Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan announced his first four Cabinet appointments Wednesday, choosing veterans from the O'Malley and Ehrlich administrations along with a Republican state delegate and a businesswoman from Laurel.
Hogan said he persuaded Sam J. Abed, secretary of juvenile services under Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, to stay in his post next year. Hogan described Abed as an agent of change and said he "really stood out" as Hogan evaluated O'Malley's current staff.
The incoming governor picked James D. Fielder Jr. to serve as appointments secretary and help Hogan build a staff before he takes office Jan. 21.
Fielder and Hogan worked together in Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s administration. Hogan joked about Fielder becoming appointments secretary, a position Hogan held under Ehrlich.
"It's obviously widely regarded as a steppingstone to higher office," Hogan said. Fielder was the secretary of labor, licensing & regulation under Ehrlich.
Hogan appointed state Del. Kelly Schulz, a Frederick County Republican, to be his secretary of labor. Schulz has experience in the federal government and as the owner of a small cybersecurity business, Hogan said.
"She's well versed in fighting for business-friendly regulations," Hogan said, praising Schulz's private-sector experience.
Her appointment will create a vacancy in the House of Delegates.
Hogan appointed C. Gail Bassette, CEO of a management consulting company in Laurel, as secretary of general services.
"We said throughout the campaign that we wanted to recruit talent from the private sector, and Gail is certainly an example of that," Hogan said. He said Bassette understands the challenges that small firms face in doing business with government.
All of the appointments require the approval of the Maryland Senate. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said he did not foresee any trouble confirming the four.
Wednesday's announcement adds diversity to Hogan's team. Earlier this month, Hogan named two top aides: Republican Sen. Joe Getty of Carroll County as his chief lobbyist and Craig A. Williams as his chief of staff.