I have never been more proud to be a Marylander than I am right now.
We’ve always been an aggressively prideful state. I have flags, crab stickers, and shirts with our state flowers and Old Bay on them. We will argue that our flag is the best until the end of time. Because it is.
Watching Larry Hogan, our governor, take incredible steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus struck deep chords among the people here. Being a bluish-purplish state, the very act of electing a Republican governor spoke to his leadership qualities. I don’t think any of us will say he’s faultless, and many conversations about our man Larry start with “even though he’s a Republican.”
In the first few weeks of March, Hogan enforced social distancing, and was one of the first to enact both a stay-at-home order and to make facial coverings in public mandatory.
He recognized the threat the virus posed to the metro D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area, and worked tirelessly to ensure our state was protected. Telehealth was also extended as an option to all Maryland residents, which helped limit the amount of people at in-person health centers right off the bat.
Hogan is also the chair of the National Governors Association and, even though he’s a Republican, has gone on record multiple times saying that the states need to work together now, and advocating for them directly to President Trump in regular meetings.
And for his latest trick, he ordered half a million test kits from South Korea — with the help of his South Korean wife, Yumi Hogan — and was able to safely get them into the state. In a powerful moment for Maryland’s first lady, her heritage was a crucial aspect of the negotiations, and she was present on the tarmac when they arrived. This is coming on the tails of Delaware and Florida getting personal protective equipment seized on its way in by the U.S. government.
But Trump made it a point to criticize Hogan’s move to increase testing capacity, even after Trump directly told states it was their duty to increase capacity. Hogan has stood his ground on the issue. In the face of recent protests, he hasn’t bowed down to tantrums like Georgia’s Brian Kemp.
Larry Hogan has been an exemplary leader, and other governors should be looking to his track record for the past months. Party lines should be thrown aside in the face of life or death decisions. All of our resources and connections should be stretched to their maximum capacity. Anyone not following this rationale — which is clearly happening in multiple states where restrictions are already being relaxed — is endangering their people. American citizens can see what works: aggressive restrictions, mass amounts of test kits and personal protective equipment, and the ability to rally behind one driving force.