Former U.S. Congresswoman and maritime authority Helen Delich Bentley was honored by the Maryland State Senate for her tireless efforts to promote Baltimore's port and "make government work for all' by helping the Port realize its economic development potential.
Bentley, a past chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, spoke passionately of her decades of public service on behalf of the Port in receiving the First Citizen Award on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
As maritime editor of The Baltimore Sun, she operated in "the battle zones so that our great Port of Baltimore could compete with New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk," and simultaneously produced, edited and narrated the TV series "The Port That Built a City and State," which ran for 15 years.
"I must be doing something right," said Bentley, noting that yesterday's event marked the second time in three years that she, a lifelong Republican, was honored by Maryland's "reliably liberal" state legislature. She received the 2010 Speaker's Medallion, presented annually to a Maryland citizen for "outstanding contributions" to the state by the Speaker's Society of the Maryland House of Delegates.
In 2006, during a ceremony marking the 300th anniversary of its founding, the Port was officially renamed The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore by then Governor Robert Ehrlich.
Remarks by Helen Delich Bentley/ March 13, 2013
Mister President, Esteemed Members of the Maryland State Senate, Ladies and Gentlemen, my good friend Senator Paul Sarbanes. . .and my sponsor Jim Brochin
I am indeed humbled and honored to be standing before you today to receive the First Citizen Award.
I must be doing something right.
Maryland is classified as a blue state, reliably liberal.
I am a Republican and I am a woman.
I have my doubts that any woman before this has been honored by both houses of the Maryland General Assembly. . .
and particularly a Republican. Yes, I am humbled.
But The First Citizen Award is bestowed on Marylanders who participate in the process of making government work for all. . .
So today as I receive this First Citizens Award, I am accepting it as an honor to the thousands and thousands of men and women who have helped make my baby, the Great Port of Baltimore, such a magnificent economic success. It is the Sam Shapiros, Captain WGN Rukerts, Frank Noyas, Capt. Frank Farrars, Justine Browns, Kay Stroheckers, Bill and Charles Scarlett, Michael Cataneo in the past who pointed me in the direction of fighting for the port because they knew what it needed but they needed a voice to lead the way.
The Baltimore Sun, my employer, allowed me to follow their spirits and recommendations and fight so that our Great Port of Baltimore could compete with New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk.
It was the Rex Wheelers and Joe Stantons who suggested that the citizens of Maryland could best learn about the port via that new media, television. Thus for the next 15 years WMAR-TV ran my series entitled THE PORT THAT BUILT A CITY AND STATE. . . because we wanted everyone to realize that it was the port of 1687 and 1706 that resulted in the establishment of the city of Baltimore in 1730, half a century or more before Maryland became a state. . . one of the 13 original colonial states.
THE PORT THAT BUILT A CITY. . .STATE works for everyone. . . .
The Port remains the most democratic. . .with a lower case d. . .economic development entity in Maryland.
Today that port creates jobs and puts paychecks into more than one hundred twenty-nine thousand Maryland homes. . .That port has fueled the concept of keeping Maryland's statewide standard of living high. . . .
Yes, Mr. President, I proudly accept this medal in honor of today's leaders the Jim Whites, Ritchie Hughes, Horace Alston, Capt. Eric Nielsen, David Stambaugh, Mark Montgomerys, the Hughes family at Vane Brothers, the great staffs at our outstanding coterie of freight forwarders and custom house brokers, the longshoremen who do work in the rain, and those many thousand more who have been benefitting from our 50 foot channel, like the men and women at US Gypsum and National Gypsum. . .an endless list. Remember all these people, my dear legislators when the port officials appear before you for funds to maintain Baltimore's access channel. . .a very long 150 miles up the Chesapeake Bay.
We know that our great friend Senator Mikulski, the chief appropriator in the U.S. Senate, will do her part along with Senator Ben Cardin, as did Senator Paul Sarbanes before he retired, and the eight representatives in the House on Capitol Hill. But we all have to help her and our port.
I will be watching and I expect to still be around when the Port celebrates its 400th Birthday in the year 2106, 93 years hence. Our Great Port of Baltimore renamed by Governor Ehrlich as The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore.