Ho­gan, Jeal­ous ap­peal to Mary­land mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Michael Dresser mdresser@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/michaelt­dresser

Gov. Larry Ho­gan and Demo­cratic chal­lenger Ben Jeal­ous made sep­a­rate and far dif­fer­ent ap­peals to Mary­land's city and town of­fi­cials Fri­day as they briefly oc­cu­pied the same room with­out in­ter­act­ing.

The Repub­li­can gov­er­nor and his ri­val were each given 15 min­utes to make a case for their can­di­da­cies in the Nov. 6 elec­tion at the fall con­fer­ence of the Mary­land Mu­nic­i­pal League in An­napo­lis.

Jeal­ous de­liv­ered an im­pas­sioned ver­sion of his stump speech, mak­ing an ap­peal to the group of may­ors, coun­cil mem­bers and other lo­cal of­fi­cials that was sim­i­lar to ones he has made to hos­pi­tal work­ers and teach­ers. He de­cried Ho­gan’s record on ed­u­ca­tion, health care and eco­nomic growth.

“You’re the ones whose con­stituents’ lives get harder,” he said. “You’re the ones whose lives get harder.”

Ho­gan gave a more folksy talk, re­mind­ing the of­fi­cials about lo­cal rede­vel­op­ment projects his ad­min­is­tra­tion has fi­nanced around the state and reaf­firm­ing his goal of restor­ing full fund­ing of “high­way user rev­enues” — state aid to coun­ties and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for lo­cal trans­porta­tion projects — that were slashed by Demo­cratic Gov. Martin O’Mal­ley dur­ing the bud­get cri­sis of 2008-2009.

That prom­ise re­ceived the loud­est ap­plause of the fo­rum. “It was im­por­tant for us,” said Craig Moe, the long­time mayor of Laurel. “When I look at it from the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties’ stand­point, the gov­er­nor kept his word with us.”

Moe said that be­fore the re­ces­sion, Laurel re­ceived about $900,000 a year in high­way user rev­enues. Af­ter O’Mal­ley’s cuts, it went as low as $30,000, he said.

The mayor, who said he hadn’t made up his mind whom to vote for, said it was the first time he had heard Jeal­ous speak. “I like how he talked about build­ing part­ner­ships,” Moe said.

“The gov­er­nor’s al­ways been here. It’s nice to see Jeal­ous as a can­di­date here.”

Jeal­ous had run into crit­i­cism over his de­ci­sion in Au­gust to skip the an­nual con­ven­tion of the Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Coun­ties, a larger gath­er­ing of lo­cal of­fi­cials.

Where most county elected of­fi­cials are elected as Repub­li­cans or Democrats, many mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials out­side the state’s largest cities run with­out party la­bels.

While the Repub­li­can gov­er­nor and his Demo­cratic chal­lenger were in the room to­gether for about15 min­utes, there was no con­tact be­tween them.

Scott Han­cock, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the mu­nic­i­pal league, said the group planned to have both Ho­gan and Jeal­ous at the head ta­ble.

He said a draw­ing had de­ter­mined that Jeal­ous would speak first. When Jeal­ous ar­rived shortly be­fore noon, there were name plates set up for him and the gov­er­nor at op­po­site ends of the head ta­ble.

Han­cock said that when they learned the gov­er­nor would not be hav­ing lunch, the group de­cided not to have a head ta­ble.

Ho­gan didn’t en­ter the hall un­til af­ter Jeal­ous had fin­ished his speech at­tack­ing his record. Jeal­ous watched from a fron­trow ta­ble as Ho­gan spoke, de­liv­er­ing a speech that didn’t men­tion his op­po­nent and por­trayed Mary­land’s po­lit­i­cal cli­mate over the last four years as a wel­come con­trast with the par­ti­san wran­gling in Washington.

“Here in Mary­land we have cho­sen a com­pletely dif­fer­ent route, and we’re set­ting an ex­am­ple for the rest of the na­tion on how gov­ern­ment is sup­posed to work,” Ho­gan said.

Ho­gan ducked out as soon as he fin­ished speak­ing, headed for an event in Hager­stown. Jeal­ous stayed for the meal.

Sandy Land­beck, an Aberdeen city coun­cil­woman, said she was a reg­is­tered Demo­crat but would rather be a mem­ber of a Larry Ho­gan Party.

She said the gov­er­nor un­der­stood the is­sues mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers care about. “He’s been very good to us,” she said. Jar­rett Smith, a city coun­cil­man in the lib­eral strong­hold of Takoma Park, said he was happy that the league could at­tract both gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates to its fo­rum. He said the gov­er­nor has worked well with the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, but he liked Jeal­ous’ em­pha­sis on ed­u­ca­tion.

KIM HAIRSTON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Repub­li­can Gov. Larry Ho­gan pointed to the rede­vel­op­ment pro­grams his ad­min­is­tra­tion has fi­nanced around the state.

KIM HAIRSTON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Demo­cratic chal­lenger Ben Jeal­ous fo­cused on the is­sues of his stump speech.

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