Amid a fluffy snowstorm outside of the statehouse in Annapolis, Larry Hogan was sworn in as Maryland’s 62nd governor -- the second Republican four decades.
“They said it was going to be a cold day in hell before we elected a Republican governor,” he joked at the start of a 15-minute speech where he pledged to follow “a real bipartisan approach for the serious problems” the state faces, including a $750 million budget deficit. He must work with a Democratically-controlled legislature.
“The politics that have divided our nation need not divide our state,” he said, standing before a crowd of well-wishers that included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who described Hogan, as a man who “is ready, willing and able to lead the state into a bright new future.”
In pledging to work with Democrats and others, Hogan, from Anne Arundel County, said he would focus on fiscal responsibility, economic growth, accountability and fairness. “Partisanship will never play a role in my decision-making,” he said.
Despite the threat of a winter blast and a midday storm that frosted Lawyer’s Mall in front of the statehouse, more than 1,600 supporters swarmed outside outside the venerable building to greet Hogan and or, Boyd Rutherford fromHoward County.
In his brief address preceding Hogan, Rutherford said the new administration would “focus on what is best for those who are paying our salaries.”
John Rudolph of Carroll County was one of those people. He had met Hogan at a pig roast during the primary campaign last year. “I got a really good sense that he wanted to work towards unity,” Rudolph said, "He seems to be moderate politically, which will be helpful towards working with both sides.”
Hogan acknowledged that he faces a great challenge, but said, “We can change Maryland for the better and, together, we will.”