Former Maryland Governor Martin J. O’ Malley will serve as a shared visiting fellow for multiple Kennedy School centers beginning this April, with a focus on local politics and student engagement.
O’Malley, who served as governor of the state for eight years and mayor of Baltimore, Md., will split his time between three centers: the Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Bloomberg Harvard City Initiative, and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government.
O’Malley entered into the national spotlight during the 2016 presidential election when he ran for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
The purpose for the shared fellowship comes from a desire from many students at the Kennedy School to pursue jobs in local and state government, according to Rafael M. Carbonell, executive director of the Taubman Center.
“We’ve been hearing a lot of interest in how we can collaborate more along our different centers and our different programs and initiatives to really better connect our students to those opportunities as they are looking at those careers in state and local government,” Carbonell said.
“[O’Malley’s] very much aligned with that vision to say who are the folks who have been there and done that in a meaningful, effective way at a state and local level,” Carbonell added.
O’Malley said he first started visiting the Kennedy School to discuss the modernization of city government and encourage students to pursue a job in local politics when he was the mayor of Baltimore.
“I enjoy working with mayors and universities across the country because that's where the most exciting innovations in governing are actually happening: delivering results, setting goals with deadlines, being open and transparent, doing what works and tackling big challenges,” O’Malley said. “That's why you see cities growing across the country.”
Stephen Goldsmith, faculty director of the Ash Center Government Innovation Program, said O’Malley will be a vital part of various initiatives focusing on state and local governance.
“At the the time that cities are more and more in the forefront of our country and the place where more and more people live, the reach of the Ash Center is considerable and the Kennedy School as well,” Goldsmith said. “Governor O’Malley will help us extend that reach and the value of that reach.”
In a Kennedy School press release, O’Malley was recognized for his use of data to increase accountability in policy decisions as a mayor and governor.
“We started pioneering a new way of governing when I was the mayor of Baltimore. Unlike the old way of governing in cities—it was often driven by patronage politics or constituent politics—this was a new way of governing for the Information Age,” O’Malley said.
“We didn't do it to win any awards. We did it to survive. We did it to make our city a lot safer, cleaner, healthier, and a better place as quickly as we could because we were facing some huge challenges,” O’Malley added.
O’Malley said he believes future urban sustainability is an important discussion for students at the Kennedy School to have.
“The drive for a more sustainable future for humankind on this planet and urbanization that is the migration of people to cities are now joined in one urgent movement of human development,” O’Malley said. “The only way to create a more sustainable future on this planet is to create more livable cities.”—Staff writer Alexandra A. Chaidez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @a_achaidez.