(CNN) - Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley championed a series of progressive causes during a policy speech in Washington Thursday, touting his state’s economic record as evidence that encouraging liberal social issues can lead to prosperity.
“Promoting the right to vote, guaranteeing marriage equality, treating immigrant people with respect and with dignity, these things are also things that make Maryland stronger and more competitive economically,” O’Malley told a forum at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
The potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate claimed that Maryland is creating jobs at the fastest rate of any state in its region.
“Bigotry does not create jobs, and division does not expand economic opportunity. In face isolation actually kills innovation,” O’Malley said, lamenting that several states have passed stricter voting laws this year.
“These laws are designed to make it more difficult for people to vote. They disproportionally affect minorities, older Americans, poor people, (and) young people. And by discouraging individual participation, these laws have another affect, and that is they threaten productivity,” O’Malley said.
Similarly, limiting marriage equality and immigration rights undermines a state’s economic competitiveness by threatening creativity and reducing job creation, O’Malley said.
“In Maryland we believe that our diversity is our strength, and that we all do better when we’re all doing better,” he said.