Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is looking to take a US Senate seat – let’s hear from him in his own words

April 5 – Larry Hogan is touring the state of Maryland to get the word out about his run for one of Maryland’s United States Senate seats in November. 

Hogan is the former governor of Maryland and a Republican. 

As he hears from constituents, what are the main concerns? 

Hogan said, “We’re really thrilled to be back in Western Maryland. As I’m talking to you today, we’re actually in McHenry. We’re starting out in Garrett County with the first leg of the tour. We’re going to be all over Garrett and Allegheny County and then later in Hagerstown. People are concerned about the same things they’re concerned about in the rest of the country. They’re concerned about the border. They’re concerned about inflation and the economy. They’re concerned about crime and all of the things that you’re hearing about in just about any other region, people are concerned. I talk to people every day who have never been more concerned about the direction of the country and they’re really kind of fed up and frustrated with politics as usual in Washington.”

Hogan’s opponent for the Senate seat is David Trone, Maryland’s Representative in the US House of Representatives. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “He has ignored our media requests after constituents brought some things to our attention here. I assume that one of the pledges is to reverse that and to be in communication a great deal more with the people that are going to put you into office.” 

“Absolutely,” Hogan confirmed. “When I first ran for office in 2014, Western Maryland helped elect me. They helped reelect me in ‘18 and when I was first running, I came here a lot. I think I’ve been throughout western Maryland more than any other governor in history. I said that the people felt ignored and neglected and I promised if I got elected as governor that would no longer be the case. They would no longer be forgotten and so that’s why we decided to make this our first stop. We’re going to every single one of the 24 jurisdictions across Maryland, but we’re starting as far west as you can go in Western Maryland. We’ll be working our way back to Hagerstown later today and then moving on the next day to Frederick and Carroll County and we’ll be traveling around. Not only did I want to get up here to talk to people and see what they’re concerned about, but I felt it was important just to let them know how important I felt that Western Maryland was. That’s why we started here rather than somewhere else.”

Hogan said if he’s elected Senator he would be willing to speak to NewsTalk 103.7FM on a regular basis. 

He believes, “I don’t think there’s anybody that’s focused more on Hagerstown than I did for eight years. I think everybody in Hagerstown would tell you that. I’m going to be ending the day at Hagerstown Community College. I was at an event honoring Senator Andy Sarafini. He and I, some of the leaders in Hagerstown, worked together on the whole Hagerstown redevelopment. Every time that there was a need, we tried to figure out a way to help and that’s the same exact way I’ll govern if I get a chance to be the United States Senator and I’ll try to stay in communication as best I can with you. I appreciate the opportunity to talk with the folks in Washington County and Hagerstown.” 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “There was a headline in the Wall Street Journal today: ‘Why Immigration is now Number One Issue for Voters.’ We’re seeing the problems rising up among Democrats and Republicans who are just shocked at how they’re being impacted. It’s surpassing the economy which is the traditional number one issue for voters, but I think people see how that’s affecting the economy. Staying away from and I will call it a cop-out answer of ‘we need comprehensive immigration reform’ which Democrats use and even Republicans will use. What can you, Senator Hogan, do to try to encourage some sanity here when it comes to our border, assuming we cannot get comprehensive immigration reform through, which is politically untenable? What would you as Senator Hogan push for and champion and try to get done so we get some actual border control again?”

Hogan said, “Absolutely it’s overtaken every other issue. It’s growing more and more of a concern. It was always a concern to most Republicans and to a lot of conservatives, but now even the base Democratic primary voters are rallying around this because it’s impacting every single person. Absolutely the first thing we have to do is close the border. Any other further discussions about fixing the broken immigration system must start with securing the border. The Biden administration has completely failed in this direction, and it’s absolutely something that we need to focus on. When I was governor I didn’t have a whole lot of involvement in the border, but even though we’re not a border state, Maryland is just as impacted as anywhere else. I stopped Maryland from becoming a sanctuary state. Our 70% far left Democratic legislature was pushing for that. I’m going to the border in a couple of weeks. I’ll be in Texas. We’re going to go down there and meet with some local sheriffs so I have a better understanding of what’s happening. I’ve already been talking with some of my future colleagues about the issue and some of the folks in Texas and it absolutely is impacting every aspect of our society and it is the most important issue we have to deal with.” 

What about sending National Guard troops to the border?

Hogan said, “Unfortunately, as I’m no longer the Governor of Maryland and as a Senator, I don’t have much control over the Maryland National Guard. We’d have to encourage Governor Wes Moore to do that.” 

If Hogan would get the Senate seat and Donald Trump would win the presidency, what would that make the future look like? 

Hogan said, “It’s a difficult challenge for us. Obviously I’m the underdog in this race, as I always have been. In 2014 we pulled the biggest surprise upset in America. Then, in 2018, I was reelected and was only the second Republican reelected in the entire 246 year history of the state. But this is actually much, much harder. It’s not it’s not as tough in Western Maryland, but in the rest of the state it is. President Trump lost Maryland twice by more than 30 points. He’s going to be on top of the ticket and so I’ve got to not only convince the Trump voters that I can do a good job as their Senator but I have to convince a lot of folks that are not going to be voting at the top of the ticket. In the past races I was at the top of the ticket and was the top vote getter. But now I’m not at the top of the ticket and it’s a challenging environment, I would say, but we’re just going to get out there and try to convince people that regardless of what happens, Washington is a mess. We need to send some outsiders who aren’t part of the problem to go down there and try to fix the broken politics and people that are willing to actually get things done.” 

What if it’s Senator Hogan and President Joe Biden? 

Jansen suggested, “You’re going to have difficulties navigating it either way, I think.” 

Hogan pointed out, “I had eight years of success working in a pretty tough environment where every single elected statewide leader was a Democrat, more than 70% of both houses of our legislature were Democrats. It didn’t make it easy, but we had to work across the aisle to get things done and we were able to cut taxes eight years in a row by $4.7 billion. I was able to take a $5 billion deficit, the worst in history, and turn it into a $5 billion surplus, the biggest in history. We were pushing for tough crime legislation for violent criminals. We record our schools. We accomplished a lot of things, but it takes a willingness. It’s a necessity for people to be willing to find compromise and to get things done. In Washington nothing seems to get done, just divisiveness and dysfunction, but I look I’m willing to work with either the current president or the former president. I’m also willing to stand up to either one of them. When they’re right, I’ll come out and say I agree. When they’re wrong, I’m going to stand up and try to do the best I can to represent the people in Maryland and fight for them.” 

When Hogan was governor, he vetoed the Kirwan Committee’s Blueprint for Education in Maryland. Does he stand by that? 

Hogan said, “They weren’t really thinking. They were caving to some huge demands from the teachers union. We actually record funded public education in Maryland eight years in a row and on top of that, they added this Kirwan bill, which I said the state could not afford, the local jurisdictions who had to come up with half the money could not afford and that you can’t pass a $40 billion funding requirement with no funding formula. I called it the Kirwan tax hike commission rather than the blueprint for Maryland’s future, and I vetoed the bill. Unfortunately, they have more than two thirds of both houses so they overrode the veto. I strongly spoke out against it. Now you have Democrats in the legislature and every local leader including the mayor of Baltimore, and the county executive of Prince George’s and Baltimore counties, and everywhere else, saying we can’t afford this. It took them several years to come around to my position, but I was absolutely right and it’s a terrible mistake that the state and local jurisdictions cannot afford. So the $5.5 billion surplus we left, which was the largest in history, is completely gone. Now you’re having discussions in Annapolis, the Democrats in the legislature are arguing about how much to raise taxes by and how soon and some of them say it should be by $1.2 billion. Some say it should be by $4 billion. Some say they want to do it right now and the others say, we have to wait until after the election because Larry Hogan is going to criticize us and it’s going to help him get elected to the Senate. So instead of worrying about the hard working taxpayers of the state, they’re just worried about politics and their own jobs.”

Jansen noted, “Something that I see in practically every corner of your campaign website is this idea of trying to overcome the divisiveness and division. I think we can honestly say a political and philosophical division is what’s really harming us right now. For instance, many Republicans say I don’t believe in climate change, but if you drill down on them, it’s not that they don’t believe there’s manmade climate change. They just don’t believe it’s being presented honestly. One of the most horrifying things was a prominent and respected climate scientist who came out recently and said, in order to get my papers published, I have to eliminate data that doesn’t go along with the bias that it’s a dire crisis, and the world’s going to end within 10 years. How do we navigate this? How do you do this when we’re letting narratives rule the day instead of objective facts? Then how do we get back to examining the trade-offs and what makes the most sense?”

Hogan said, “There’s no magic wand and there’s no easy solution, but right now you get the lot of misinformation, disinformation on both sides, and it seems as if the loudest and angriest voices get all the attention and very few people are willing to sit down and discuss the facts and debate the issues. You can passionately debate and argue but at the end of the day, they’ve got to govern. That’s the way it used to be back in the day and now it seems like it’s all about what you say on Twitter, or what kind of the most outrageous statement you can make. That’s what has to happen in Washington. People don’t even talk to each other. They don’t pass anything. They never accomplish anything. It’s broken. The whole political system is broken. I just want to thank you very much for having me this morning. I enjoyed the talk and we’re looking forward to a couple of days here in western Maryland. This is going to be a long hard fought campaign. We haven’t elected a Republican Senator in 44 years but I think with the help of the people in western Maryland, we may be able to pull off another big surprise upset.”

Jansen said, “A lot of Republicans we admire a lot who are in Maryland have such great respect for Larry Hogan. What they tell us is he was in a realistic way of dealing with what’s going on. He was smart enough to understand where he needed to look at both sides and have the discussions that needed to be had with the atmosphere he’s in. He’s very good for Maryland that way and I would think the voters in Maryland could see the value in having him as their Senator.” 

Ryan added, “Remember this in Washington County. I went to David Trone’s office about a constituent issue. There’s a huge difference between arrogance and an all access guy like Larry Hogan. Do I agree with everything Larry does? No. I am appalled at the treatment that Washington County gets out of David Tyrone who needs to go back to the private sector. This guy is spending $20 to $30 million for a $174,000 a year job. He’s a poor Congressman, and he’ll be even worse as a Senator.”