Gov. Hogan touts education, business initiatives
CAMBRIDGE — Gov. Larry Hogan and his staff began more than 100 stops on the Mid-Shore Tuesday, July 17, with a cabinet meeting at Dorchester American Legion Post 91 in Cambridge.
Mid-Shore dignitaries joined Hogan for the meeting before the governor, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and dozens of cabinet secretaries and directors representing agencies across the state went on visits to businesses and organizations in Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties.
“Four years ago, when I was running for governor, I said that the Eastern Shore would no longer be ignored,
forgotten, or neglected,” Hogan said. “We have made it a priority to make sure that people on the Eastern Shore know that they have a voice in Annapolis, a seat at the table, and a governor who is working and fighting on your behalf each and every day.
“Today, we literally are bringing the entire leadership of the state government directly to you — on the Eastern Shore,” he said. “We’ve assembled an incredible bipartisan cabinet and senior leadership team. Every single one of them is a dedicated public servant that is working very hard for you.”
Hogan touted several education initiatives, including a student debt announcement and two executive orders he signed Monday.
On the first day of the next legislative session, Hogan will introduce the Student Debt Relief Act of 2019 as emergency legislation to make 100 percent of student loan interest tax deductible.
“We won’t stop fighting until that passes,” he said.
Additionally, Hogan signed the Promise Scholarship in May, which allows for qualified students to received a free education at state community colleges. On Monday, he signed an executive order to expand the program, which will allow qualified students, who earn a community college degree, to receive two more years of free education at a four-year state institution.
Another executive order he signed Monday was for state employees in shortage areas, such as nurses and correctional officers, to have the opportunity to get up to $20,000 of student loans repaid. The benefit would apply to current and future state employees who are paying off their own student loan.
Hogan also urged the community to vote for the proposition on the November ballot, which would create a lock box to ensure 100 percent of the casino revenue would go directly into the classrooms.
“That would mean an additional $4.4 billion for our schools,” he said. “Every single child in Maryland should have the opportunity and access to a world-class education.”
He said his administration continues to push for more school resource officers and mental health counselors to make schools safer.
On the economic front, Hogan touted job creation.
He said Cambridge has added 50 new jobs with the expansion of Egide USA Inc. and Cambridge Federal. He said 100 new jobs have been added with the expansion at Talbot Commerce Park. In Caroline County, 126 jobs have come to Crystal Steel, and 100 new jobs were added at Choptank Transport.
“We just received federal approval for six new federal opportunity zones in Dorchester, Caroline and Talbot counties, and a total of 24 opportunity zones throughout the Eastern Shore to attract even further investment and to energize economic development,” he said.
Hogan said his administration has cut taxes, tolls and fees for four years in a row by $1.2 billon.
“We put that money back into the pockets of hardworking Marylanders, retirees, small businesses and our growing economy,” he said. “As a result, we had the best year for business in Maryland in more than a decade, and the best year for job growth in 15 years. We went from losing 100,000 jobs to gaining 100,000 jobs. More businesses have been open, and more people have been working than at any other time in Maryland histor y.”
Hogan said even with the lower taxes, and fees, his administration has invested $746 million in transportation projects on the Eastern Shore, including updating state Route 404 to a four-lane road and building a new Dover Bridge.
“We’ve been making incredible progress, but there is still much more work to be done,” he said. “Working together with all of you, we will continue to change Maryland for the better.”
Gov. Larry Hogan, center, stands with honor guard members from Cambridge police and the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office during his visit Tuesday, July 17, to Dorchester American Legion Post 91 in Cambridge.