Gov. Ho­gan touts ed­u­ca­tion, busi­ness ini­tia­tives

Dorchester Star - - FRONT PAGE - By DUSTIN HOLT [email protected]­pub.com

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.”

PHOTO BY NATE NKUMBU

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.

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