I write today to call on Governor Larry Hogan to denounce the proposed Senate health care bill, to reject the draconian budget cuts that will eliminate money for essential programs like Meals on Wheels and free and reduced lunch and breakfast for children, and to affirm Maryland’s commitment to environmental responsibility. Governors throughout the country are denouncing the Senate’s health care replacement bill, expressing concerns about budget cuts that disproportionately affect vulnerable communities, and determining that their states will comply with the Paris Climate Change Treaty. Maryland needs to join those ranks. The time has now come for Governor Larry Hogan, Jr., to show the same courage that his father, Larry Hogan, Sr., showed during the Nixon impeachment.
In 1965, I began my undergraduate work in political science at the University of Maryland, returning in 1972 for my master’s program in the same field. During that time I went to dozens of demonstrations in Washington: anti-war, pro-choice, women’s rights, civil rights and on and on. I sat on Rt. 1 in College Park and blocked traffic after the Kent State murders. I watched every minute of the Watergate hearings. I thought all of the characters were personal friends as I saw them, heard about them and talked about them so much. In fact, I, with some pals, challenged the Maryland delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1972 because our delegation completely lacked diversity. We had a hearing scheduled before the DNC; my friend Pat Aiken and I went to the DNC headquarters in Washington to get the hearing rules of procedure to give to our attorney. When we arrived at the hotel, the cops guarding the front doors turned us away, telling us there had been a burglary the previous night. It was a long time before we learned that that burglary was the very break-in that would dominate public discourse for months and months to come.
Through the entire painful process of Watergate and the impeachment procedures against President Nixon, some patriots emerged whom I would now nominate for a Profile in Courage award. And Maryland had two of the most courageous patriots (I always felt these leaders vindicated us for our own former governor Spiro Agnew, Vice President to Richard Nixon; both crooks who resigned in disgrace).
The first of these two Maryland patriots deserving of the Profile in Courage Award is Congressman Paul Sarbanes. As a young man and after only eight years of service on the House Judiciary Committee, he was asked by the committee to present the Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon. Watching him do that made me very proud as a Marylander. His son, Congressman John Sarbanes, is now following in Dad’s footsteps as the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s District 30, helping to guide this country through the nightmare of Washington today.
The second person I would nominate for a Maryland Profile in Courage Award is Congressman Larry Hogan, Sr., from Prince George’s County. He was one of the last Congressmen who would pop to mind as a leader in the Watergate scandal. He was a champion of Republican political causes and was elected, in part, by his strong opposition to busing for racial balance. He sought the assistance of the President and the Department of Justice in an attempt to block the implementation of the federal court order requiring desegregation in Prince George’s County schools. He was an outspoken conservative Republican.
But in 1974, there were also patriotic Republicans who looked to the welfare of the country over the welfare of their party. Congressman Hogan was one such Republican: the first in his party to call for the resignation of President Nixon. Subjected to severe criticism from his own party, Congressman Hogan nonetheless stood up for his own principles as well as the principles of justice upon which our democracy is based, asserting that the U.S. needed to turn away from the evil that had overcome us. Hogan was also the only Republican to vote for all three Articles of Impeachment.
Today, it is time for Governor Larry Hogan to call on his father’s principles and courage with the crisis that confronts us today, to follow in his dad’s footsteps as has Congressman Sarbanes. Republican governors throughout the country are denouncing the inevitably dire consequences from Republican Congressional efforts to deny health care to citizens of their own states. This week, two Republican governors, John Kasich of Ohio and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, took out newspaper ads denouncing the secret Senate health care bill and proposed cuts to Medicaid expansion in the bill prepared by Senate Republicans in secret. Five Republican governors (from Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arkansas, New York and Massachusetts) have joined forces to stop this legislation.
Maryland citizens will be hurt by this legislation on many levels. If the federal government withholds funds for Medicaid expansion (which provides health insurance to our most vulnerable adults and children), our most vulnerable citizens will be hurt. Or, all of the citizens of Maryland will be hurt because the people of Maryland are compassionate and will not allow the poor and elderly to go without health care. The Republicans would take our federal tax money and reduce the benefits to our citizens, and we would be forced to fund Medicaid expansion through our state taxes without subsidies from the federal government.
The good news: Larry Hogan’s office recently issued the following statement on the Senate repeal and replace bill: “We know the current system needs to be fixed, but the proposals that are being considered in Congress do not work for Maryland.” I was pleased and heartened to learn that our governor renounced the health care bill last week.
Republican governors are now denouncing parts of the draconian budget proposed by the President which will cost Marylanders so much, such as Meals on Wheels, art programs, and funding for school lunch and breakfast programs. Governors and mayors around the country are announcing the intent of the states and municipalities to cooperate and comply with the Paris Climate Change Treaty.
Maryland, too, needs to follow suit. Governor Hogan needs to be a Patriot, to put aside partisan differences and to stand for what is best for Maryland and for the United States of America. As Governor Hogan criticized the current health care process and substance, Maryland needs to join other states in complying with the Paris Climate Treaty. Our governor needs to denounce the balance of the Trump budget which will hurt our state and the citizens of the State. These are extraordinary times and decisions for Maryland should not be based on party, but upon issues.
The Governor’s father only recently passed; If Governor Hogan does put Marylanders before Party, I bet his father will look smiling at his son.
Polly Peters is an attorney from Annapolis, Maryland.
Watch Congressman Hogan’s 1974 courageous statement to the House Judiciary Committee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAL_bNaixZQ
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