"Thank you all for being here tonight, and for caring enough about our great state to be involved in this effort to Change Maryland for the better.
This three-year campaign to bring fiscal responsibility and common sense to Annapolis has taken me all across our state, and I've listened to the concerns of Marylanders from all walks of life.
The common theme I've been hearing is frustration. People everywhere see a real disconnect between Annapolis and the rest of Maryland.
We feel that our elected leaders are not only not solving the serious problems that face us, but that they are actually causing the problems, and making things worse.
The average Marylander sees a governor and a legislature willing to impose record tax increases on the rest of us that we don't need, don't want, and simply cannot afford.
Marylanders see our state hemorrhaging jobs, businesses, and taxpayers at an alarming rate, with no discernible response, or action from Annapolis.
An overwhelming majority of Marylanders, regardless of party, feel that we are way off track, heading in the wrong direction, and that new leadership is needed in Annapolis.
And on thing is clear: We can't change Maryland without changing governors.
So, after serious reflection, I decided to answer the call, and step up to this challenge by declaring my candidacy to become Maryland's next governor.
Now, this was not an easy decision for me to make. I'm not a career politician, I'm a small businessman, concerned citizen, and lifelong Marylander who loves this state.
I didn't make this decision to run for governor out of a desire to be something. I decided to run because I feel an obligation to do something.
We simply cannot just sit back and accept status quo, politics-as-usual in Annapolis, knowing that – together – we can make a difference.
A year from now, our current governor will finally be moving on.
But, that same group that has mismanaged our state for eight years plans to stay in power and continue leading Maryland in the exact same direction.
We're told that this election is between the number 2 and number 3 incumbents in the current administration, and that our only real choice is to either promote the Lt. Governor, or the Attorney General.
But that's not what Maryland wants. Marylanders are demanding real change in Annapolis – and neither of those career politicians is capable of delivering it.
The people of Maryland deserve a real, clear choice for a change, and we're going to give it to them.
Up until now, the arrogant monopoly in Annapolis has just been expecting another coronation in November.
Tonight, we're putting hem on notice, that what we're going to give them instead is the toughest fight of their lives.
This isn't a fight between the right and the left. This is a fight between right and wrong.
And this isn't just another fight between Democrats and Republicans. It's more important than that.
This is a fight for Maryland's future, and it's a fight worth fighting!
We're fighting back for the millions of hard working Marylanders suffering under the burden of forty consecutive tax hikes.
And we're standing up for the tens of thousands of Marylanders who are losing their health insurance because of politics and incompetence.
We're standing up for the 200,000 Marylanders who have lost their jobs and we're fighting back for their families who are struggling to make ends meet.
And we're standing up for those thousands of small business owners who have closed their doors, and the thousands of others who are struggling just to keep them open.
Ladies and gentlemen, I decided to run for governor, because I believe it's about time the politicians in Annapolis started listening to the rest of us.
With your help, next January it will be my honor to be sworn in to represent you, as your next governor.
On day one, together, we will begin the hard work of turning our state around.
Our administration will set Maryland on a new path, guided by these three fundamental principles:
First, our focus will be on jobs, middle class taxpayers, and restoring Maryland's economy.
Despite so many natural advantages, our state economy ranks 44th out of 50 states. That's simply not acceptable and the people of Maryland deserve better.
Job one, will be to get the government off our backs and out of our pockets so we can grow the private sector, put people back to work, and turn our economy around.
And incidentally, we are the only state in the nation that taxes the rain. When I'm your governor, we'll repeal the rain tax. That's one change you can count on.
Second, and this isn't complicated, every decision I make as governor will be put to a simple test.
Will this law or action make it easier for families and small businesses to stay in Maryland, and will it make more families and businesses want to come to Maryland?
If something comes across my desk as governor that doesn't pass this test, I'll veto it.
And finally, integrity. We need more truthfulness, more transparency, and tougher ethics and disclosure laws.
No more of the phony political spin, the backroom deals, questionable donations, and cronyism that pervades the current culture in Annapolis.
On day one, we are going to get to work on cleaning up the mess in Annapolis and restoring integrity to our state capital.
Let me tell you a story about integrity…
Forty years ago, a Maryland congressman, a Republican, sat on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate, when the entire nation was watching.
Would a Republican be willing to buck his own party, his own president, to do what he thought was right for the country?
In spite of tremendous pressure, this congressman put aside party politics and partisanship and made the tough decision. He put doing the right thing ahead of his own personal political career.
And he became the first Republican to come out for the impeachment of President Nixon.
That man was my dad, former Congressman Larry Hogan, Sr. He taught me more about integrity in one day than most men learn in a lifetime, and I am proud to be his son.
Folks, after many years of civic involvement, fighting for reform, and challenging the status quo in Maryland, I am fully aware that this isn't going to be easy.
But I have never been one to walk away from a tough challenge. I'm running because it's the right thing to do, and because I believe that we are the only ones who can do it.
They may have all the powers of incumbency and the millions in special interest money.
But we have all of you, the will of the people and a grassroots army of 75,000 fed-up Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who so desperately want to see a change of direction in Maryland.
The current incumbents who have been responsible for this mess in Annapolis for the past eight years, say they should be given another four years, because they have been 'Moving Maryland Forward.'
Well if that's moving Maryland forward, then I say this November, the people of this great state are just going to have to take Maryland back!
Now, we have one more important piece of business to take care of tonight. We have a special surprise announcement for you.
Turning our state around is going to be an enormous challenge, and I knew that I needed to recruit the most capable and most experienced Lieutenant Governor I could possibly find.
Someone who understands how state government works, and knows what it will take to fix the problems and to make our government more efficient.
Someone with real management experience who has the ability to be a full partner in our administration and who is actually qualified to be governor.
I also wanted someone of character, and someone I genuinely liked and admired and whom I felt most comfortable with.
Tonight, I want you to know that I have found that partner.
He and I served side by side together in the state Cabinet, when he was the Secretary of General Services.
At the federal level, he served as the Assistant Secretary for Administration of the Department of Agriculture, and prior to that he was Associate Administrator of the GSA.
He is a graduate of Howard University and went to law school at USC. He's a family man who cares deeply about his community, and loves this state.
As Lt. Governor, his management experience and his experience in state government will be put to good use.
In my administration, he will be involved in every aspect of the operations of state government, as we work together every day to improve the efficiency with which your state tax dollars are used.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome from Howard County, my good friend, and the next Lieutenant Governor of the state of Maryland, Secretary Boyd Rutherford.