Brown, Hogan court Maryland's mayors

Gubernatorial candidates stump at Maryland Municipal League

September 12, 2014|By Erin Cox | The Baltimore Sun

The two men vying to be Maryland's next governor brought their stump speeches to a convention of municipal leaders in Annapolis on Friday, each promising they would offer local officials a better way forward than their opponent.

Republican Larry Hogan told the group of mayors and local elected officials that troubles in their jurisdictions stem from the economic policies of the two-term O'Malley-Brown administration.

"The mismanagement of our state over the past eight years has had a real impact on each and every one of you," Hogan said at the Maryland Municipal League. "That is a fact that can not be disputed. It has crushed our economy."

But Democrat Anthony G. Brown, the lieutenant governor, reminded local leaders about the tough financial choices that had to be made to weather the economic recession. He suggested Hogan's proposed tax cuts would have a similar effect.

"Do we believe we can somehow cut ourselves to prosperity?" Brown said. "Think about the cuts that you have had to make. Have you cut your way to prosperity?"

Each promised to send more state cash to local governments to pay for roads, a program called highway-user revenue that endured substantial cuts under Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley.

As in many of their other shared public appearances on the campaign trail, neither Brown nor Hogan addressed each other directly nor took questions from the audience. With less than eight weeks until the Nov. 4 election, televised debates set for Oct. 7 and 13 are the only events on the calendar so far where the candidates are scheduled to face off directly.

Brown hewed close to one of his refrains from the campaign trail — that he supports expanding pre-kindergarten programs to all Maryland children while Hogan supports tax cuts for corporations.

Hogan also stuck to his central campaign theme — that most Marylanders are overtaxed and the state needs a new direction.

While the pair offered differing views for the state's future, both agreed on one point:

"You couldn't possibly have a more clear choice," Hogan told the crowd.

"We're at a crossroads here in Maryland," Brown said in his later remarks. "That's one thing that Larry Hogan and I agree on."

Before the candidates took the stage, the municipal league honored O'Malley with a lifetime membership to the organization. In the waning months of his tenure as governor, the former Baltimore mayor said he will always value his job as the city's chief executive.

"I will always consider myself a mayor," O'Malley said. "And now I have a plaque to prove it."

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