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Maryland Sen. Hough voted minority whip, pledges to stand up to ‘steamrolling’ Democrats

Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) raises his hand as he is sworn in on the opening day of the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.
Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) raises his hand as he is sworn in on the opening day of the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Representing Carroll and Frederick counties, Sen. Mike Hough, R-4, became the No. 2 Republican in the Maryland Senate when his colleagues elected him minority whip Saturday.

In his first meeting with Senate President Bill Ferguson after being elected minority whip, Hough said he’s willing to work with Democrats.

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“I think we can work together well, but at the same time I told him that if they were going to steamroll us or not make us part of the conversation, that he should expect a very strong push back," Hough, 40, told the Times on Monday.

Hough, a Brunswick resident, said his job is to make sure the Republican senators’ voices are heard and to check the majority party when necessary. The whip is typically one of the more outspoken people on the Senate floor and helps put together a strategy for voting, according to Hough.

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“It’s just knowing when to fight, when to resist, when to filibuster, when to offer amendments and when to work together when we can work together," he said.

He’s excited to represent Western Maryland in the party’s leadership, which he described as more in line with Carroll County’s political viewpoint. Republicans number 15 out of 47 members in the Senate, representing nearly 2 million people, he said, so it’s important to fight for those voices.

“When you’re steamrolling the minority you’re steamrolling 2 million people,” Hough said.

He serves on the judicial proceedings committee and plans to continue discussions on police. Hough said he wants to ensure nothing passes the Senate that would disincentivize people from remaining police officers or becoming one. The senator is known for being tough on certain crimes, having sponsored legislation to increase penalties for crimes involving firearms.

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New and old leaders of the Republican Party in the Maryland Senate stand together after leadership elections on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Annapolis. From left: Former minority whip Sen. Steve Hershey, new minority whip Sen. Mike Hough, new minority leader Sen. Bryan Simonaire, former minority leader Sen. J.B. Jennings. - Original Credit: Handout
New and old leaders of the Republican Party in the Maryland Senate stand together after leadership elections on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Annapolis. From left: Former minority whip Sen. Steve Hershey, new minority whip Sen. Mike Hough, new minority leader Sen. Bryan Simonaire, former minority leader Sen. J.B. Jennings. - Original Credit: Handout (Handout / HANDOUT)

Hough replaces Sen. Steve Hershey of the Eastern Shore, who stepped down from the minority whip position after six years. Sen. Bryan Simonaire of Anne Arundel County was elected minority leader, replacing Sen. J.B. Jennings of Harford County.

Shortly after the change in leadership, Hough said Simonaire reached out to Sen. Justin Ready of Carroll County to lead the campaign arm of the Republican caucus. Ready said Monday he will help candidates prepare for the 2022 election cycle, assist with fundraising and strive to build a more balanced Senate.

Hough has been a senator since 2015 and served in the House of Delegates from 2011 to 2015, where he was the assistant minority leader for one year, according to a Maryland Senate Republican Caucus news release. He was born in Silver Spring and attended Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg.

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