the challenge of energy independence.”

In his brief speech, Mr. O’Malley also joked about having a tough time moving from city to state government.

“I feel as if my feet are firmly planted in two stirrups,” he said. “Unfortunately, they’re both attached to different horses.”

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