By Ryan Andrew | USA
After months of campaigning, the day finally arrived. November 4th, 2014, otherwise known as election day in America. There was no Presidential election taking place today, as that would, of course, happen two years later. However, this was still a very important Election for millions of people all across the United States, especially in the state of Maryland, which was electing a new governor after eight years of Democrat Martin O’Malley at the helm.
This was a tough eight years for Maryland, who had one of the worst economies of all states, with the poverty rate jumping nearly 4% under O’Malley after dropping to 12.3% in the final year of Republican Bob Ehrlich’s term. Between this and the high unemployment rate throughout the second term of the 2016 presidential candidate, the GOP was well set up to challenge the Democrats for control of Maryland in the 2014 election.
They certainly captured this opportunity by putting up successful businessman and former Maryland Secretary of Appointments, Larry Hogan. Hogan ran the campaign on the promise that he would Change Maryland by cutting the income tax across the board and eliminating unnecessary taxes such as the Rain Tax implemented by Former Governor O’Malley. The rain tax was, simply put, “[an]annual fee on impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks, garages, and any other surface that could create drainage problems and water contamination situated on property owned by an individual or a business.” People believed that Anthony Brown who served as Lt. Governor from 2007-2015 would continue the same failed policies O’Malley and the Democrats had been forcing on them for eight years. Despite this, Brown was still the heavy favorite going into election day, as one YouGov poll put him up 13 points over the Republican hopeful just two weeks before the election.
Little did Marylanders know that they were about to see one of the biggest upsets in Gubernatorial election history. Hogan would go on to defeat Brown by a whopping 76,000 votes, which translated to a margin victory of 4.7%. This showed that citizens were ready for change and that they thought Larry Hogan would be the one to bring it; and man, were they right! Since taking control in 2015, The Hogan Administration has made Maryland an economic envy of all states throughout the U.S. Additionally, the son of Former Congressman Larry Hogan Sr. has been an absolute champion for Maryland business through his first three years in office. He has followed through on his promises to slash taxes for the middle class and has consistently stood against any new forms of taxation.
This has allowed Governor Hogan to garner an approval rating of 68%
according to one Morning Consult poll. The same poll ranks him as the second most popular governor in the nation. This article will explore the key things he has done to become arguably the most successful governor in Maryland’s history.
For one, Hogan has done something not many politicians do; he has followed through on promises made during (and after) campaign season. Chances are, you can think of quite a few lies politicians have told on the campaign trail as it’s a tactic a lot of them use. They tell the voters what they want to hear without any real intention of following through on it. Thankfully, this is not something Marylanders are currently dealing with, as the current state administration has kept its promises to the people. One of the key things Hogan promised throughout the campaign was to cut the tolls of the Bay Bridge, one of the most used bridges in the U.S. This itself is said to have saved Maryland drivers millions of dollars each year. Additionally, Larry Hogan stated repeatedly over his 2014 campaign that “our focus will be on jobs, middle-class families, and restoring the economy.”
So far, the ambitious governor has played a key part in creating over 100,000 jobs, in just under three years, which is a phenomenal thing for middle-class Maryland citizens in addition to poorer communities throughout the state like Baltimore City or Allegany County. Furthermore, Hogan vowed to repeal the Maryland Rain tax numerous times throughout the campaign, stating that this tax was “a mistake which needs to be corrected.” Sure enough, one of the Governor’s first proposals into Annapolis was a bill that would repeal this tax just two weeks into his terms. Overall, Larry Hogan and his campaign team have proved time after time that he is ready to deliver on promises made to the Maryland public.
Secondly, one of the things that Marylanders love so much about the Hogan administration is their ability to remain bi-partisan, consulting both sides before making a final decision. This is the only way a Republican governor in the heavily liberal state of Maryland could maintain a consistently high approval rating like Hogan has. Nearly everything the current administration has accomplished has been because of its constant willingness to work across the aisle. This can be seen in Hogan’s recent attempt to work with both Democrats and Republicans on finding a fix for the current opioid drug epidemic which is hitting Maryland hard. More than 1,600 people died from heroin and prescription opioid drug-related deaths in 2016, which is nearly double the amount reported in 2010. The Governor has worked to set up the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force which works to educate the public about the dangers of these drugs which hopefully will help prevent future drug-related deaths. This type of a program would not be possible if Hogan was not willing to work with Democrats, as it is partly up to each of the counties to carry out and expand on what the Governor’s team has worked so hard to set up. To sum up, Hogan has been ready and willing to work in a bi-partisan manner to Change Maryland, which is a big reason he is so popular.
One final explanation for why Governor Hogan is so highly approved by the public is the fact that he truly has changed the economy for the better. Since Hogan got into office, the unemployment rate has been nearly cut in half. In 2014 about 6%% of people were unemployed, now that number is around 3.8%, the lowest it’s been in nearly a decade. In addition, according to a Department of Numbers report, Maryland has added 88,000 jobs in 2017 alone. This number is set to increase tremendously in upcoming years, as many companies have been announcing new projects in Maryland that could potentially bring thousands of jobs with them. For example, Amazon recently announced plans to build a new fulfillment center, the fourth in Maryland which will produce about 1,500 new jobs. This all shows just how great Larry Hogan’s economic policies have been for the working-class in Maryland.
In conclusion, Larry Hogan has had great success through his first three years as governor. His commitment to the people, willing to work in a bi-partisan manner and the strong economic growth taking place are three reasons why he is so liked by nearly 70% of Marylanders. Think about this; If he continues Changing Maryland at this rate, will he be able to become the first Republican Governor to win reelection in Maryland since 1959?