“I am running for Governor of Maryland because I believe that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not – and that must change, with new and innovative ideas.”
That’s the opening quote from an announcement by Baltimore tech entrepreneur and author Alec Ross, who on Wednesday became the first Maryland Democrat to formally enter the race against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan next fall.
Ross is currently a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University. He wrote the 2016 New York Times bestseller “Industries of the Future” and works as an adviser for startups in Baltimore and elsewhere.
He made his announcement with a video touting his upbringing in West Virginia coal country and experience teaching at Booker T. Washington Middle School in Upton decades ago. He later rose to prominence as the founder and leader of innovation nonprofit One Economy, which springboarded him to positions as a tech adviser for President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and fellowships at Columbia University and Hopkins.
In his announcement, Ross outlines his platform of using innovation to improve schools and create jobs for Marylanders of all education levels. He says he’s familiar with challenges faced by everyday people from his time as a teacher and his wife’s ongoing tenure as an educator in Baltimore City Public Schools.
“Our schools need a new champion – not a governor who brought Betsy DeVos and her anti-public school right into a Maryland classroom to promote their misguided ideas,” he says in the video.
He also presses Hogan on being loosely affiliated with our controversial president by party, saying the governor is “allowing Donald Trump to bring his agenda to Maryland, and just hopes nobody will notice.” Specifically, he hits Hogan on not speaking out against Trump’s proposed eradication of the federal budget for Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts, money Ross suggests will instead be “used to pay for Trump’s wall.”
Here’s the announcement promo in full:
Ross is the first Democrat to formally enter what could be a crowded primary field. Per The Washington Post, other names in the fray include, in part, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, ex-Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, former NAACP executive director Ben Jealous, Montgomery County state Sen. Richard Madaleno and Baltimore’s own Del. Maggie McIntosh.
Hogan has said he plans to run for reelection. At this point, Ross or whoever else faces off against him will need plentiful resources to steal his votes away. Recent polls from Morning Consult and Goucher College give him 73 percent and 63 percent approval marks among Maryland voters, respectively.