Former governor comments on events in Baltimore

This (past) week in Baltimore should be a wake-up call for our entire nation.

The problem is that we have built an economy that’s leaving whole parts of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York – so many people – behind.  People are not being heard – they are frustrated; they are angry; and they feel like they are not needed in our economy. Extreme poverty breeds conditions for extreme violence.

We need an agenda for American cities. We need to stop ignoring people of color and we need to stop acting like they are disposable citizens in this nation. That’s not how our economy is supposed to work or how our country works.

I’ve spent my whole life on criminal justice issues. My very first job out of law school was as a prosecutor on the West Side of Baltimore, a place now familiar from the images of these last sad several days. When I was mayor, we cut down violent crime, but we also improved how we train and police the police, and we made investments in drug treatment programs to strengthen the community.

In Maryland, as Governor, I worked to reduce incarceration to 20-year lows. We were able to reduce our recidivism by 15%, and also at the same time reduce violent crime down to 35-year lows. I signed legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession and other minor charges.

This is constant work. It is not done. We still have a lot of work left to do.

I am more inclined and more deeply motivated now to address what’s wrong with our country and what needs to be healed and what needs to be fixed.

In Baltimore, we are not defeated as a city, and we are not about to throw in the towel on our country.

— Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland as well as an ex-mayor of Baltimore, is considering a run for the Democratic nomination for president.

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