Born in 1963, Martin O’Malley was raised in Bethesda and Rockville, Maryland. He attended a Jesuit high school and went on to study at a Catholic University of America. At a young age he is said to have developed a passions for history, Irish culture and music. While in college he got his first taste of politics when he signed on to the Gary Hart President Campaign. Looking back at his time working in the campaign, O’Malley reflected, “Hart turned me on to the fact that one person can make a difference.” Martin O’Malley went on to study law at the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, earning his J.D. in 1988. That same year he began dating his current wife, Catherine Curran, the daughter of the State’s Attorney General.
His first foray into public office was in 1990 when he ran for the Maryland State Senate. Despite leading by 5 votes the morning after election day, he was defeated by 44 votes after the absentee ballots were totaled. In 1991, O’Malley was elected to a seat on Baltimore City Council to represent the 3rd district. During his time as councilman O’Malley concentrated on housing and public safety issues and served as Chairman of the Legislative Investigations Committee and Chairman of the Taxation and Finance Committee. He was a strong advocate for reducing property taxes to encourage businesses to return to Baltimore.
In 1999 at the age of 36 he was elected Mayor of Baltimore after winning three-way Democratic primary with over 50% of the vote and then receiving 91% of the vote in the general election. His greatest achievement during his first tenure was most likely his adoption of the computerized tracking system, CitiStat. Modeled after the New York system called, Compstat, CitiStat is a high-tech, performance-based system that zeroes in on areas of underperformance, using computerized databases to track targets and results. In 2004, the CitiStat accountability tool won Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government award.
One of Mr. O’Malley’s main priorities as Mayor was to improve public safety. Between 2005 and 2006, Baltimore went from being ranked the sixth most dangerous city in the United States to the twelfth most dangerous city. In 2004, O’Malley was re-elected in the general election with 88% of the vote. In 2005, he was named one of America’s “Top 5 Big City Mayors” by TIME magazine and one of five “New Faces” in the Democratic Party by Business Week Magazine Online.
In 2006, O’Malley was nominated by the Democratic Party to challenge incumbent Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich. O’Malley went on to defeat the incumbent Governor by a 6.5% margin. In, 2010 Governor O’Malley won re-election by defeating Ehrlich by a 14% margin.
Since taking office O’Malley has adapted the CitiStat program he devised for Baltimore and applied it to the state of Maryland, calling the program StateStat. Recently Governor O’Malley has released bold plans to help close Maryland’s budget shortfall. This includes a plan to raise taxes on residents who earn six-figure salaries. In addition to this income tax increase he has proposed the applicationof the 6% Maryland sales tax to Gasoline, which would effectively raise the price of gasoline in Maryland about 7 cents per year for the next three years. The governor has also recently introduced legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland.