Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Parris N. Glendening
MSA SC 3520-11536
Governor of Maryland, 1995-2003

Growing up poverty-stricken in Florida, in a house without electricity or indoor plumbing, Parris Glendening could scarcely imagine that years later he would find himself in the State
House in Annapolis. Yet, driven by the values of education, hard work, personal responsibility, and a commitment to public service, Parris N. Glendening overcame humble beginnings to
become the 59th Governor of the State of Maryland.

Early in life, Governor Glendening recognized that education was the door to unlimited opportunities. A scholarship to Broward Community College started him on his academic career.
Other financial aid later enabled him to attend Florida State University, where he received a bachelor's degree (1964), a master's degree (1965), and a Ph.D. (1967), becoming the youngest
student in FSU history to receive a doctorate in political science and urban administration. Upon graduation, he began a career as a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he taught Government and Politics for 27 years. In 1984, he co-authored Pragmatic Federalism, An Intergovernmental View of American Government, a textbook used in over 400 colleges and universities.

The Governor's public service began in 1973 as a City Councilman in Hyattsville. He was elected to the Prince George's County Council in 1974 and twice served as Council Chair. In 1982, he was elected County Executive of Prince George's County, and is the only County Executive in Maryland history to serve three terms (1982-1994). Under Glendening's leadership, Prince George's County was selected as an All America County by the National Civic League, and City and State magazine named him the "Most Valuable County Official" in the nation. In 1994, he was elected to his first term as Governor. In 1998, Governor Glendening overwhelmingly won re-election to a second term.

In his second term, Governor Glendening's wife Jennifer Crawford gave birth to a baby girl on August 18, 2002, the first time since 1879 that a Maryland governor had a baby born during
his term of office. Governor Glendening also has a son from his previous marriage.

Governor's Commitment to Education

Building on his life experiences and recognizing that access to a quality education makes success possible for everyone, Governor Glendening made education his top priority and increased funding for education at every level during his tenure. In his first term, the Governor increased aid to primary and secondary education by more than $600 million. In addition, funds to build and modernize classrooms more than doubled. In his second term, the Governor vowed to take Maryland into the Golden Age of School Construction with a commitment to invest more than $1.6 billion to build and modernize classrooms over the next four years. A total of 13,500 classrooms will be added, renovated, or modernized during his time in office. To improve both the quality of and access to higher education in Maryland, Governor Glendening unveiled a four-year, $635 million plan to help Maryland's colleges and universities move toward excellence. Most recently, he worked with the General Assembly to pass the Maryland HOPE Scholarship Program, guaranteeing access to college for all Maryland high school students who work hard, get good grades, and agree to work in Maryland upon graduation. The Governor's commitment to education was recognized by the Maryland State Teachers Association, which presented him with the Friend of Education Award in 1997, and by Johns Hopkins University, which awarded him the President's Medal in 2001.

Governor's Commitment to the Environment

Governor Glendening's second great passion is protecting, preserving, and restoring our environment for future generations to enjoy. With his Smart Growth-Anti Sprawl initiative, the Governor has positioned Maryland as a national leader in the fight to preserve existing open space, protect natural resources, reinvigorate established communities, and stem the tide of suburban sprawl. The World Wildlife Fund praised Governor Glendening's Smart Growth program as a "Gift to the Earth." The Governor is committed to continuing Maryland's progress in this area by working in partnership with local government to revise building codes to encourage growth and investment in existing neighborhoods. Governor Glendening has taken his passion for the environment to the national level, serving on the National Governors' Association Natural Resources Committee. In November 2001, Governor Glendening received the Truitt Environmental Award from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science for his commitment to restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay. In June 2002, the Congress for New Urbanism honored Governor Glendening with its Charter Award for his Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation initiative.

Governor's Commitment to Public Safety

Working with Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Governor Glendening has focused on making Maryland neighborhoods and communities safe and secure. With innovative programs such as community policing and HotSpots, and one of the strongest anti-gun violence measures in the nation, the crime rate in Maryland is decreasing nearly twice as fast as the national average. After successfully defeating the powerful gun lobby, Handgun Control, Inc. recognized the Governor for his work supporting the Maryland Gun Violence Act of 1996. Sarah and James Brady were on hand to make the presentation. The Governor intends to further secure the safety of Maryland's families and children by spearheading an effort to require every handgun sold in Maryland to have features making it childproof.

Governor's Commitment to Job Creation

Governor Glendening has worked tirelessly to keep casino gambling out of Maryland. He recognizes that a strong economy is what creates good-paying, family-supporting jobs for Marylanders. During his tenure, Governor Glendening worked aggressively with the Maryland General Assembly to reduce or eliminate 15 separate taxes, including the first reduction in Maryland's personal income tax rate in 30 years. As a result, Maryland saw its job creation rate rise from 44th in the nation in 1994 to 16th in 1998. Over that same time period, welfare rolls decreased by more than 62%, with 141,420 Marylanders moving from dependency to self-sufficiency.

Governor's Commitment to Public Health

The health of Marylanders has been a critical issue for Governor Glendening. During his time in office, the Governor has worked with the Legislature to pass both a comprehensive Patients' Bill of Rights and an innovative plan that provides access to health care for pregnant women and children in working families. In addition, the Governor has been a leading anti-tobacco advocate, working with the General Assembly to raise cigarette taxes to reduce teen smoking. Most recently, he unveiled a plan to use Maryland's share of the national tobacco settlement to make the State a leader in anti-smoking programs and anti-cancer research. In 1996, Governor Glendening was honored by the American Medical Association with the Nathan Davis Award for his commitment to improve public health in Maryland.

Governor's Commitment to an Inclusive Society

Throughout his career in public service, Governor Glendening has never forgotten his roots. He continues to bring the values of equality, opportunity, and inclusion to the decision-making table. His judicial appointments, and selection of cabinet secretaries and senior staff members reflects this deep and abiding commitment to the value of diversity. In 1998, Governor Glendening received the Furman Templeton Award from the Baltimore Urban League for his solid record of appointing African Americans, women, Hispanics, and other minorities to the judiciary and upper levels of State government. In Governor Glendening's continuing fight for fairness and inclusion, he also received the Breslau-Goldman Award from the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington for his dedication to social justice.

Source: Maryland Manual OnLine

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