Governor Larry Hogan sits down with 47 ABC to reflect on his time in office, shares what his future may hold
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – With just days left in his last term, 47 ABC sat down with Governor Larry Hogan in his office at the State House this week to ask him about his time as Maryland’s 62nd Governor and what his plans are for the future.
“I’m incredibly honored and grateful for the people of Maryland,” Governor Hogan told our Rob Petree. “They have given me this opportunity, and there hasn’t been a single day, good or bad, where I was not grateful for this chance, and I hope that they feel like I didn’t let them down and that we’ve actually put Maryland in a better place than it was when I got here.”
With two terms under his belt, Hogan considers his time as Maryland’s 62nd Governor, a success. He tells us how when he entered office he was faced with a struggling economy that he was determined to turn around.
“I inherited a $5 billion deficit and turned it into a $5 billion surplus,” Governor Hogan said. “We have more businesses open and more people working than ever in the history of the state. We cut taxes eight years in a row by $4.7 billion, we cut tolls, taxes and fees, and the economy is completely turned around.”
However, economic issues would only be the start of obstacles for Hogan, as one of his greatest challenges as Governor would actually come in the form of a virus.
“We were trying to figure out how to make our way through that and protect lives and livelihoods, and keep businesses afloat, and keep people working, but also stop our hospitals from overflowing and keep people from dying, and it was quite a challenge for almost 2 1/2 years and we’re not quite out of it yet,” Governor Hogan said reflecting on how he handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many other Governors across the country, Hogan faced sharp criticism as it relates to the restrictions imposed at the height of the pandemic. At one point, he was even dubbed ‘Lockdown Larry’ by some of those who questioned his handling of the pandemic.
“I didn’t think much of it,” Governor Hogan said in response to the nickname. “I have the highest approval of any governor in America – about 86% of the people in Maryland approve of my handling of the virus – there was a handful of angry people that didn’t like the fact that we were trying to keep people safe, but in a short period of time we had to make tough decisions and none of them were easy but I think we made the right ones and most people agree.”
When it comes to the interests of the Eastern Shore, Governor Hogan feels he took a proactive approach.
“I’ve been to the eastern shore more than I think any Governor ever, including I think the one who lived on the shore,” Governor Hogan told our Rob Petree. “We worked on getting the Bay bridge the whole access to Ocean City redevelop Cambridge improvements to 50 we build bridges, we built 404.”
Ongoing challenges still persist with the H-2B visa program, a concern that Governor Hogan feels incoming Governor Wes Moore will have to tackle.
“We’ve been pushing on trying to get these visas to help the seafood industry, particularly the crab picking industry, and it continues to be an issue,” Governor Hogan explained. “We worked together with Congressman Harris and with multiple administrations and it’s something we have to continue to have the new Governor push for.”
Governor Hogan also had some advice for Governor-elect Wes Moore: ‘DON’T IGNORE THE SHORE’
“I think the Eastern Shore and the state are in much better shape than they were when we got here,” Governor Hogan stated. “I would advise the incoming Governor not to return to the days of forgetting about the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland. We’ve got to take care of all of the jurisdictions in the state.”
When asked about Wes Moore specifically, and his ability to do the job, Governor Hogan said he really doesn’t know Moore very well but that he hopes he’s successful for the sake of Maryland.
“I don’t know him very well and he doesn’t have a lot of experience in government but he seems like a smart guy and I like the fact that he has military experience, and he seems like a very applicable, likeable guy. I wish him well because I want the state to continue to head in a great direction and to succeed,” Governor Hogan stated. “I’ll let others decide whether he’s a success or not, he hasn’t even got sworn in yet, so I wish him well.”
A big question on everyone’s mind is what’s next for Hogan. We asked him if he is indeed planning on running for President.
“That’s something a lot of people ask me about every day,” Governor Hogan said in response. “A lot of people encourage me to consider and I said that I was not even going to look at that until I finished the job that I agreed to do, and I promised the people of Maryland I was going to be a Governor.”
We pressed further and asked about his thoughts on Donald Trump and how he would plan on taking on such a polarizing political figure in a presidential primary.
“I think a lot of people in the country that supported President Trump are willing to consider maybe moving in a different direction just because of all the drama,” Governor Hogan said. “They want to look forward rather than backwards, and have a more hopeful, positive vision for America instead of relitigating everything that happened in the past.”
Before making any definitive decision, Governor Hogan said he needs a vacation and some quality time with family and friends.
“I don’t know what comes next after that frankly,” Governor Hogan stated. “I’m hoping after I clear my head a little bit, take a few days off, maybe a vacation, talk with my family and my friends, and then we’ll decide what’s the next step.”