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5 takeaways from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's second inaugural speech

As the longest federal government shutdown in history continues, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan gave his second inaugural address Wednesday, and denounced the state of American politics in Washington.

Here are five takeaways from his speech, as prepared for delivery:

No mention of Trump by name, but harsh words on the national state of affairs

“Let’s repudiate the debilitating politics practiced elsewhere — including just down the road in Washington — where insults substitute for debate, recriminations for negotiation and gridlock for compromise; where the heat, finger-pointing and rancor suffocates the light, and the only result is divisiveness and dysfunction,” the governor said.

Some passages appeared aimed at the standoff between Republican President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats.

“You shouldn’t have to obsess over or argue constantly about angry and divisive politics,” Hogan said. “You should be able to have confidence in the character and competence of the people you elect to office, regardless of their party affiliation.”

Praise for the traditional wing of the GOP

Hogan has said before that he wants to help the party return to the path it followed before the Trump presidency.

After being introduced Wednesday by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Hogan repeatedly praised the late U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a rival of Trump’s in his final years of life.

“As I look out at all of you, the backdrop is the beautiful dome of the United States Naval Academy chapel where I attended the funeral of another American hero, Senator John McCain, a man with passion, toughness, and tenacity,” Hogan said.

“It isn’t always easy to put the public good ahead of personal and partisan interests,” Hogan said, “If it were, then leaders like George H.W. Bush, John McCain, and my dad would not have stood out from their contemporaries as much as they did.”

Invoking his father, in a message that may be seen in a fresh light

As he often does, Hogan invoked the call of his father, Lawrence Hogan, to impeach President Richard Nixon while the late Hogan was in Congress.

With Trump in office, these remarks appeared to take on increased emphasis.

“Despite tremendous political pressure, he put aside partisanship and answered the demands of his conscience to do what he thought was the right thing for the nation that he loved,” Gov. Hogan said.

Heralding a cleaner Chesapeake Bay

Citing his accomplishments in office, Hogan trumpeted the Chesapeake Bay as “cleaner than it has been in recorded history.”

While the bay’s health has improved in recent years, it suffered last year from relentless rains that sent nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution flowing into the bay and its tributaries.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s “State of the Bay” report, one of the longest-running assessments on the health of the estuary, just downgraded the bay’s health. The foundation dropped the bay’s score by one point from 34 to 33 out of 100 points, resulting in a D+ grade on the foundation’s scale.

However, the foundation recorded a positive long-term trend for the bay. Its scores rose from 2010 until the 2018 decline.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science also issues an annual report card, rating the bay’s health last summer as a C grade and noting “a significantly improving trend” since the mid-1980s. The university’s report covering 2018 hasn’t yet been released.

Read the full text of Hogan's speech »

Favorite themes

Some parts of the speech were nearly identical his first inaugural address four years ago — emphasizing Hogan’s favorite themes.

Along with invoking his father’s vote against Nixon, Hogan emphasized Maryland “middle temperament” and his desire to work with Democrats, much as he said in 2015 and has often done since.

“I pledged to govern with civility and moderation, to avoid attempts to drive us to the extremes of either political party, and to uphold the virtues that are the basis of Maryland’s history as ‘a state of middle temperament,’” he said.

“I believe it’s because we kept that promise — to put problem-solving ahead of partisanship and compromise ahead of conflict — that I’m standing here again today just as humbled and eager and awed as I was at the start of my first term.”

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