Capital News Service video by Brandi Vincent
By Anjali Shastry, Deidre McPhillips and Brian Marron
Capital News Service
ANNAPOLIS — Amid a flurry of snowflakes, security officers and supporters, real estate company owner Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. rested his hand on a bible and swore to serve Maryland to the best of his ability, becoming the 62nd governor of Maryland.
“They said it’d be a cold day in hell before Maryland elected a Republican governor,” Hogan, 58, joked in his inaugural speech on the front steps of the State House, protected from the heavy snow by a clear tent.
Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, 57, the former Maryland secretary of general services, took their oaths of office starting at noon in the Senate chamber before members of the House of Delegates and state Senate.
About a half hour later, Hogan was sworn in publicly on the steps of the State House. He was joined by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Govs. Martin O’Malley and Robert Ehrlich.
Hogan was accompanied by his Korean-born artist wife, Yumi Hogan, three daughters and other family members.
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Hogan, who ran on a campaign focusing on the Maryland economy, is facing a potentially challenging year as a Republican governor working with a Democratic-majority General Assembly.
His anti-tax, pro-business campaign appealed to voters, leading to an upset victory against gubernatorial candidate Anthony G. Brown, who left office yesterday as O’Malley’s lieutenant governor.
In his inaugural speech, Hogan named four “common-sense principles” that will guide his time in office: fiscal responsibility; economic growth, especially for businesses; state government reform; and fairness to taxpayers.
“What I envision for Maryland is not just an economic and fiscal recovery, but a rebirth of our spirit, and a renewed commitment to our common purpose,” he said.
And the word of the day was bipartisan.
Christie said Hogan had bipartisan appeal and the principles to be an unwavering Republican who can work well with the Democratic-majority legislature.
“As long as you stick to your principles, I do believe compromise and consensus are not dirty words,” Christie said. “To accomplish what you need to accomplish here in Maryland, you’re going to need someone who can bring people together, someone who isn’t afraid to be known as bipartisan. And that’s exactly the person you have in Larry Hogan.”
Hogan reinforced the need for bipartisan cooperation in his speech.
“And to those who would divide us, or drive us to the extremes of either political party, I remind you that Maryland has been called a ‘state of middle temperament.’ Our politics need that middle temperament as well,” he said. “In the end, it isn’t about politics; it’s about citizenship, and the ability to understand the difference — that is what it means to be a Marylander.”
He recalled how his father, former Congressman Lawrence Hogan Sr., was the first Republican to come out for former President Richard Nixon’s impeachment following the Watergate scandal. Hogan Sr. went against party lines in favor of bipartisanship and integrity, Hogan said, a lesson that he himself has learned.
But Ehrlich, a one-term Republican governor, stressed the importance of his party’s policies. Hogan served as Ehrlich’s appointments secretary from 2003 to 2007.
Capital News Service video by Brandie Peterson
“Twelve years ago, I greeted a similar group of cold, excited Marylanders with the words, ‘Welcome to history,’” Ehrlich said. “Well, guess what? Today it’s, ‘Welcome back to history.’”
Jerry DeWolf, 33, drove about two hours from Keedysville with his eight-months-pregnant wife, Chrystal, to grab seats in front of the State House by 7:15 a.m. Wednesday. He said that he felt two-party government had been restored with Hogan’s election, a trend not only in Maryland, but across the country.
“Tax and spending has been the rule and law for far too long in Maryland,” said DeWolf, a government contractor and member of the Washington County Republican Central Committee. “The veto-proof majority is no longer.”
Lower taxes are what Jaclyn Heck, a 24-year-old senior associate at a campaign company, said she needs to stay in Maryland. She said she voted for Hogan to make it a reality.
“I love Maryland, but I’ve definitely considered moving to Virginia. A more affordable living in the future is what will keep me here,” she said.
Leo Vondas, 67, from Bethesda was also on hand to cheer on Hogan at his inauguration with his wife, Carol Vondas, 34. Vondas has been friends with Hogan for 40 years, back when Vondas was the vice principal of Frederick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro. Hogan was fresh out of college and working for his father, who was a Prince George’s County executive.
Vondas recalled how he and Carol Vondas went on their first date as a double date with Hogan.
“We always knew he was a natural politician,” Vondas said. “We called him Congressman Larry, because we knew he’d grow up to take elected office.”
Lin Spicer, 66, a farmer from Dorchester County, was elated to see Hogan take office.
“This is the first time I’ve been excited about a politician in a long time,” Spicer said. He was so enthusiastic about Hogan that he contributed to his campaign by doing community outreach and worked on his transition team as an “agriculture adviser,” he said.
“He’s a successful businessman,” Spicer said. “He’s someone who knows how to run a business, and government is the biggest business.”
But state Senator Richard Madaleno, D-Montgomery, said Hogan’s speech “troubled” him, calling it too partisan and more of a campaign speech than an inaugural address.
Madaleno expressed concern that Hogan’s spending cuts will harm efforts for educational funding.
“We could look back in 100 years and see the seeds for our decline if he dismantles education funding,” said Madaleno.
About a dozen protesters asking for a moratorium on fracking stood across the street during the proceedings.
“Hogan said fracking is a gold mine for Maryland. But it permits harm. It doesn’t prevent harm to individuals,” said Elisabeth Hoffman, who organized the group through a Facebook event called “Dear Governor Hogan.”
They said they had expected a bigger group, but the snow kept many from the western part of the state away.
Inauguration day began with a private prayer service at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Duke of Gloucester Street.
After the private and public swearing-in ceremonies, Hogan was determined to shake everyone’s hands. The line to meet the governor led out of the building and down the steps of the portico side of the State House.
After the ceremony, festivities after the ceremony include a gala Wednesday night in Baltimore celebrating Hogan’s inauguration, but then it will be straight to work. Hogan is set to release the new budget Thursday.
He will also be working with the legislature to tackle matters such as funding higher education and K-12 school systems; environmental issues; potential cuts to discretionary funding; developing the highway system versus funding mass transit; and potential tax repeals, such as the controversial “rain tax.”
Hogan will also have the challenge of choosing what in O’Malley’s record to build on or repeal. Over the last eight years, O’Malley accomplished many Democratic party goals including abolishing the death penalty; legalizing same-sex marriage; decriminalizing marijuana; raising the minimum wage; and making it easier for illegal immigrants to stay in the state.
Maryland Inauguration: Behind the Scenes
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