Hogan Writes to Biden-Harris Transition Team, Laying Out State Priorities

    Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) wrote a letter last week to the leaders of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, laying out some of the state’s priorities. The letter was publicly released on Monday.

    Hogan’s letter is addressed to Ted Kaufman, the head of Biden’s transition team, who succeeded him as a Delaware senator in 2009, after Biden was elected vice president. Cc’d on the letter are other Biden advisers: Susan Rice, who was national security adviser under President Obama; U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who is about to become a top White House adviser; former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg; former acting U.S. attorney general Sally Q. Yates; and political strategist Anita Dunn.

    Hogan opened his letter to Kaufman by congratulating Biden and Vice president-elect Kamala D. Harris “and your entire team” ― a gesture that is likely to enrage many fellow Republicans, who have been slow to acknowledge Biden’s victory over President Trump.

    In his letter, Hogan urges the president-elect to prioritize a new stimulus relief package for states and small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.

    “States are already fighting an uphill battle to rebuild our economies and maintain essential services in education, health care, emergency operations, and public safety,” Hogan wrote.

    The governor has publicly expressed the hope that a COVID-19 relief package can be worked out during the lame duck session of Congress, which is now under way, and has met with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle about the need for relief, including the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. But hopes are fading for deal before the new president and next Congress take office ― even as negotiations continue to avoid a federal government shutdown.

    Hogan is also urging the president-elect to push for a significant infrastructure package, which he described as “a mission that governors from both sides of the aisle strongly support.” During his recent tenure as chairman of the National Governors Association, which ended over the summer, Hogan made infrastructure his top policy priority ― but neither he nor the association advanced any concrete proposals for paying for major infrastructure projects.

    Lastly, Hogan’s letter calls on the federal government to maintain historic funding for the Chesapeake Bay, which, he said, will help states and the federal government sustain recent progress and meet restoration goals by the 2025 deadline.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.