Martin O’Malley has spent his entire career fighting for underserved and middle-class communities. He has served as the Governor of Maryland, Mayor of Baltimore, and a city councilor—earning a reputation as a bold, progressive, and pragmatic executive who is willing to take on our toughest shared challenges.
Born in Washington, D.C., O’Malley was raised in Bethesda and Rockville, Maryland by parents who taught him the importance of public service. His father, Thomas, served as an Air Force pilot in World War II, flying 33 missions over the Pacific. After the war, he attended law school on the G.I. Bill, working his way up to become an Assistant United States Attorney. O’Malley’s mother, Barbara, has worked in Congress for nearly 30 years, where she continues to serve on the staff of the state’s first female United States Senator, Barbara Mikulski.
O’Malley graduated from Catholic University, and went on to earn his law degree from the University of Maryland in 1988. That same year, he was appointed as an Assistant State’s Attorney for the City of Baltimore. Driven by the epidemic of crime, drugs, and poverty that he witnessed as a lawyer, O’Malley ran for Baltimore City Council at the age of 28, where he served for eight years.
In 1999, O’Malley ran for Mayor of Baltimore. At the time, it was the most violent, abandoned, and addicted city in America. Widely considered an underdog candidate, O’Malley campaigned on the promise of reducing crime, improving schools, and rebuilding broken communities. He went on to earn 90 percent of the vote, and got right to work.
Over his eight years as Mayor, O’Malley’s policies helped the people of Baltimore achieve the greatest crime reduction of America’s largest cities. He also promoted important investments in the local economy—bringing fiscal stability to schools and cracking down on crime, which drew investments and people back to the city.
In City Hall, he implemented a program called CitiStat, a cutting-edge system that tracked how well Baltimore’s government was serving its citizens. The program won Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government Award, and TIME Magazine named O’Malley “one of America’s top five big city mayors.”
In 2007, O’Malley was elected as Governor of Maryland. Under his leadership, Maryland made sweeping investments in public safety, college education, affordable healthcare, and economic growth.
The state recovered 100 percent of the jobs lost during the national recession, and was one of only seven states to maintain a AAA bond rating. The Washington Post named Maryland as one of the top states for holding down the cost of college tuition, and Maryland was also recognized as having the best public schools in America for an unprecedented five years in a row.
Recognizing the threat that climate change posed to Maryland’s coastal communities, O’Malley took action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in renewable energy, and grow green jobs. He also worked to uplift the dignity of all Marylanders—by signing marriage equality into law, abolishing the death penalty, and passing the DREAM Act to expand the opportunity of a college education to more local students.
In 2015, O’Malley left office and was, as he says,
“elevated to the role of citizen.”
He and his wife, Katie, a District Court judge, live in Baltimore with their four children.