Why Hogan Is Better for Blue Maryland Than Brown: A Real Choice

In so many races across the country, voters head to the polls with a false choice. Democratic and Republican candidates on the ballot, who campaign on their differences but in reality they're basically the same politician. Maryland voters have a real choice.

Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown seems well intentioned, and his public and military service deserves our thanks, yet he's promising leadership that he hasn't delivered for eight years in Annapolis. The likelihood of a candidate who has presided over a state that ranks 41st in business environment, according to Chief Executive magazine, and has lost 29,000 manufacturing jobs since 2007 "lead[ing] Maryland to a better future" is remote. And it's a risk Marylanders can't afford to take.

On the other side, Secretary Larry Hogan represents not just hope for a brighter and better Maryland but a whole new day in how politics can work for everyone. He knows how to put people to work, because he's done that his entire life in business--the right way. He understands what it takes to grow an economy, because he's had to balance his books, manage healthcare costs, rely on our education system, and evolve for new opportunities and the challenges of the 21st century to succeed--and he has. And he knows what most of Marylanders feel, the reason we need help in Annapolis now, that the talk about economic recovery hasn't translated to major increases in our home values or our salaries, to lower tuition costs, or to a decrease in the overall financial burden on our families.

And Larry appreciates what it will mean to be governor for all of Maryland, not just geographic districts like Montgomery County, with residents who often think that a Republican doesn't represent their values, but I'm talking about things that make us who we are. When I came out in 2010, years before marriage equality had received popular support, Larry made it a point to inspire me to never let that truth limit what I thought was achievable.

There's a lot time spent in this race talking about jobs and the economy, as should be the case, but this election should turn on something more fundamental. Values, they matter. People want leaders who will support--without exception--constitutional rights. They want leaders who will not allow the roll back of hard-won progress on civil rights. And they want people who share their aspirations for who we should be, not just in an economy, but as a people, as a state, and nation.

Secretary Hogan talks a lot about how he won't change "social issue" and gun-laws on the books, but that sells him short. The person I know, the person who has always supported me, when he didn't have to, that person won't just keep in place our values, he'll advance them--and move us all forward. Whether it's criminal justice reform, education reform, or, more broadly, giving everyone the chance to pursue their dreams and have an opportunity to realize the American Dream, Secretary Hogan is ready to lead.

Marylanders have a clear choice on Tuesday. Secretary Hogan brings a level of understanding, experience and leadership we just don't see often running for office. He's given us a rare opportunity to bring about the politics and leadership we always seem to ask for, but never get. Until now.