ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan encouraged lawmakers work in a bipartisan fashion to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure, boost jobs and combat crime.
Hogan used the words of the late President Ronald Reagan to help make his point in the annual State of the State address inside the House chamber.
“There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if don’t care who gets the credit,” Hogan said. “I pledged four years ago to create an environment of trust and cooperation where the best ideas rise to the top based on their merit, regardless of which side of the aisle they come from.”
In his 30-minute speech on Jan. 30, Hogan also emphasized tax relief, school construction and restoring $11 million in education for Baltimore City.
He also mentioned the city to encourage lawmakers to pass two pieces of proposed legislation he introduced last month. One would increase the minimum sentence to 10 years for repeat offenders who use a gun to commit a violent crime. The other focuses on sentencing guidelines for residents to read detailed information on how judges deliberate and rule on court cases regarding violent crimes across the state.
“We’re talking about taking our communities back and saving lives,’ Hogan said. “Enough is enough.”
The Democratic leadership issued a few responses.
Delegate Kathleen Dumais of Montgomery County presented the Democrats response for about 4½ minutes on Maryland Public Television. She outlined some of the party’s initiatives such as raising the state’s minimum hourly wage to $15, curbing the cost of prescription drugs and increasing the age for tobacco sales to 21.
“We will work with Gov. Hogan when we can,” Dumais said. “But we will not sacrifice our democratic values and principles to cut deals.”
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who chairs the state’s Democratic Party, released a statement on Hogan’s proposal to cut taxes instead of ways to help fund the recommendations from the ongoing work to revamp the state’s public education system by the Kirwan Commission, formally called the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education.
“Gov. Hogan showed he is an old-fashioned Republican unwilling to learn from the failed trickle-down economic policies of yesterday while thumbing his nose at education reform and other critical state priorities,” Rockeymoore Cummings said. “We should be surprised that he proposes a tax cut that panders to the GOP’s special-interest base, yet comes up far short on offering solutions for working Marylanders.”
Hogan did receive praise from Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks when he mentioned transportation projects such as construction at the intersection of Kirby Hill and Livingston roads and Route 210 in Oxon Hill.
County police patrol the 21-mile state highway noted as one of the state’s most dangerous highways. In 2018, the department issued more than 10,000 citations and 70 arrests. The data doesn’t include a December crash that killed three children.
“We’re really glad that [Hogan’s] focus is on those roadways that we have seen over the years that needed lots of improvement,” Alsobrooks said.
House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga, a Republican who represents portions of Baltimore and Harford counties, said reinforcing bipartisanship shows how effecting government works.
“I think it’s wonderful pointing out that 35 miles down the road our nation’s government is plagued with gridlock and partisan rancor,” she said. “Here in Annapolis, we respect each other. We work together on common goals [for] the citizens of Maryland.”