May 30, 2017 at 10:56 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Ben Jealous to run for Md. governor
Benjamin Jealous, Ben Jealous, NAACP, Washington Blade, gay news, HRC National Dinner, Human Rights Campaign

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous on May 30, 2017, announced he will run for governor of Maryland in 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous on Wednesday will formally announce he is running for governor in 2018.

He said in a YouTube video he released on Tuesday that his campaign is “about opportunity.” Jealous also noted education and reducing unemployment and incarceration rates will be among his priorities if elected.

“It’s not about doing better in another generation,” said Jealous. “We can do better for this generation.”

The Baltimore Sun reported Jealous will announce his candidacy outside of his cousin’s flower shop in West Baltimore.

Hogan compared to Cowardly Lion for not challenging Trump

Jealous, 44, was president and CEO of the NAACP from 2008-2013.

Jealous — whose parents traveled from Baltimore to D.C. to get married in 1966 because Maryland did not allow interracial marriages at the time — campaigned in support of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law that voters upheld in 2012. The NAACP board of directors in the same year passed a resolution in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples after then-President Obama publicly backed them for the first time during an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.

Alec Ross, who once advised former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announced his campaign last month.

The Washington Post earlier this month reported gay state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) told a group of public transportation advocates that he will challenge Gov. Larry Hogan in 2018. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker are among the other Democrats who are expected to run.

The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday reported Jealous compared Hogan to the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz” for not challenging President Trump. He also criticized the governor’s record on education, the economy and the environment.

“He may have strength, but he lacks courage,” said Jealous during an interview with the Baltimore Sun.

Jealous in 2016 endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president. He backed Clinton later in the year after Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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