Candidate Q&A: Larry Hogan plans to vote yes on reproductive rights ballot question


Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (pictured) and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks are seeking to fill the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D). Photo courtesy of Hogan

Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently responded to The Bowie Sun candidate questionnaire, in which he explained his stance on abortion protections, diversity policies, public safety and other issues. The Republican is running for U.S. Senate in a closely watched race against Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, a pro-choice Democrat. 

His full responses to the questionnaire are further below, but here's a quick summary:

Reproductive freedom: Hogan, who at times has clashed with his own party, plans to vote yes on a ballot question this fall that asks if reproductive freedom should be added to the Maryland constitution.

Diversity policies: On the issue of campus and workplace diversity policies, Hogan responded: "DEI policies should be up to the institutions, not the federal government."

Public Safety: In his response to a question about the rise in crime, Hogan wrote: "Every issue facing Prince George’s County right now–from economic development to education–is affected by public safety and the lack of a fully funded police force."   

Carjackings and other violent crimes have increased under Alsobrooks' tenure, Hogan wrote. Questionnaire responses from Alsobrooks, a former prosecutor, will be published separately. 

Other issues: Read on for Hogan's positions on the conflict in Gaza and climate change, his support for school choice, and his plans to bring affordable housing and economic development to the county where he grew up.

Retail crime and theft continue to persist in Bowie at a time when the city, like the rest of the nation, is facing police shortages. How could you as a senator tackle the rise in crime in places like Bowie that have not experienced high crime until recent years? Is there anything you could do as a senator to address staffing shortages in our public safety agencies?

Hogan: Addressing crime in Bowie and across the state is absolutely one of my legislative priorities, and definitely an issue that separates my opponent and myself. I’ve made this one of the priorities of my campaign. I recently released a 10-point Crime Plan of what I’ll do to address rising crime in the Senate, which includes holding violent criminals accountable, taking repeat offenders off the streets, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and more. Every issue facing Prince George’s County right now–from economic development to education–is affected by public safety and the lack of a fully funded police force. Unfortunately, Angela Alsobrooks has created an environment where murders have skyrocketed–almost doubled–and violent crime has increased by 30%. There’s been a 500% increase in carjackings during her tenure as Prince George’s County Executive, and local businesses are fleeing to safer areas, to the detriment of Bowie residents.

As Governor, I was proud to be the first national leader to strongly stand up to the Defund the Police movement and have an extensive record of fully funding law enforcement, which is why I’ve already been endorsed by the State Law Enforcement Officers Labor Alliance and International Union of Police Associations. While police budgets were being slashed and redirected across the country, our Refund the Police initiative put half a billion dollars more into police and a 50% increase in state aid to local police. In the Senate, I’ll continue to support the men and women who risk everything to keep us safe, and deliver innovative, bipartisan solutions to improve public safety in Prince George’s and around the state.

Housing costs are on the rise in Bowie and across Maryland. As a senator, would affordable homes and rent be a top legislative priority for you? Do you think some of the current pending legislation in Congress to provide tax credits would make a big difference in lowering housing costs here?

Hogan: Expanding affordable housing for Maryland families will be one of my legislative priorities in the United States Senate, and I've already released a plan to begin to tackle Maryland’s affordable housing shortage. A key component of my five-point plan to make life in Maryland more affordable include accelerating housing construction by incentivizing new home development, making home ownership achievable for middle and lower class Americans. And while my opponent has said she is considering raising taxes in Prince George’s County and is campaigning to increase taxes at a federal level, I plan to cut taxes for struggling families, small businesses, and retirees, just like I did as Governor, so working Maryland families can keep more of the money they earn to put toward buying a home and building generational wealth. I believe tax credits are an important piece of the puzzle in incentivizing the development of new houses, and will explore every option to help families in Prince George’s and across the state access the dream of homeownership.

Like many Prince Georgians, Bowie residents have long sought quality retail options, healthier eating options and more amenities on par with those in neighboring counties. Are you hearing similar sentiments from county voters, and do you have a plan to address this need for more quality retail and restaurants in the county where you grew up?

Hogan: As I was taking the oath of office in 2015, Maryland's state highway signs were being changed to read, “Welcome to Maryland, We’re Open For Business.” It wasn’t just a catchy slogan, it was the driving mission of my entire administration. I will bring that same idea to the United States Senate to deliver economic development for Bowie residents, just like I did as Governor. I led the fight to bring FBI headquarters to Prince George’s as well as a new state of the art cancer facility. I also cut taxes and regulations to expand the workforce and incentivize even more businesses to invest in Maryland communities like Bowie–I am sad to see much of that work be rolled back by the current state administration, and will do everything I can to reimplement these policies at a federal level.

Another important factor in economic development is ensuring our communities are safe for families, workers, and businesses to thrive. Public safety is an issue Prince George’s knows all too well. I am a pro-police, pro-public safety proven leader in making Maryland communities more safe, and will continue to make this issue a priority in the United States Senate.

Bowie is the new headquarters for EV charging company Blink. The city also has an active group of volunteers serving on the city's Environmental Advisory Committee, which prepared Bowie's Climate Action Plan. The plan recognizes that global warming has led to increased heat waves, drought and storms. Do you believe climate change is real, and what type of measures would you support in the Senate to mitigate the effects of flooding and record heat in communities like Bowie?

Hogan: Yes, climate change is real, and I was a champion of climate mitigation and environmental conservation as Governor. We helped create the cleanest Chesapeake Bay in recorded history by fully funding the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund at a record level of $344.4 million. In total, our administration made a total investment of over $8 billion in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, a historic level that resulted in the cleanest water quality levels in recorded history.

Maryland’s environment, like its people, is unparalleled in its diversity. From the mountains of Western Maryland to the sands of the Eastern Shore to our gorgeous natural parks, I’ll work in the Senate to ensure it’s all conserved for future generations of Marylanders to enjoy.

Are you concerned that financially stable municipalities such as Bowie could be affected by costs associated with the Blueprint education reforms? Please briefly elaborate on any concerns about the Blueprint costs to municipalities and what you could do as a senator to alleviate such costs?

Hogan: One of my main concerns about the Blueprint was the impact it would have on state and local budgets. When I left office, I left a record budget surplus to help ensure the programs Marylanders rely on would be fully funded and there would be no need to raise taxes. Now, in just eighteen months, the $5 billion surplus I left behind has turned into rising deficits and tax hikes, and state leaders and the County Executive here in Prince George’s County are considering raising taxes at the expense of lower and middle class families, jeopardizing economic stability for Bowie residents.

I was proud to provide record education funding as Governor, and have already released an education plan that outlines what I’ll do in the United States Senate to ensure a world class education for every child, regardless of what zip code they happen to grow up in. Our administration made unprecedented strides to empower parents, build first-rate school facilities, and expand choice and innovation—and I’ll take the same approach to the Senate.

The city of Bowie is culturally diverse and the city's Diversity Committee has advised the City Council on issues such as hiring practices, contracting and hate crimes policy. The area is also home to historically Black Bowie State University. Should campus and workplace diversity programs be eliminated or restricted as some Republican lawmakers have attempted to do in other states?

Hogan: Maryland is home to four incredible HBCUs, including Bowie State University, that produce $1 billion in total economic impact, 9,327 jobs, and $9.5 billion in lifetime earnings. Hate crimes and discrimination must never be tolerated, and we must continue to strive for a more just society where every Marylander is granted equal opportunity to succeed. DEI policies should be up to the institutions, not the federal government.

An estimated 200 Bowie High School students recently engaged in a walkout calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Do you support a long-term ceasefire in Israel and Palestine? Do you think some of the campus activism on this issue and police handling of these protests has gone too far? Please briefly explain your position.

Hogan: I also want to see an end to the violence in Israel and Gaza–and the only way to get a ceasefire is for Hamas leaders to surrender and release all the hostages. Here at home, some of the protests have gone too far–you have Jewish students on college campuses being told to go home for their safety, or too intimidated by anti-semitic language and threats from their classmates to even go to class.

I remember, it was nine years ago this year, I had only been governor for 89 days when the worst violence in 47 years erupted in the city of Baltimore. Tensions were high, and the city was on fire, but we immediately stopped the violence and allowed for peaceful protests.

We must always allow for peaceful protests, but also enforce the law and not allow violence, intimidation or hate. Anti-semitism and calls to destroy Israel must be condemned.

Maryland voters will have the opportunity to vote on a ballot question in November that asks if the right to reproductive freedom should be added to the state constitution. Do you plan to vote yes or no on that ballot question? Please briefly explain why you plan to vote for or against this ballot question and if your Catholic faith will factor into your decision?

Hogan: I support a woman's right to choose and would never interfere with a woman's right to make her own health care decisions. I have been on the record against a national abortion ban for over 30 years, and under my leadership, Maryland women never had to question whether their reproductive rights were in jeopardy–I protected choice in Maryland for eight years, funding access to abortion in the budget every year, and I’ll be planning to vote yes on this year’s ballot question.

Editor's note:  In addition to Hogan and Alsobrooks, two other candidates are currently vying for the U.S. Senate seat in Maryland: Libertarian Mike Scott of Bowie and independent Emmanuel Osuchukwu of Baltimore. The Bowie Sun has requested questionnaire responses from these candidates as well.

Candidate questionnaires are lightly edited for style.

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