Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Editorial: Hogan takes right tack in focusing on Maryland

Democratic lawmakers in Annapolis chided Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's State of the State speech on Wednesday for not addressing "the elephant in the room" as one Prince George's County senator put it — several policies backed by President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress some 35 miles down U.S. 50 in Washington.

"Based on the speech, the governor seems unwilling to stand up to Mr. Trump," Sen. James Rosapepe told the Associated Press. Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Del. Nic Kipke, an Anne Arundel County Republican, told The Baltimore Sun, "While some of the legislature continues trying to drag politics surrounding Donald Trump into Maryland politics, our governor is focused on the work of the people here in our state."

As Hogan seeks to become Maryland's first Republican governor in 50 years to win re-election in 2018 (and likely facing a unique situation where he will not only see opposition from Democrats but may also face a primary challenge from Maryland's Trump supporters bitter their presidential candidate didn't get Hogan's endorsement), he rightly sees no benefit in taking the bait and adding his voice to the national political quagmire.

Instead, he continued to take a bipartisan tone by not only praising both parties for having "chosen action over apathy" and focusing on legislation that many Marylanders can get behind like continuing to fight opioid and heroin addiction, reforming government ethics and transparency, calling for an independent committee to re-draw the state's congressional and legislative districts, and pre-empting Democrats' plans for paid sick leave with a compromise solution.

That's not to say there aren't legitimate questions about some of Hogan's proposals and claims. On education, for example, much of Hogan's "record spending" in the budget is related to state funding formulas that he couldn't avoid even if he wanted to. Meanwhile, he wants to offer more government support for private schools through funding scholarships.


While there are certainly some concerns about how quickly changing national policies, such as health care, are going to affect Marylanders, those may be addressed in due time when it becomes more clear what the actual impact will be. Hogan made clear during the election season that he did not endorse or vote for Trump. It's also not his job to decry every move the president makes. There are plenty of others taking care of that, rightly or wrongly.

Rather, Hogan is focused on the job he was elected to do — governing the state of Maryland by focusing on problems within his purview. Perhaps his critics should spend their time doing the same.