The success of Governor Hogan and his acceptability by the voters of Maryland has been somewhat amazing. Actually elected as an “accidental” governor, due to low Democratic voter turnout and a Democratic candidate who had to carry the baggage of a term-limited governor, played significant roles in the election of Larry Hogan as governor of Maryland.
His popularity within the electorate and the amount of Marylanders who believe the state is moving in the right direction is phenomenal. This fact has left the president of the State Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates, both Democrats, frustrated, especially State Senate President Mike Miller. He appears to be quite angry and most frustrated by having a popular Republican governor sitting on the second floor of the State House in Annapolis. Even though the Democrats were, by the sheer weight of numbers in the 2015 legislature, able to override several bills vetoed by the governor, Governor Hogan remains undeterred in presenting his legislative agenda and achieving positive results which benefit the citizens of Maryland. This factor helps tremendously with the popularity rating of the governor.
Governor Hogan, in spite of personal health challenges and family tragedy, has continued to expound a positive message and reasonable set of initiatives in this session of the General Assembly. As the 2016 session of the legislature rapidly draws to a close, Governor Hogan continues to realize success and appeal to the majority of Maryland voters. His business approach to the legislative agenda and operating Maryland government have been a breath of new political fresh air in Annapolis.
The passage of the governor’s $42 million budget, relatively earlier than usual, indicates that the governor has a good rapport with the General Assembly. The new budget actually projects a $1.4 million surplus. And, this is only the second year of the Hogan administration. The governor is keeping campaign promises; this fact has been significantly recognized by the Maryland electorate. A recent poll indicated Governor Hogan has an approximate 70 percent popularity rating and a majority of Maryland citizens believe the state is moving in the right direction. This is from a governor who had never held public office and has a career in the private sector.
The existing situation in Annapolis has been difficult for the Democratic leadership of the General Assembly to accept and understand. While many members of the legislature heard the voice of Maryland voters in the 2014 statewide election, their Democratic leaders have been left to snipe at the governor over mostly trivial issues. This leadership has used some delegations to initiate criticism of the governor. Yet, the various jurisdictions of the state, including Baltimore City, will benefit from the spending proposals of the governor and other programs funded by the state of Maryland. Given the fiscal realities in the state when the governor took office, such criticisms appear to have been premature and ill conceived. Using “Ready, Fire, Aim” strategies that can be divisive and non-constructive, within the state legislature and the Maryland public at large, have proven ineffective.
The leadership emanating from the governor’s office in Annapolis has been quite refreshing and quite a different atmosphere from the tax and spend history of the previous administration. The voters of Maryland got it right two years ago in electing Hogan. We can only wonder when the leadership and some of the legislators in the state capital will see the light and be more cooperative and less partisan in their dealings with the Hogan administration.