Governor Wes Moore and Maryland’s first lady talk historic rise

"I could not have done it without her," said newly sworn-in Gov. Moore in a sit-down interview with theGrio alongside his wife Dawn Moore.

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“This journey has been so improbable,” said Maryland Governor Wes Moore in a sit-down interview with theGrio.

A new era has begun in Maryland as Moore has officially been sworn in as the first Black governor of the state. The 44-year-old political newcomer took the oath of office Wednesday at the Maryland state capital of Annapolis.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore pumps his fist as he, first lady Dawn Moore (C) and Chelsea Clinton attend his inauguration ceremony at the Maryland State House on January 18, 2023 in Annapolis, Maryland. Moore was sworn in on a bible that once belonged to former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Democrat Moore defeated Republican nominee Dan Cox to become the first Black governor of Maryland and only the third Black person to be elected governor in the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“This journey has never been about making history. It’s about marching forward,” said Gov. Wes Moore moments after being sworn in. “Today is not an indictment of the past. Today is a celebration of our collective future.”

Moore is the third Black man in the nation’s history to serve as state governor. He is currently also the sole African-American governor in the United States.

The elevation of Maryland’s new executive to the governor’s mansion happened as a result of a diverse pool of voters; however, Moore told theGrio this historical moment would also not be possible without the support of his wife Dawn Moore. 

“[Dawn] has always been there,” said Moore. “I remember we started this thing … literally polling at 1 percent.”

As Mrs. Moore sat next to her husband, Wes Moore said, “I could not have done it without her.” Maryland’s governor also beamed about how the state is “falling in love with their new first lady.”

During the sit-down interview, the new first couple appeared like college sweethearts as they held hands, leaned in close, and were unapologetic about their glowing affection for one another.

Moore recalled one of the hardest times of his campaign was when Dawn put her hand on his face and said, “you’re doing this because you’re going to win.”

Dawn Moore’s unwavering support has been a constant throughout their 16 years of marriage. When asked if she ever expected that she would end up in the Maryland governor’s mansion, the new first lady recalled their wedding vows.

(R-L) Maryland Governor Wes Moore, his son James Moore, first lady Dawn Moore and daughter Mia Moore watch a flyover by the Air National Guard 104th Fighter Squadron during Moore’s inauguration ceremony on the west side of the Maryland State House on January 18, 2023 in Annapolis, Maryland. Moore was sworn in on a bible that once belonged to former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The 63rd governor of Maryland, Moore defeated Republican nominee Dan Cox to become the first Black governor of Maryland and only the third Black person to be elected governor in the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“When we got married we wrote our own vows. He said to me, ‘I promise to keep this fun and exciting’ – and he never lied!” said Mrs. Moore. 

The Moore family was able to tour their new home for the next four years ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration after receiving an invitation from outgoing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. For the first time since it was designated as the residence of Maryland’s governor in 1870, Government Mansion will be occupied by a Black first family. Gov. Moore beamed over the sight of seeing their 11-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son exploring the halls of their new dwelling place.

Moore said, “Watching these two little Black children running around the house, picking out which room was going to be theirs,” deeply resonated with him. He also recognized the parallels between his family and another historical Black family: The Obamas.

Moore’s children excitedly roaming the governor’s mansion was reminiscent of the daughters of then President-elect Barack Obama visiting the White House after their father’s historic election in 2018. Malia and Sasha Obama, then school-aged children, were introduced to their new home by then-President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, and their twin daughters.

Moore said he is aware that he stands on many as he now enjoys his new lofty “perch” as governor. He also assures Marylanders that there are “a whole lot of shoulders keeping my feet firm.”

Following Wednesday’s ceremonious inauguration in Annapolis, the Moores will soon sweeten the move for their children with the promise of a new addition to their family: a pet dog.

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