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Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Editorial: Bipartisan policies are what Maryland needs

Gov. Larry Hogan's second State of the State speech, which he delivered Wednesday in Annapolis, struck a chord of bipartisanship and compromise to make Maryland a better state. The governor even had some kind words for the Democratic leaders of both chambers, House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller.

It's what needed to be said, as Hogan knows that his goals cannot be accomplished without support from the Democrat-controlled state legislature.

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If last year's State of the State was intent on pointing the finger of blame at Democrats for Maryland's problems, then this year's speech was akin to extending a hand and asking for a truce from partisan bickering in the interest of getting things done.

Not being able to coexist with the Democrats is what doomed Robert Ehrlich, the only other Republican governor Maryland's had in the past four decades. Hogan, it seems, has taken note of Ehrlich's mistakes and recognizes he needs everyone on board if he wants to serve a second term, or at least get the state closer to where he'd like over the next three years.

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That showed in the previous session. Without the help of the Democrats, Hogan wouldn't have been able to get the so-called "Rain Tax" repealed or taxes reduced. That's not to say there wasn't plenty of partisan teeth-gnashing from both sides along the way.

Of course, there are few times to sing kumbaya in politics. While it was unsurprising that members of Carroll County's all-Republican delegation had nothing but praise for the governor Wednesday, it was equally unsurprising how quick Hogan's opponents were to criticize the speech.

Sen. James Rosapepe, the Democrat's deputy majority whip, called it a "nothingburger," lacking substance. Pat Murray, the state's Democratic Party executive director, issued a statement calling the governor "so out of touch with middle class concerns."

We don't think that's the case at all. If anything, the middle class is Hogan's base, and the ones who have benefited the most from his modest tax cuts, rolling back of fees, and infrastructure improvements around the state. And that's the whole point. Hogan's message since the campaign trail was about finding the middle ground and helping the everyman, not focusing on the agenda of those on either side of the political spectrum.

Things the governor asked the legislature to back Wednesday are things most Marylanders, regardless of party, want to see: more state funding for schools, a plan to address the growing heroin problem, congressional and legislative redistricting reform, and innovative approaches to bringing good-paying manufacturing jobs back to the state.

"In the face of adversity, we were not Democrats or Republicans looking backward," Hogan said of the past year. "We were Marylanders with our eyes fixed forward, working together for a better tomorrow."

We think that's a message that rings true with most Marylanders. Only time will tell if Hogan's message of cooperation resonates with those in Annapolis.


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