Still more to do. Yessir. More to do

DAN RODRICKS

January 12, 1993|By DAN RODRICKS

The State of the State . . .

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Lieutenant Governor Steinman, I mean, Steinhorn, I mean, you know, the guy sittin' over there. . . . Honorable delegates, senators, honored judges, and everybody else . . .

Here we are, the 1993 General Assembly.

If they told me, a few months ago, I'd still be standing before you, I'd have have told them they were nuts.

Tough times. Hard days. No money to do anything. Boring session coming up.

You know, when we first came here, Annapolis, six years ago -- when I think back on that, that was a good time. Hopeful time. Put me in a box. Box said: Baltimore's Gift to Maryland. Put the box on the boat. Boat sailed to Annapolis. Lots of fun. New drapes. Budget surplus. Fish sticks for lunch. Good days.

New stadium. They knocked it. Negative. All negative. But we did it. And light rail -- another success.

(Wait for applause)

We've been through a lot since then. Tough times. Budget. Deficit. No money. No one saw it coming. I've taken punches.

(Optional blast at press here)

Man writes me from Westminster. Says: "Why so much gambling in the state?" The answer is: I can't think of anything else.

Still a good state. Good state. Hopeful. Lot happening.

Openin' up off-track betting parlors.

Openin' up smelly ole coffins in St. Mary's County.

Puttin' out the stump dump fire in Baltimore County.

Keno. I've taken my hits on keno. All you out there who criticize me -- and that's OK, I live with it -- you watch this thing, see how it does. That's all I ask. (Optional add: "Even though I know you're all going to ignore me.")

Personally, I like keno. I play. Won a little money. It's a people game. That's what we're about -- people.

(Insert Reaganesque "People" Anecdote)

What do we do this year?

Hold the line. Pull up our belts. Tie our shoes.

Can't add to the big convention center up in Baltimore with Baltimore not doing its part. The mayor, that young fella up there -- what's his name? -- he's gotta understand that.

We gotta balance the budget. Gotta serve people. I gotta do everything possible to humiliate the people who've burned me over the years.

Lame duck? Sure. So the time remaining should be quality time. Clean up the bay. Do something for old people. Do something for our children. Make Steinman look bad. Give it to you guys the way you've given it to me. Really stick it to ya!

(Regain composure here)

Got some bills I'd like you to consider. (Optional add: "Even though I know you'll kill 'em all anyway.")

We need non-nose-blowing sections in restaurants. If any of you have ever been to McDonald's and sat near someone who blew their nose while you were eating your Quarter-Pounder, then you'll support me. And I think we should put keno in every McDonald's, too.

We've got other ideas, but not many.

Put keno in libraries. Put keno at toll plazas. Put keno in hospitals. Put keno in gas stations. Put keno in state prisons. And, of course, we'd like to put keno at the airport.

Casino gambling, riverboat gambling -- these are all revenue-enhancing ideas and I wish you'd give your kind consideration. (Optional add: "Even though most of you will kill these ideas just to make me look bad.")

People ask: How do you take the pressure? How do you take all the knocks?

Well, I'm still the guy who came from a little house out in West Baltimore. I'm still the guy who grows geraniums. Still the guy who likes to go down to Ocean City and fish for flounder. Who likes Hulkamania. Who likes to go to the museums and see the exhibits and talk to the school children. You know, I'm still the guy who goes out to pick apples in Western Maryland. Still the guy who likes to shop and wrestle with the women when there's a sale going on. Still the guy who answers all his mail as nicely as he can. Still the guy who has a short fuse. Still the people guy. Still governor. For two more years.

(Optional close: Announcement of keno machine installation in State House.)

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