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Democrat Martin O’Malley
Candidate Q & A

01/14/16
By Ryan Lessard news@hippopress.com



I’ve heard you talk a lot about national service. Why is that important to you?

I believe that the future of our country is going to be found in the hearts of our young people, and I believe that there is a tremendous desire, especially among Americans under 30, for connection and for work that is worth doing and for the sort of service in life that actually makes us stronger as a people. So, that’s why I think that the time has come and the time is now for making universal national service an option for every kid in America. You can almost see it in the millions of kids we turn away, young Americans who actually want to give back to their country, who want to help. Whether it’s health or education or healing this planet of ours. I think we need to tap into that, because we’re going through a very rough period in our nation’s history of polarization and division and fear and anger. Fear and anger have never built a great country, so we need to speak over the horizon and we need to tap into the energy that is coming from our young people. If you ever have any doubt about where our nation’s headed, just talk to our young people, they’ll tell you. And that tells me that we’re heading to a better place, but we have to tap into it if we’re going to advance its coming.
 
Do you have a unique plan that stands apart?
Yes, and I did it as mayor. It’s called CitiStat. It went horizontal, and it was embraced by mayors across the United States. And I did it as governor and it was called StateStat. And I intend to do it as your next president and it will be called FedStat. It’s the most performance-managed entrepreneurial way of getting things done. … What it essentially involves is this: In order to accomplish meaningful and important things that allow our children to be winners in a changing economy ...  you have to know what your big goals are, you have to itemize leading actions that drive you to goal and you have to create a compelling scoreboard that every citizen can see so we all know whether or not we’re doing better this week in getting to our goal than we were last week. For the first time in human history we can actually do that thanks to geographic information systems and thanks to the Internet. And we need to embrace that. A lot of politicians think that openness and transparency is a political threat, and as someone who was elected to turn around the worst violent crime and addiction problem of any big city in America, I recognized it as a tremendous help. We put Baltimore on a better path, and because of that, I was reelected with 88 percent of the vote and then went on to bring it to state government as well. 
 
I gather a lot was riding on the first Democratic debate on CNN. But initial polls seem to indicate that not much has changed and you are still at about 1 percent. Are you considering a change in strategy?
No, I’m not considering a change in strategy. I’m glad that the Democratic presidential primary finally was allowed to begin with this first debate. Eight years ago we had already had nine [debates] by this time. I was very pleased with the first Democratic presidential debate and also how we did. Our goal in that debate was for people to tune in and come away saying to themselves, ‘I like that guy, I like what he had to say and I’d like to learn more about him.’ So, I saw that first presidential debate not as a closer but as the opener. 
 
What are the concerns that New Hampshire residents, in particular, are voicing to you when you visit the state?
The biggest overarching concern that I hear people express is the fear that their children won’t enjoy better lives than they’ve enjoyed. In other words, the fear that we might be the last generation of Americans to give our children more opportunity rather than less. … It’s fueled, I think, by a couple of realities. [One is] the rapid change we’re seeing in the earth’s atmosphere and the environment and climate and sea levels. And it’s also being fueled by the fact that 70 percent of us for the first time since World War II are earning the same amount that we were 12 years ago. People extrapolate out both of these things in their own imaginations and it makes them very, very concerned about the country and the sort of planet that they’re leaving to their kids and their grandkids. 
 
Do you have a plan to address climate change?
I do. In fact, I’m the only candidate in either party to put forward a plan to move us to a 100-percent clean electric grid by 2050. We did not land a man on the moon with an all-of-the-above strategy. And we won’t arrive at a carbon-free energy future with an all-of-the-above strategy. It’s an engineering challenge, so I’ve put forward a plan to move us there and I hope the other candidates in our party follow. And I’m looking forward to building a new consensus for that movement in the electorate because there’s not a doubt in my mind that this is not only what the people want us to do but there’s a growing awareness that it’s also the best path to creating the new jobs of the new century.
 
You’re the youngest Democratic candidate running this time around. Assuming you don’t win this time, how likely are you to run in four or eight years?
I don’t know, man. I don’t think about that. I intend to win this time. I believe I’m going to win this time and the history of both Iowa and New Hampshire’s election process tells me that whoever is peaking in October is not the candidate that is peaking in January and February. [O’Malley has the support of 1 percent of likely Democratic voters according to a Dec. 9 state poll by UNH. Bernie Sanders has the support of 50 percent, while Hillary Clinton has 40 percent of the vote. A RealClear Politics poll average gives O’Malley 2 percent.]
 
Do you have a song you listen to or a mantra you tell yourself to get in the zone before a major speech or debate?
Yea, lately, I’ve been listening to the Dropkick Murphys, “[I’m] Shipping up to Boston.” … That’s become our kind of get-in-the-zone, walk-on music. 
 
This interview was edited and condensed.





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